Chesterfield, VA celebrates African American History Month with performances, lectures and more

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — History comes alive in Chesterfield County this month thanks to a variety of programs offered by Virginia State University and the county in celebration of the 34th Black History Month.

Each February, Chesterfield County and VSU team up to celebrate African American History Month with a variety of heritage and community programs. This month’s programs focus on the theme of Uniting Today for a Better Tomorrow.

Throughout February, Chesterfield’s libraries, museums and recreation centers will host history and community programs for all ages. Here are some events to look forward to this month:

Scientific racism and the first psychiatric institution for African Americans

  • Attend a screening of the documentary Central Asylum for the Colored Insane, followed by a question-and-answer session with Dr. Sean Atsey, professor of psychology at VCUwho produced the film.
  • Date and time: Monday, February 6, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m
  • Location: Ettrick-Matoaki Library, 4501 River Road, Petersburg, VA.

My life is a sharecropper

  • Join local author James McKnight as he tells personal stories about his grandfather’s life as a sharecropper in South Carolina.
  • Date and time: Tuesday, February 7, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
  • Location: Castlewood, 10201 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, Va.

Marcus Harvey and Black Liberation History

  • Learn the story of how activist Marcus Garvey created the largest grassroots movement in the history of the African diaspora, and the lessons for today from his success.
  • Date and time: Wednesday, February 8, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m
  • Location: LaPrade Library, 9000 Hull Street Road, North Chesterfield, Va.

The question remains: freedom or death with Michael Paul Williams

  • Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Paul Williams offers a discussion on the importance of free speech and democracy.
  • Date and time: Thursday, February 9, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m
  • Location: North Courthouse Road Library, 325 Courthouse Road, Richmond, Virginia.

Barbara Jones: Teen Civil Rights Advocate

  • History actress Theresa Gee shares the story of 16-year-old civil rights activist Barbara Jones, who organized a school boycott to demand equal education in Virginia. Designed for ages 6 to 11.
  • Date and time: Saturday, February 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m
  • Location: Clover Hill Library, 6701 Deer Run Drive, Midlothian, Va.

Life is a story

  • Join Dr. Lerla Joseph, one of the recipients of the prestigious 2021 Library of Virginia and Dominion Energy Strong Men and Strong Women of Virginia award, a presentation about every person can make history.
  • Date and time: Saturday, February 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m
  • Location: Chesterfield County Museum6813 Mimms Loop, Chesterfield,

A virtual trip to the National Civil Rights Museum

  • Take a journey through the major events of the Civil Rights Era, led by Ryan Jones, Associate Curator of the National Civil Rights Museum.
  • Date and time: Tuesday, February 14, from 6 to 7 p.m
  • Location: Virtual

Elizabeth Keckley, performed by Theresa Gee

  • Theresa Gee brings the story to life in a production of Mary Elizabeth Keckley, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. Refreshments are provided.
  • Date and time: Wednesday, February 15, from 10 am to 11 am
  • Location: Huguenot Road Baptist Church, 10525 W. Huguenot Road, North Chesterfield, Va.

Project Rosenwald

  • Learn about the history of Rosenwald schools, which were built throughout the South to improve the educational experience of African-American children.
  • Date and time: Wednesday, February 15, 11 am
  • Location: Stonebridge Recreation Center, 230 Karl Linn Dr, North Chesterfield, Va.

Telling our story in song

  • Join us for a music lesson of African American spirituals, traditional hymns and gospel. Rev. Zynora Manson performs musical selections from the catalog. Registration opens Thursday, February 2.
  • Date and time: Thursday, February 16, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m
  • Location: Chester Library, 11800 Center Street, Chester, VA.

Annual Scholarship Recognition

The Life and Legacy of Elizabeth Keckley

  • Storyteller and entertainer Theresa Gee, who will present a costumed presentation about the life of Virginia native Elizabeth Keckley, who was born into slavery in Dinwiddie County and later became a talented seamstress.
  • Date and time: Saturday, February 18, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m
  • Location: Magnolia Grange Museum, 10020 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, Va.

Project Rosenwald

  • Learn about the history of Rosenwald schools, which were built throughout the South to improve the educational experience of African-American children.
  • Date and time: Tuesday, February 21, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
  • Location: Castlewood, 10201 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, Va.

Suffrage and Racial Politics in Richmond

  • Immerse yourself in Richmond’s urban history with Dr. Julian Hayter from the University of Richmond. Registration opens on Wednesday, February 8.
  • Date and time: Wednesday, February 22, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m
  • Location: Bon Air Library, 9103 Rattlesnake Road, Richmond, VA.

One Voice Ensemble choir concert

  • The One Voice Chorus, one of the largest and most diverse choirs in Central Virginia, will provide an upbeat choral experience in recognition of Black History Month. A reception will follow the free concert.
  • Date and time: Thursday, February 23, from 1 to 2:30 p.m
  • Location: Chesterfield Baptist Church, 16520 Hull Street Road, Moseley, Va.

Black Excellence Open Mic

  • Celebrate Black History Month with a showcase of talent at the Black Excellence Open Mic Night. Poets, singers and musicians of all ages are invited to showcase their talents.
  • Date and time: Friday, February 24, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m
  • Location: Mayes-Colbert Ettrick Recreation Center, 20400 Laurel Road, Petersburg, Va.

Codes on the underground railway

  • Learn about the coded quilt designs used by enslaved people as they escaped through the Underground Railroad. Designed for ages 6 to 11. Registration begins Saturday, February 11.
  • Date and time: Saturday, February 25, 2-3 p.m
  • Location: Virtual

Great Figures of American History: Rosa Parks

  • Join Theresa Gee as she performs as Rosa Parks and enjoy a cake tasting from Shonda’s Sweets, Treats and More.
  • Date and time: Monday, February 27, 1 to 2:30 p.m
  • Location: Bensley Recreation Center, 2900 Drewrys Bluff Road, Richmond, VA.

Virginia during the mass resistance

  • Join Joseph Rogers of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture to learn how politicians tried to keep Virginia’s schools segregated and learn about the educators and students who fought back. Registration opens on Tuesday, February 14.
  • Date and time: Tuesday, February 28, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m
  • Location: Central Library, 7051 Lucy Corr Boulevard, Chesterfield, Va.

For more information on specific events and how to register, visit Chesterfield County Online.

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