Celebrate Black History Month in Rockford

Celebrate Black History Month in Rockford

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

February is coming to a close, but Black History Month celebration continues to thrive in the community. Rockford had some exciting events to conclude this month-long tribute to African-American contributions to the country.

Wednesday, Feb. 26, there will be a guest lecture by Bobby Seale, the founder of the Black Panther Party, at Rock Valley College. Seal is one of the last surviving creators of one of the more radical social movements in American history. He continues the spirit of social change as a prolific speaker and author.

In his talk, “From the Sixties to the Future,” Seale recounts the protest movements of the 1960s and ’70s, and the conditions which gave rise to the Black Panther Party. He brings the past protest movements full circle and shows how times have changed—hopefully for the better. Today, Seale says, the issues focus on not only civil and human rights, but also environmental problems, new-millennium political issues and global economics, and how all interconnect.

Seale has authored several books, including Sieze The Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton, and A Lonely Rage, his autobiography. He is the founder of REACH, (Reclaiming, recycling and re-evolving: Ecological economic enviro-empowerment; Around all people’s activity; Creative-cooperational; Humanism.)

Seale’s lecture runs from 7:30-8:30 p.m., and a light refreshment and book signing will follow after his talk. The event is brought to us by RVC’s Black Student Alliance. For information, call 921-4138.

Thursday, Feb. 27, there will be a dinner and fashion show hosted by RVC’s Black Student Alliance. Attendees can sample a genuine soul-food and get a taste of authentic African-American cuisine, as well as experience the colors and fashions of the culture. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m., and tickets cost $15 for adults, $7 for students. The celebration will be at Rock Valley College’s Stenstrom Center for Career Education, 4151 Samuelson Rd. (next to Jefferson High School.). Tickets will be available at the door. For information, call 921-4138.

A film presentation featuring the directorial debut of Maya Angelou, Down in the Delta, will be shown at the Rockford Public Library’s auditorium (facing Mulberry). The film is a story wherein big city meets small town, young meet old, parents reconnect with children, and life for everyone becomes something they never suspected. Angelou is an award-winning poet, author and storyteller who has become famous enough to be satirically mocked by David Allen Grier and Tracy Morgan on Saturday Night Live. The film begins at 7:30 p.m., and there is no charge. For information, call 965-6731.

Rockford Urban Ministries is hosting a panel discussion/program on Civil Rights Memories Thursday, Feb. 27. Those in attendance can discuss local struggles during the 1950s and ’60s, share stories and memorabilia (if they have any). The program will be at Christ United Methodist Church, 4509 Highcrest Rd., and starts at 7 p.m. As all Urban Ministries events, it’s free. Call 964-7111 for information.

That’s the sum-up of Black History Month in Rockford but, as noted earlier, the celebration truly lasts all year in the concerts and shows around the area featuring music popularized by African-American people. Any blues, gospel, rock ’n’ roll, R ’n’ B or jazz that is displayed in town is the result of developments made by the culture and should be recognized and appreciated. Enjoy!

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