Library offers Black History Month events

Free Rockford Public Library events include Gospel Festival and Fourth Annual African-American Read-In

A full lineup of activities at Rockford Public Library will commemorate Black History Month 2007 with the theme “African Americans in the Arts.” Events kick off Saturday, Feb. 3, and continue through Wednesday, Feb. 28. Some programs require advance registration, but all are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of events, or to register for a program, visit the library’s Web site at and click on the “Calendar of Events.”

Amid the highlights of the four-week celebration is a Gospel Festival featuring the Israel of God’s Church Choir, led by Ella Jones from 2-3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3 in the Main Library Auditorium. Registration is not required.

Monday, Feb. 5, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., the library will host its Fourth Annual African American Read-In. Children and families are invited to enjoy literature written by and about African-Americans. Read-ins will be held at all six library locations: Main Library, Lewis Lemon Branch, Northeast Branch, Montague Branch, Rock River Branch and Rockton Centre Branch. Call the location nearest you for details. Registration is not required. This event is based on the national program sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Conference of Teachers of English and NCTE. (For details, see the following Web page:

A Hip Hop Dance for Teens, presented by professional instructors from Evolve Dance Company, will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Main Library Auditorium. Teens will learn the latest hip hop dance moves used by their favorite artists. Participants will also learn a dance routine. Registration is required.

From 2-3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Main Library Auditorium, local saxophonist Harlan Jefferson will perform with an eight-piece band at the Mardi Gras Jazz Jam Session, followed by a presentation on the history of jazz. The program will be presented in Mardi Gras fashion with decorations and food. Costumes are encouraged, but optional. Guests will be masked for the “Mystery of Who’s Who?” Masks will be provided. Registration is provided.

Back by popular demand! The Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago will give a dynamic performance from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, at Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St. The Chicago-based dance company will perform authentic and progressive interpretations of contemporary and ancient African and African-American dance, music and folklore.

Other events planned for the month include a Steppin’ dance class for adults, a book discussion, a film festival, poetry contest, a scrapbooking class, a scavenger hunt trivia game, and more.

“This year’s Black History events are not only educational but entertaining as well. They provide fun for everyone,” said Frank Novak, executive director of Rockford Public Library.

For more information on these events, please visit

From the Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!