Black History Month Events

This February we're celebrating Black History Month with a variety of events for all ages. Below is a chronological list of events and various resources and reading lists. To see a full list of our February events, please check our online calendar.

Through February 28th
Film Screening: Black Ballerina
Black Ballerina is a story of passion, opportunity, heartbreak and triumph of the human spirit. Set in the overwhelmingly white world of classical dance, it tells the stories of several black women from different generations who fell in love with ballet. Sixty years ago, while pursuing their dreams of careers in classical dance, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson (the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo's first black ballerina) confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity in segregated mid-century America. In 2015, three young black women also pursue careers as ballerinas, and find that many of the same obstacles their predecessors faced are still evident in the ballet world today. Through interviews with current and former ballet dancers along with engaging archival photos and film, the one-hour documentary uses the ethereal world of ballet to engage viewers on a subject that reaches far outside the art world and compels viewers to think about larger issues of exclusion, equal opportunity and change.

Producer/Director Frances McElroy is a 2009 Pew Fellow in the Arts and 2010 Leeway Foundation Transformation Awardee. Project supporters include the National Endowment for the Arts, Women In Film and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Black Ballerina is produced by Shirley Road Productions and distributed by American Public Television.

View the trailer here.
To stream the film, click here and enter the password: WPblackballerina2021

January 28th-February 23rd
StoryWalk – Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues
Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues written by Leah Henderson & illustrated by George Doutsiopoulos. The StoryWalk is up and ready to view on the Library's windows through 2/23. Walk along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and work around to the Library Plaza.  Related Grab & Go: Kit available 1/28 while supplies last.

Starting on 2/26, the next StoryWalk will be available to view featuring Mae Among the Stars written by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia Burrington about a young Mae Jemison, who would become the first black woman in space.

February 5th at 6:30 p.m.
Project LIT Book Club for Teens: Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess
On Friday, February 5 at 6:30 p.m., join librarians Kat and Lauren to discuss a Project LIT book, Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. A novel in verse, Solo is a quick read. At the beginning of the story, Blade’s trying to convince his girlfriend’s parents that he won’t follow in the footsteps of his rock star, drug addict father. When he discovers a family secret, he heads off to Ghana in search of his own identity.

Solo is available as an eBook and digital audiobook through OverDrive and Libby and in the Library’s print collection. For information on attending, click here. You must have a Zoom account to attend this program; sign up for a free account here.

February 10th – 4:30 p.m.
Project LIT Kids Book Discussion: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Join librarians Ashley and Raquel for a book discussion and trivia game for 4-6 graders. We will be reading From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks. We recommend reading the eBook or listening to the audio on Hoopla since multiple registrants can read or listen to it at the same time. You can also place a hold on the print book using our catalog here. Click here to register.
February 11th – 6:30 p.m.
JACKIE ROBINSON: More than a Ballplayer!
Some historians make the mistake of placing a historical figure in a box and not presenting a fuller picture of the individual. How would you feel if your life's account only recorded your time up to your sophomore year in high school? In addition to breaking Baseball's Color line, Jackie Robinson wrote a nationally syndicated column, founded a bank, appeared frequently on FACE THE NATION, served as a sports team's general manager and league commissioner, as an informal Civil Rights activist he was an influencer with Presidents, Governors and Senators. Time to hear more about #42 beyond his Brooklyn Dodger exploits. Click here to register.
February 12th – 7:00 p.m.
Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement
Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement is a combined lecture and music performance featuring Flutist/Lecturer Galen Abdur-Razzaq. It will begin with a flute prelude performed by Galen followed by a 60 minute presentation chronicling the history of music from the turn of the century to present day, highlighting various artists, their music, their influence on the evolution of jazz, and their struggles. Additionally, it will illustrate how jazz became an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement, with proceeds from jazz concerts used to finance major events such as the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington in 1963. This lecture is infused with music demonstrations and students will be given an opportunity to test their knowledge via trivia. Registration requested; click here to register.
February 13th-20th- all week
Satchel Paige and Negro League Baseball Historical Magic Show
Join Tommy Terrific all week long for a pre-recorded historical magic show about Satchel Paige and Negro League Baseball. The show will be filled with baseball-themed magic tricks and it will explore the life and accomplishments of baseball pitcher Satchel Paige. From his all-star touring shows, to his amazing records with the Negro Leagues, to his Hall of Fame induction as baseball's oldest rookie and oldest player, Satchel Paige is a true American original. Fun and informative for families and ages 3-12. Watch as many times as you want! Be sure to also check out our Black History Month StoryWalk featuring Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues written by Leah Henderson and illustrated by George Doutsiopoulos on view at the Library through February 23. The video will be published on our website and linked here starting February 13th.
February 18th – 7:00 p.m.
Intro to African American Genealogy
In her presentation “Getting a Good Start: Things I Wish I’d Known About Genealogical Research Before I Began” genealogist Cynthia Maharrey explores: Research—organization, forms, objective and plan; Records—home, local, county or state, federal and where to find them, with an emphasis on African American records; Resources—online, conferences and societies, your genealogical library. For information on attending, click here.
CANCELED: February 19th – 7:00 p.m.
Black History Month Trivia Night with NYC Trivia League!
Test your knowledge in a variety of topics from music, famous people and pop culture to historical events.

The game will be run on Zoom and you can play as a solo player or with whomever is in the same room as you. The trivia host will share a website in the Zoom meeting where each player will enter in their responses during the game. We hope to see you there!

February 18th-February 20th
Film Screening: Black Men in White Coats
Fed up with the lack of diversity among doctors, Dr. Dale Okorodudu sets out to explore why only 2% of American doctors are black men and what that means for society. Black Men In White Coats seeks to answer questions such as, “What challenges do our black boys face?”, “Who are their role models?”, and “What’s happening in society that more black women are becoming doctors while black men are stagnant?“

This documentary will be available for patrons to stream at home starting at noon on Thursday, February 18 through noon on Sunday, February 21. Register to receive your online ticket/code. Tickets are limited.

Less black men applied to medical school in 2014 than in 1978 and black men have the lowest life expectancy in the United States. With only 2% of American doctors being black men, this comes as no surprise. This documentary dissects the systemic barriers preventing black men from becoming medical doctors and the consequences on society at large. Health care accounts for nearly 20% of the United State’s GDP and a significant portion of that is driven by disparities in a system that lacks diverse physicians. What if we had a medical workforce that actually reflected our patient population? What challenges do our black boys face? Who are their role models? Why is it easier to visualize a black man in an orange jumpsuit than it is in a white coat? What’s happening in society that more black women are becoming doctors while black men are stagnant? WHOSE FAULT IS IT? It’s time to end this CRISIS and get more BLACK MEN IN WHITE COATS?

February 22nd – 6:00 p.m.
Discuss: Black Men in White Coats
We will meet via Zoom to discuss Black Men in White Coats, a documentary by Dr. Dale Okorodudu that was created to dissect “the systemic barriers preventing black men from becoming medical doctors and the consequences on society at large.“ To be released in February 2021, Black Men in White Coats seeks to answer questions such as, “What challenges do our black boys face?”, “Who are their role models?”, and “What’s happening in society that more black women are becoming doctors while black men are stagnant?“

Black Men in White Coats will be available for streaming online for a period of 3 days from Noon, February 18th-Noon on February 21st.

February 23rd – 4:00 p.m.
Black History Month STEAM: Inventor Lonnie Johnson
To Celebrate Black History Month, we will be reading “Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions” by Chris Barton. Afterwards, we will create a straw rocket using Kits attendees will pick up in advance. Registration required; click here to register. Please be sure to include an EMAIL ADDRESS or PHONE NUMBER in your registration in order to be contacted to pick up your Kit for participation in the program.
February 25th – 2:00 p.m.
Short Story Book Discussion Series
Join Librarian Barbara Wenglin for our Spring Discussion Series with selections from the exciting anthology used in the fall, 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, edited by Lorrie Moore (c2015). Print copies are available through our catalog, and as an eBook in Hoopla as well as OverDrive and Libby. At this session, during Black History Month, we will explore ZZ Packer's intriguing story, “Brownies,” (p.562) featuring black and white girl-scout troops assigned to the same campsite for a weekend filled with racial tension and ironic, sometimes humorous, misunderstandings. Please register for Zoom series here.
CANCELED: February 25th – 6:00 p.m.
Reading to End Racism
Continuing on the theme of courageous conversations, YWCA has also partnered with the White Plains Public Library for the Reading to End Racism book club. For this book club conversation, we will be reading and discussing Edwidge Danticat's book Everything Inside. Click here for information on attending. The book is available through our catalog and as an eBook or audiobook on OverDrive and Libby.

Resources & Reading Lists:


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