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Library announces programs in celebration of Black History Month
Press Release December 29, 2006
Media only, please contact:
J. Dennis Papp
(973) 733-7798;

The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street, is celebrating Black History Month with a unique exhibition and a number of programs for the entire family. All are free and open to the public. For more information on the Main Library programs call 973-733-5411 or 973-424-1831, or visit the Library’s home page at for adult programs and for children’s programs. For branch library programs call the number listed with the event.

This year's Black History Month exhibition is entitled "The Creativity and Imagination of African American Women Writers in New Jersey." Its inspiration is the national and state award-winning book, African American Women Writers in New Jersey, 1836-2000: A Biographical Dictionary and Bibliographic Guide (Rutgers University Press), by Sibyl E. Moses, Ph.D. It is the first book to identify and bring together, in one place, information about the lives, intellectual contributions, and publications of more than 100 African American women writers in the Garden State from the antebellum period to the present. The exhibit is the first of its kind in New Jersey.

The guest curator is Sibyl E. Moses, a native Newarker, a product of the Newark Public School system, and a graduate of Weequahic High School. Dr. Moses’ publications have appeared in American, British and Nigerian journals and she is currently the Reference Specialist in African American History and Culture at The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Dr. Moses conducted original research and held countless interviews with residents throughout New Jersey in order to bring these writers' stories to life. The exhibition, and her book, introduce us to the books and lives of poets, novelists, historians, and other authors born in New Jersey, or resident in the state for at least 15 years, and provide a lens through which we may see and understand the lives of African American women in New Jersey.

The items on display are from the holdings of The Newark Public Library and from the personal collection of books, photographs and manuscripts amassed by Dr. Moses. The exhibition is on view from January 22 through March 3 on the second-floor gallery, during library hours. A grand-opening reception is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. It will include a book signing with the author.

In addition to the exhibition and grand-opening reception, the Main Library will host the following programs in celebration of Black History Month.

Saturday, January 20, Centennial Hall, 2:00pm: A Hooray for Children program, entitled Raps, Rhymes ’N Reasons. Celebrate the richness of African-American traditions as Sharon McGruder combines movement, songs and real-life experiences with a variety of African tales, myths and stories.

Thursday, January 25, Auditorium, 6:00pm: A book signing with Newarker T. D. Faison, author of Some Things Better Left Unsaid.

Thursday, February 1, Centennial Hall, 6:00pm: A tribute to Dr. Ivan Van Sertima with speaker Dr. Leonard Jeffries; the master of ceremony will be Dr. Clement Alexander Price. The cornerstone of Dr. Sertima’s legacy is his book, They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America, for which he received the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize for "works of excellence in literature and humanities."

Tuesday, February 6, Auditorium, 6:00pm: A book signing with Newarker Shirley Stewart. Her novel, Changes, deals with a couple trapped in a loveless, 14-year marriage of convenience.

Wednesday, February 7, Auditorium, 6:30pm: The Frances E.W. Harper Literary Society presents a staged reading of James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner.

Thursday, February 8, Centennial Hall, 10:00am: A book signing with Ralph Burgess, author of No Bandanas for Me, which deals with why children should avoid joining gangs and the danger it brings. He will also highlight the steps involved in publishing a book.

Wednesday, February 14, Centennial Hall, 6:00pm: A book signing with romance novelist Shirley T. Hailstock, author of My Lover, My Friend.

Thursday, February 15, Centennial Hall, 10:00am: A musical Winceyco Production entitled Neighborhood that involves a woman who takes a look at how much she surprisingly has in common with people of various cultures.

Thursday, February 22, Centennial Hall, 6:00pm: George R. N’Namdi, with galleries in New York, Detroit and Chicago, will present "The Art of Fine Art Collecting," a slide show with an emphasis on African-American women artists.

Tuesday, February 27, Centennial Hall, 6:00pm: A book signing with Sonya Simpson and other authors of Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul, a collection of inspiring stories that take readers on an intimate journey filled with defining moments of belief, loyalty, strength and conviction of the black woman.

Following is the listing of program at the branch libraries.

The Branch Brook branch library, 235 Clifton Avenue, 973-733-7760, will use puzzles and games for children to learn about famous African-Americans from February 20th to 23rd, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.

The Clinton branch library, 739 Bergen Street, 973-733-7754, is holding two programs:

  • On Fridays in February (the 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd), at 3:30pm, there will be an "African-American History Storytime" for children that includes movies and stories, after which children will make a collage related to the stories.
  • On Monday, February 4, at 3:30pm, children will celebrate the birthday of Mrs. Rosa Parks, the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, by reenacting the events that led to her arrest with the "Find the Hands Game."

The North End branch library, 722 Summer Avenue, 973-733-7683, will celebrate Black History Month with a weekly "Show and Tell" on all Wednesdays in February (7, 14, 21, and 28), at 3:30pm, by displaying and discussing an invention by an African-American inventor and showing how this invention helped shape the future.

The Roseville branch library, 99 Fifth Street, 973-733-7770, invites children of all ages to learn more about African-American musicians and singers at three February programs, from 11:00am to noon:

  • Monday, February 5: African-American Music — Jazz
  • Tuesday, February 6: African-American Music — Motown
  • Thursday, February 8: African-American Music — Sing Your Favorite Song


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