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Library celebrates African-American History Month
Press Release January 22, 2001

The Newark Public Library will hold a reception on February 1 to open the exhibition, Motion, Spirit, Power: African-American Influences in the World of Dance. The event, which will be held in Centennial Hall beginning 6pm, inaugurates formally the Library’s commencement of African-American History Month. Keynote speaker for the evening will be dancer Monzella “Mama D” Allen; entertainment will be provided by Timbuktu Dancers & Drummers. Included in the total celebration will be Black dance videos, lectures, live performances, a salute to Black America on Stage, and special Hooray for Children and F.E.W. Harper Literary Society programming. These free events will be held at the main library, 5 Washington Street.

Staff members Mary D. Teasley and Deloris Walker-Moses curated the exhibition. It examines Black dance from its cultural initiation in the 17th century by African plantation slaves to its expansion, influence and sweeping appeal in the world of dance today. It comprises text, literature and photos, as well as graphics and other objects. Large posters of some of the most important dancers, choreographers, dance types and styles decorate the gallery walls. Historical and contemporary information on the contributions and influence of African-American dance in the Americas, Caribbean and beyond fill twelve exhibition cases. The exhibition will remain on view on the second-floor gallery until March 24.

Black dance can be viewed in various styles included in daily rituals, religious ceremonies, social celebrations and as a recreational outlet and form of entertainment. The exhibition will focus on such styles as African, traditional, ballet, modern/contemporary, as illustrated in the Cake walk, Juba, Jookin', Huckabuck, and twisting. It will also highlight such performers and choreographers as Josephine Baker, Bill T. Jones, Arthur Hall, Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey, Cholly Atkins and Philadanco. It includes local dancers Sankofa, Amina Baraka and Savion Glover.

Funding for this festive celebration has been provided by The New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, and by Housing and Urban Development through Community Development Block Grant funds administered by the City of Newark.

Following is the complete schedule of free programs. For additional information, visit the Library’s home page ( To hear a listing of the current week’s programs, call the Program Hotline recording at 733-5643. For possible schedule changes, call Mary Teasley at 733-7735 or the James Brown African-American Room at 733-5411.

Motion, Spirit, Power: African-American Influences in the World of Dance, curated by Mary D. Teasley and Deloris Walker-Moses. Second-Floor Gallery; Through March 24


1 Opening Reception for exhibition and programming. Keynote address by dancer Monzella Mama D Allen; entertainment by Timbuktu Dancers & Drummers. Centennial Hall; 6pm

3 Mansa Mussa, Newark photographer, presents a slide show on The Art of Black Dance, focusing on companies in Newark. Centennial Hall; 2pm

7 A video tribute to Alvin Ailey and the American Dance Theater. Auditorium; 3:30pm

7 F.E.W. Harper Literary Society presents Remembering Their Voices, with several guest speakers. Centennial Hall; 6pm

10 A dance video honoring the late Arthur Hall and the Afro-American Dance Ensemble in four spectacular performances. Auditorium; 2pm

15 Black America on Stage: The African Globe/Sankofa Dance Theatre presents African Dance. Centennial Hall; 6:30pm

17 Black America on Stage: The African Globe/Sankofa Dance Theatre in an encore performance of African Dance. Centennial Hall; 2pm

20 Black America on Stage: The Drama Group from Arts High School presents A Tribute to Langston Hughes. Centennial Hall; 6pm

24 Hooray for Children series presents Sharon McGruder, from the McCarter Theatre, as she illustrates the richness of African-American traditions in “Raps, Rhymes ’N Reasons.” Centennial Hall; 2pm

28 Black America on Stage: Solomon F. Caudle and Imagnaking Productions presents a musical drama entitled Trilogy. Centennial Hall; 6pm


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