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Why ‘Black History Month’?

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A discussion about the celebration of Black History Month will be held at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society.


Black History Month has occurred every February in the U.S. since 1976, when President Gerald Ford first recognized a special month to “… honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

But the antecedent of Black History Month goes back at least 50 years prior, and some say even further.

Earl Exum. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The public is invited to a discussion about the roots of Black History Month on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization President Earl Exum will share more about the history of Black History Month, and what it means to him, before opening up the conversation to participants.

Each year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History chooses a specific theme for Black History Month. The theme for 2019 is “Black Migrations,” looking at the movement of people of African descent to new destination and subsequently to new social realities. In honor of this year’s theme, Jennifer Matos, the Executive Director of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, will highlight J. Braxton Robinson, an African American man born in 1847 in Virginia who “migrated” to West Hartford, CT, in 1868 and made it his home.

Why Black History Month? will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, 227 S. Main St., West Hartford, CT 06107. The event is co-sponsored by the West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization, the Amistad Center for Arts & Culture, and the Noah Webster House. This event is free and open to the public. No advance registration required.

The museum would like to thank the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Greater Hartford Arts Council for their continued support.

The West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization’s mission is to facilitate fair and equitable participation in the civic, political, economic, education and cultural activities within the West Hartford community.

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture inspires and educates diverse audiences of Greater Hartford, Connecticut, and the region. Since its founding in 1987, Amistad Center staff have shared the multi-disciplinary collection of fine art, photography, historical artifacts, memorabilia, and rare books that document the African American experience in its galleries at The Wadsworth Atheneum. Our programming builds upon our collection to introduce ideas, episodes, and generative figures in Black history and culture with the potential to inspire creativity and necessary conversations on the nation’s history, our struggles for equity, and our future. Exhibitions in our galleries and objects in our collection benefit from interpretative conversation, which inevitably leads to creative response. And we encourage conversation and creativity that is informed by African American art and culture.

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is a cultural destination where citizens can learn to understand and appreciate the past. The museum preserves the birthplace of Noah Webster, the founding father, educator, author, and lexicographer who taught generations of Americans what it means to be American. This National Historic Landmark is also a repository for West Hartford history, the community that molded Noah Webster’s future and is still thriving over 250 years later. The historic house and exhibit spaces are open daily 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. For information on the museum’s extensive school and public programs, please visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org or call 860-521-5362.

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