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Wide range of Black History Month events

By The Examiner staff

The Mid-Continent Public Library and the Kansas City Public Library have several upcoming programs to mark Black History Month.

Feb. 10

A Most Beautiful Thing. 6:30 p.m., a discussion hosted by the Kansas City Public Library.

Arshay Cooper captained the nation’s first all-Black high school rowing team. He joins director Mary Mazzio in a discussion of the documentary “A Most Beautiful Thing,” which chronicles the team’s experiences in a sport that few African Americans saw as being for them. The 95-minute documentary, based in Cooper’s memoir, was released last year and is narrated by rapper and actor Common.

Sherman Whites, a director in Education for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, moderates the conversation.

Those who RSVP by 10 p.m. Feb. 9 will receive a link through which they can watch the film in advance of the discussion.

Watch the discussion live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary.

Feb. 11

Cathay Williams, Buffalo Soldier. 7 to 8 p.m., with several replays available. A virtual event from Mid-Continent Public Library.

Cathay Williams was the only documented female Buffalo Soldier. She served in the 38th U.S. Infantry from 1866 to 1868. This program is suitable for persons ages 6 and older. To register, visit mymcpl.org/events. Once registered, go to https://www.facebook.com/mcpl360/ at the time of the program.

After the first showing, the program will be available on the MCPL YouTube channel at youtube.com/MCPLMO

Feb. 16

Born a Slave: Rediscovering Arthur Jackson’s African-American Heritage. 7 to 8 p.m. A Mid-Continent event, via Zoom. 

David W. Jackson’s family identified as caucasian for generations, but his genealogical research revealed that his great-great-grandfather was born a slave. 

Register at mymcpl.org/events.

Feb. 18

The Montford Point Marines: A Case Study in Integration. 6:30 p.m. Presented by the Kansas City Public Library.

Jeremy Maxwell, a historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, examines the African-American unit that integrated the Marine Corps in 1942. The Montford Point Marines, named for the North Carolina base on which they trained, distinguished themselves throughout the Pacific Theater in World War II – most notably on Okinawa, where approximately 2,000 members saw intense action.

Maxwell is the author of “Brotherhood in Combat: How African Americans Found Equality in Korea and Vietnam,” he’s writing a book on the Montford Point Marines. 

Watch his presentation live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary.

Josephine Baker’s Last Dance. 7 p.m. A Mid-Continent event, via Zoom. A discussion of the book “Josephine Baker’s Last Dance,” by Sherry Jones. Josephine Baker was an actress, singer, dancer, civil rights activist, and a member of the French Resistance during World War II. 

Register at mymcpl.org/events, and you’ll be sent a link before the event.

Borrow the book by visiting booktalk@mymcpl.org 

Feb. 19

Mr. SOUL! – a pop-up film series. 5 p.m. 

“Mr. SOUL!” is written and directed by Melissa Haizlip, the niece of Ellis Haizlip, the host and producer of “Soul” on PBS in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The show was focused on the African American experience and included interviews with Harry Belafonte, Muhammad Ali and James Baldwin as well as performances by Patti LaBelle, Al Green and Stevie Wonder.  

Details on how to RSVP for this event – a screening of a film and then a discussion – are forthcoming.

Feb. 20

Crown Crafted Concert Series Presents NuBlvkCity. 5 to 6:30 p.m. 

A Mid-Continent event, via MCPL360. This program features a Kansas City-based music collective that includes Love, Mae C; They Call Me Sauce; Kartez Marcel, and VP3. 

Register in advance at mymcpl.org/events. At the time of the program, go to https://www.facebook.com/mcpl360/ 

Feb. 21

A Legacy of Leadership, with Emiel Cleaver. 3 p.m. A Missouri Valley Sundays event by the Kansas City Public Library. 

Kansas City civil rights leader Leon M. Jordan was among the most influential African Americans in Missouri before being shot to death in 1970. He was the city’s first police Black police lieutenant, a co-founder of Freedom Incorporated and a state legislator. Filmmaker Emiel Cleaver discusses his new film, “A Legacy of Leadership,” examining Jordan’s career and legacy. 

Watch the event live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary.

Feb. 23

Binding Us Together. 6 p.m. A conversation with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and longtime community leader Alvin Brooks, who reflects on a lifetime of activism, community building and public service. Born into poverty and a racist society, Brooks became a trailblazing police officer and detective, city council member, and mayor pro tem, as well as founder of the AdHoc Group Against Crime and chair of the local chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality.

The event marks the launch of Brooks’ autobiography, “Binding Us Together: A Civil Rights Activist Reflects on a Lifetime of Community and Public Service.”

Watch it live at YouTube.com/kclibrary.

Navigating Sensitive Conversations About Race. 7 to 8 p.m. A Mid-Continent event, via Zoom.

Many people are asking for change but don’t know where to start. This program will address the reasons that such conversations are essential.

Register at mymcpl.org/events. You will be sent a link prior to the event.

Feb. 24

Tom Bass’ Commencement Address. 7 to 7:35 p.m. A Mid-Continent event, via MCPL360.

Storyteller and cultural historian Brother John Anderson portrays Missouri native Tom Bass, a renowned horse trainer, inventor and creator of Kansas City's American Royal Saddlehorse Show.

Register at A Mid-Continent event, via MCPL360.. At the time of the event, visit the MCPL360 Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mcpl360/

Other resources:

• The Kansas City Public Library also has a Black History Month reading list, 15 books that include “How to Be an Antiracist,” by Ibrim X. Kendi, “Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change,” by John Lewis, and “The Warmth of Other Suns,” by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabell Wilkerson. Go to https://kclibrary.org/blog/

• Each year, the Kansas City Public Library partners with the Local Investment Commission and the Black Archives of Mid-America to produce a Black History Month booklet celebrating the legacies and accomplishments of notable African Americans who broke barriers and left a mark on Kansas City history. The 2020-21 edition, Kansas City Black History: The African American story of history and culture in our community, compiles the stories of more than 70 people.

A digital version is available for download at the library system’s website.

A limited number of copies are available at library branches using its Pop In/Pick Up service. 

The profiles and essays from the booklet also appear on a companion website, KCBlackHistory.org. An additional resource will be several lesson plans related to the publication that the library is developing in collaboration with local educators.