The Year of the Blues
In this Year of the Blues we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January), Black history (February), Women’s history (March) and Black music history (June) in particular. However, black culture is worthy of being celebrated throughout the year. Our heritage is rich and vibrant and the influence of black culture is found in every area of our nation’s excellence.
In January we honored the legacy and birth of Dr. King as we lifted our voices with songs and stories of celebration. We also recognized other treasures born in January including but certainly not limited to: Alvin Ailey, Max Roach, John Singleton, Debbie Allen, Michelle Obama, Daniel Hale Williams, Aaron Neville, Etta James, Bobby Blue Bland, Oprah Winfrey and Jackie Robinson.
February is Black History Month. Share the story of its origin with your community, especially our youth.
In 1994 a group named Sounds of Blackness recorded a song written by Gary Hines. The song, “Livin’ The Blues,” begins with the lines: “Everybody wants to sing my blues. Nobody wants to live my blues.” The song continues: “For a long, long time we been livin’ the blues. For a long, long time we been payin’ dues…. We’ve come through the storms and rain, heartaches and pain… We keep holdin’ on – livin’ the blues has made us strong.”
Other treasures, born in February, include but are not limited to: Rosa Parks, Alice Walker, Leontyne Price, Frederick Douglass, Toni Morrison, Sidney Poitier, Smokey Robinson, Nina Simone, W.E.B. DuBois, Fats Domino, Roberta Flack and Langston Hughes! Select a poem, song, quote, speech, movie, painting or any other expression that comes to mind when thinking of these treasures and share it with someone else. Knowledge is power!
Did you know, for example, that Roberta Flack and Nina Simone were born in North Carolina? Roberta’s “I Told Jesus” is so powerful! So is Nina’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free.” Who can forget Sidney Poitier’s line in the classic film “In the Heat of the Night” when he proclaimed: “They call me MR. Tibbs!”
Tell our stories this month and all year.
Quote of the week:
Friday, February 3 – 6PM – “Black History: Artists’ Perspectives” Opening Reception
Saturday, February 18 – 8:00pm – Jambalaya Soul Winter Poetry Slam*
(Hosted by Dasan Ahanu and featuring Wally B from Tampa, Florida)
Thursday-Saturday, February 9-11 – Heritage Film Festival (starts 6pm Thursday)*
(Themes: Blaxploitation; Social Justice and Our Legacy; Science Fiction and More)
Friday, March 24 – 6pm – African American Quilt Circle Exhibition Opening Reception
(Theme: Sew Much Life…Threads Connecting Lives)
Saturday, March 25- 3PM – Wimmin@Work Cultural Celebration of Women’s History*
(Dance, music, literature, song, etc. co-produced with SOULOWORKS/Andrea E. Woods)
Sunday, May 21 – 4PM – Durham Symphony Orchestra Tribute to Nina Simone*
(With Maestro William Curry and featuring vocalist Yolanda Rabun)