Orange County is celebrating Black History month with a variety of local events to educate the community and honor important historical figures.
UNC-Chapel Hill will host its 14th annual African American History Month Lecture, this year's speaker is Dr. Gerald Horne. Horne studies civil rights, labor history and film representation of African Americans.
The lecture is on Feb. 21 at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
The Burwell School Historic Site in Hillsborough is taking not just the month but the entire year to honor and celebrate the bicentennial of the life of Elizabeth Keckly. Keckly was a former slave at the Burwell School who eventually bought her freedom and became both a dressmaker and close confidant of Mary Lincoln.
Kate Faherty, the executive director at the Burwell School Historic Site, said she admires Keckly and is excited to be organizing events for the public about Keckly’s life.
“We want to acknowledge that she had really difficult times here at this site, but we also want to go beyond that and honor what she did to transcend those struggles and really take a role in history,” Faherty said.
While the Burwell School is typically open for guided tours, there will be additional events in honor of Keckly including a quilt show, a replica of a dress she made for Mary Lincoln and a play that enacts what Keckly would say if she returned to the Burwell School in Hillsborough.
The Town of Carrboro also has events planned for Black History Month including an event that honored Fredrick Douglass’ bicentennial. Both Keckley and Douglass were born in the same year and month, so their bicentennials are being celebrated this year.
Carrboro will host an upcoming lecture with UNC-CH professor Kenneth Janken on his book ‘Wilmington Ten,' which chronicles school desegregation in Wilmington and the bombing of a white-owned store where 10 young people were convicted of the crime despite irregularities in the trial.
According to Charles Harrington, recreation administrator for the Town of Carrboro, this is the first time Carrboro has offered extensive Black History Month programming.
“Being able to hear these experts discuss each of these topics that most people might be familiar with in general, they provide perspectives and different insights, and it’s educational for anyone to attend,” Harrington said.
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