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Thought-provoking lectures and presentations, music, and art mark this year's Black History Month celebrations taking place all over northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan this weekend and through February.
The variety of events and activities reflects the richness of the contributions African-Americans have made to our country's culture. And suffice to say, there's a little bit of something for everyone.
Here's a rundown of just a few of the activities taking place:
●Musical celebrations will help launch Black History Month this weekend and next at Old West End venues such as the Toledo Museum of Art and Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral. Toledo soprano Margaret Barron and a host of singers and dancers from around the city will depict episodes in the historic transition from slavery to freedom.
A free public program, Music, Poetry, and Dance to Celebrate the African American Experience, is set for 3 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Toledo Museum of Art Great Gallery. Spirituals, gospel and praise music will be performed by Barron with Crystal Barnett, David Bush, Thomas Brock, Karen Ellis, Gisele and Shelia Gibson with the Third Baptist Church Praise Dancers, plus Joyce Rush, Odessa Rowen, Torel Willis, Joyce Lewis, the Rev. Glen and Ruth Jones, Cynthia Valentine, Marvin Hillery, and others.
On Sunday, Barron and accompanist Timothy Cheek will perform the program, A Journey through the life of African-Americans, at 3 p.m. at Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd. This concert also is free.
●20 North Gallery in downtown Toledo will open its 16th Annual Black History Month Exhibit: Homage to LeMaxie Glover Friday. Each year's exhibit focuses on art work from top black artists from the region, along with nationally recognized artists. The gallery is at 18 North St. Clair St. and is open from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday-Saturdays and from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
●The Monroe County Public Library's 24th Annual Black History Month Blues series starts Tuesday with a free 7 p.m. performance by boogie-woogie piano ace Arthur Migliazza at the Carleton Branch Library, 1444 Kent, Carleton. The series continues with "Tuesdays are Bluesdays" events throughout the month and climaxes with a major free concert Feb. 26 featuring the Holmes Brothers, the Ebony Hillbillies, and Rev. Robert B. Jones. The 7 p.m. show is at the Monroe County Community College Meyer Center, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd. in Monroe. Information: monroe.lib.mi.us.
●Also on Feb. 26 the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library will present its free The Journey Toward Freedom celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. at Main Library, 325 Michigan St. Among the presentations during the event will be A History of the Underground Railroad by Cathy D. Nelson, Friends of the Freedom Society, music by the Clarence Smith Community Chorus, representatives from the 5th United States Colored Troop Civil War re-enactors, children's activities, and Civil War-era refreshments. Information: toledolibrary.org, or call 419.259.5207.
●The Toledo Museum of Art is extending its Aminah Robinson: Voices That Taught Me How to Sing exhibition through April 10 at Gallery 4 at the Glass Pavilion. The free exhibition, originally scheduled to close in late February, showcases The Ragmud Collection by noted African American artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. Also at the museum in February are a number of other Black History Month events. Information: toledomuseum.org.
●Bowling Green State University will feature Black History Month lectures, dinners, and conferences. Included in the events will be the 12th Annual Black Issues Conference Feb. 12 at the Bowen Thompson Student Union from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the Popular Culture Colloquium Lecture Series "It's a Mad, Mad, Madea World" that will explore Tyler Perry, urban theater, and black culture. It will be Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. to noon. Information: bgsu.edu/blackhistorymonth.
●The University of Toledo has a number of events scheduled throughout the month, including a youth conference on Saturday, a Blues Music History night Feb. 19 at Recital Hall of the Center for Performing Arts, and a fashion show Feb. 25. Youth advocate, Army combat veteran, business leader, and author Wes Moore will be the keynote speaker at UT's 27th Annual Aspiring Minority Youth Conference Saturday. Sponsored by Toledo Excel and the UT Joint Committee, the conference will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Student Union Auditorium. This year's theme is "Success or Failure: The Consequence of Choice."