Black History Month is a celebration of African-American history and culture. This year, the Daily Press is presenting a Black History Primer with the information you need to know about African-American history in four Peninsula localities. Each Sunday in February, staff writer Mark St. John Erickson will present a story in this series featuring Hampton, Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. Read the stories at dailypress.com/history.
The following list includes events, programs and exhibitions throughout the month. The calendar will be published each week with updates made online. If your group or organization has an event you'd like to see included, add it to our online calendar at dailypress.com/hrcalendar.
"The Book of Negroes" (film). Wednesday, Feb. 4. 6:30 p.m BET and Hampton University will present an exclusive screening and panel discussion of "The Book of Negroes." A discussion with miniseries star Aunjanue Ellis follows the screening and is hosted by WHRO's Barbara Hamm Lee and HU student Margie Merritt. In addition to her recurring role on the hit CBS drama, "NCIS: Los Angeles" as Agent Sam Hanna's wife Quinn, Ellis was seen in Lifetime's "Abducted: The Carlina White Story. Ellis earned a SAG Award for her performance in "The Help." BET's epic miniseries "The Book of Negroes" has all-star performances by Ellis, Cuba Gooding Jr., Louis Gossett Jr. and Lyriq Bent. Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Lawrence Hill, series recounts the resourceful journey of Aminata Diallo, an invincible African woman who secured her freedom during the American Revolution. The event is free and open to the public. "The Book of Negroes" will air Feb. 16-18 on BET. 757-727-5000. hamptonu.edu.
Black Settlement Presentation & Book Signing. Saturday, Feb. 7. 3-4 p.m. Join Lafayette Jones Jr., a descendant of those who lived on the Free Black Settlement at Freedom Park, for a presentation and book signing. Come experience 18th century life more than 60 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. Freedom Park Interpretive Center, 5537 Centerville Road, Williamsburg. jamescitycountyva.gov/recreation/news.html.
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (concert). Saturday Feb. 7. 8 p.m. This legendary R&B group came out with a string of hits in the 1960s and early 1970s, including "Heat Wave," "Nowhere to Run," "Jimmy Mack," and "Dancing In The Street." Reeve, who served four years as a Detroit City Council, is back on the road full time. She's joined by the Motortown All-Stars, which includes members of The Miracles, The Capitals and former members of The Temptations. Admission: $32-$47. Concert Hall, Ferguson Center for the Arts, Christopher Newport University, Newport News. 757-594-8752. Fergusoncenter.org.
"Let My People Go: A Journey on the Underground Railroad" (theater performance). Saturday, Feb. 7, 2 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m. The production by the Children's Theatre of Hampton Roads is based on actual people who lived in the Hampton Roads area. The main character "Caroline" is a young girl from Portsmouth fleeing slavery with the help of a friendly bird and a conductor who lives on the Elizabeth River. The story follows her inspiring journey from Virginia to the North, and is steeped in local history. Feb. 7 at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library Theater in Virginia Beach; Feb. 21 performance at the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts. $5 admission. childrenstheatreofhamptonroads.org.
300th Anniversary Choral Concert Celebrating Black History Month. Saturday, Feb. 7. 8 p.m. A Black History Month concert with the choirs from Bruton Parish Church and First Baptist Church on Scotland Street in Williamsburg (Reginald Fox and Rebecca Davy, directors). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Parking is permitted on the Duke of Gloucester Street during the concert. Bruton Parish, 331 Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg. 757-229-2891. brutonparish.org.
"Click on Her: Virginia Hamilton Bytes Literarily!" (art unveiling/reception). Saturday, Feb. 7. 12:30 p.m. Teen members of the Pearl Bailey Library's Teen Advisory Committee, under the direction of local award-winning artist and muralist Hampton Boyer and Dr. Margaret Bristow created an artistic mural for African-American history month. The mural was created in commemoration of the literary works of Virginia Hamilton, the first African American to win the coveted Newbery Award Medal in 1974. 2510 Wickham Ave., Newport News. 757-247-8677. nnpls.libguides.com/home.
Michael Tubbs at Tidewater Community College (keynote speaker). Wednesday, Feb. 11. Noon. Michael Tubbs, who in 2012 was elected as the youngest member of the Stockton (Calif.) City Council, is the college's keynote Black History Month speaker. A documentary about him, "True Son," debuted at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth Campus Center, 120 Campus Drive, Portsmouth. http://www.tcc.edu.
"Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness" (performance). Thursday, Feb. 12. 6:30 p.m. A solo performance by Chad Goller-Sojourner who says: "What I remember most about that first stop was that he asked 'Where are you headed'. Not 'license, registration and proof of insurance, please' but 'Where you headed'. Eighteen years, nine months and sixteen days of riding in cars with nothing but white people and not once had an officer opened with 'Where you headed.'" Sadler Center Commonwealth Auditorium, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg. https://events.wm.edu/event/view/wm/49330.
"Remember the Titans" (film). Thursday Feb. 12, 7 p.m. Denzel Washington stars in this drama set in Alexandria in 1971 when the local school board was forced to integrate an all-black school with an all-white school. Following the screening, members of the City of Hampton's Citizen's Unity Commission will lead a community talk-back about the themes and ideas presented in the film. The American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton. Admission; $8. 757-722-2787. Hamptonarts.net.
Follow the Drinking Gourd (planetarium production). Saturdays, Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28. 4 p.m. Celebrate Black History Month with this timeless classic program at the Virginia Living Museum about how slaves in the southern United States used a song and the stars to find their way to freedom. This poignant and inspiring tale of one family's desperate flight to freedom is based on the children's book written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. The planetarium production incorporates Winter's original artwork and music by Lovey Williams. Admission to show is free, but does not include admission to the museum. Virginia Living Museum, 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News. thevlm.org.
Black History Month Concert. 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 2150 Cunningham Drive, Hampton. Featuring cellist Sterling Elliott and the Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church choir. Free-will donation.
African-American Musical Imprint Weekend at Jamestown. Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 14-15. Performances by "The Storyteller" Dylan Pritchett, the Northern Neck Chantey Singers and Legacy of Weyanoke. Gallery exhibits and daily interpretive program included. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $16.75 adults and $7.75 ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Jamestown Settlement, Route 31 South in Williamsburg. 1-888-593-4682 or 757-253-4838. http://www.historyisfun.org. PHOTOS available for media use: http://www.historyisfun.org/about-us/news/non-public-media/africa-to-virginia-images/
"Freedom Bound" (play). Saturday, Feb. 14. 2:30 p.m. Mad River Theater Works returns to present this original play with music about the history of the Underground Railroad in Ohio. The show follows the story of Addison White, a slave who escaped from Kentucky and traveled the Railroad north to Ohio. The production uses drama and music, as well as riddles and rhyme, to create characters that emerge from the past and bring the Underground Railroad to life. Admission: $13.75. The American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton. 757-722-2787. Hamptonarts.net.
" 'In The Heat of the Night' — Free Screening of Film & Panel Discussion." Sunday, Feb. 15. 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Race and rights take center stage as part of Tidewater Community College's observance of Black History Month with a screening of the Academy-Award winning film followed by a panel discussion. John Ball's 1965 novel, "In the Heat of the Night," takes place in America during the 1960s as the country grappled with integration and an evolving acceptance of the Civil Rights Movement. The big-screen version crossed fraught political lines, marking one of the first times in a motion picture an African American man reacted to – rather than accepted – provocation from a white man. The film won five Academy Awards and spawned a hugely popular television series. TCC Roper Performing Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk. 757 822-1450.
African-American Writers' Reading Group Book Group (book discussion). Monday, Feb. 16. 7 p.m. The open group's February book is "Forty Acres" by Dwayne Smith. Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Yoder Plaza Shopping Center, 12170 Jefferson Ave., Newport News. 757-249-2488.
African American Bingo (youth activity). Tuesday, Feb. 17. 6 p.m. Youth from 10-18 years old can test their African-American history savvy. Pearl Bailey Library, 2510 Wickham Ave., Newport News. 757-247-8677. nnpls.libguides.com/home.
Waddyaknow (history trivia). Wednesday, Feb. 18. 6 p.m. Black history trivia. Open to ages 12 and up. Main Street Library, 110 Main St., Newport News. 757-591-4858. nnpls.libguides.com/home.
"In The Heat of the Night"— L.A. Theatre Works Theatrical Adaptation (play). Friday, Feb. 20. 8 p.m.-10 p.m. A stage adaptation of the classic American novel which became a film and television series. Tickets: $20, general admission; student discounts available. Roper Performing Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk. 757 822-1450.
The Blues Is Still Good News Benefit Concert. Saturday, Feb. 21. 7 p.m. The Hampton chapter of The Fernando Jones Blues Camp and The Blues Kids Foundation return with a high-energy performances pairing young musicians with local musical talent. Proceeds will benefit the 2015 Fernando Jones Blues Camp in Hampton. The non-profit Blues Kids Foundation was established to preserve, perform and promote the blues among America's youth, parents and educators. Admission: $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door. More information about the summer blues camp is available online at blueskids.com. The American Theatre. 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton. 757-722-2787. Hamptonarts.net.
Black History Month Celebration (history/food). Saturday, Feb. 21. 1 p.m.- 5 p.m. The Schoolhouse Museum is celebrating Africa during Black History Month by presenting "A View of Ghana", a free program which will explore the country of Ghana. Learn about Ghana's culture, sample Ghanaian foods, enjoy its music and dance, view pictures of the country, and wear African attire to qualify for door prizes. The Isle of Wight NAACP student contest winners will also be announced. Wiliams Missions Center, Main Street Baptist Church, 517 Main St., Smithfield. email@example.com or 757-357-2646.
Black History Month Film Fest. Saturdays, Feb. 21 and 28. 1 p.m. The Virginia War Museum presents "Glory" starring Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick chronicles the all-black 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry on Feb. 21; and "Men of Honor" starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Robert DeNiro was inspired by the life of Carl Brashear on Feb. 28. Free with paid museum admission: $7, adults; $6 seniors and active duty military; $5, children, 7-18; free, children 6 and younger. AAA discount offered. 9285 Warwick Blvd.. Newport News. 757-247-8523. warmuseum.org.
"Unknown No Longer: The First Twenty and Odd" (book signing and talk). Tuesday, Feb. 24. 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. The Hampton History Museum hosts Dr. Lauranett L. Lee, curator of African-American history at the Virginia Historical Society who will be presenting information on a database of slave names following by a book signing with K.I. Knight, author of "Fate and Freedom-Book 1: The Middle Passage." Hampton History Museum, 120 Old Hampton Lane, Hampton. 757-727-6841. http://www.HamptonHistoryMuseum.org.
"Cool Black Man? Or Fist Bumping Socialist? White Racial Framing and the Obama Campaigns" (lecture). Thursday, Feb. 26. 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. In celebration of Black History Month, Saint Leo University will host a free lecture by author and sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield, Ph.D., called "Cool Black Man? Or Fist Bumping Socialist? White Racial Framing and the Obama Campaigns." Reception/refreshments at 4:30 p.m. The lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. Free, open to the public, registration required. Please RSVP to Margaret Chris Snead,,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black History Month Children's Storytime Celebration. Saturday, Feb. 28. 11 a.m. In celebration of Black History Month, story time and activities feature books about the lives of two notable figures "I Am Rosa Parks" and "I Am Jackie Robinson" by Brad Meltzer. Barnes & Noble, Yoder Plaza Shopping Center, 12170 Jefferson Ave., Newport News. 757-249-2488.
Ubuntu Dance Collective 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28. Main Street Library, Newport News. The group, who is based in the Hampton Roads area, combines accurate and cutting-edge interpretations of contemporary and ancient African, African American, and Caribbean dance and music. We will learn a little history of the dance in West Africa and participate in a dance workshop that will have everybody on their feet! All ages are welcome. dancewithsunshine.com.
"Let Me Tell You My Story: Harriet Tubman" (historical presentation). Saturday, Feb. 28. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Dr. Saundra Cherry, an assistant professor at Hampton University, will portray Harriet Tubman. The James A. Fields House, 617 27th St., Newport News. 757-245-1991. email@example.com
Soul Food Fest/Feast. Sunday, March 1. 12:30 p.m. The Soul Food Fest is a history of cultural cuisine "to acknowledge our ancestors who eat the same cuisine as slaves," according to a release from the Black History Task Force of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church. 757-723-8253. Office@stcyprianshamptonva.org.
Ongoing exhibitions and events
"Looking Both Ways" (art). Through Sunday, March 22. The exhibit explores contemporary African-American art and its cultural influences, featuring works by Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, Betty Blayton, Faith Ringgold, Carrie Mae Weems and Clayton Singleton juxtaposed with historical images, African objects and Civil Rights-era photographs from the Daily Press archives. Admission: $7.50 adults; $4 children, 6-12. Peninsula Fine Arts Center, 101 Museum Drive, Newport News. 757-596-8175. pfac-va.org. Go to dailypress.com/art to see a photo gallery of works in the show.
"Civil Rights Leaders Then and Now: Photographs by James 'Spider' Martin and Jonathan Purvis." Through Friday, Feb. 27. This exhibit features the 1965 civil rights march on Selma, Ala., and some of its participants today along with other images. Ferguson Hall Gallery, Ferguson Center for the Arts, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Christopher Newport University, Newport News. Free. 757-594-7930.
"To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade" (art). Feb. 7-Feb. 28. This traveling exhibition examines Virginia's role in the internal trade of enslaved people before the Civil War. Curated by Maurice D. McInnis, professor of art history and vice provost of academic affairs at the University of Virginia. Hampton University Museum, Hampton History Gallery, Hampton. 757-727-5308. museum.hamptonu.edu.
From Africa to Virginia Theme Month at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. Through Saturday, Feb. 28. Gallery exhibits and daily interpretive programs highlight the culture of the first recorded Africans in Virginia and the experience of people of African descent in colonial and Revolutionary America. "African-American Musical Imprint Weekend," February 14-15 at Jamestown Settlement features performances by "The Storyteller" Dylan Pritchett, the Northern Neck Chantey Singers and Legacy of Weyanoke. A combination ticket to both museums is $21.00 for adults and $10.50 for ages 6-12. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $16.75 adults, $7.75 ages 6-12; and to the Yorktown Victory Center, $9.75 adults, $5.50 ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Jamestown Settlement is on Route 31 South in Williamsburg. The Yorktown Victory Center is on Route 1020 in Yorktown. 1-888-593-4682 or 757-253-4838. historyisfun.org/jamestown-settlement/from-africa-to-virginia.
"Elizabeth Catlett: A Celebration of 100 Years" and "Elizabeth Catlett and The Hampton Art Tradition" (art). Through Nov. 14. The exhibit is a commemoration of Catlett's 100th birthday and pulls from Catlett's 125-plus works in the HU Museum's collection. The works represented in this exhibition show the importance of Catlett as a major contemporary international artist. In addition, "Elizabeth Catlett and the Hampton Art Tradition" will be shown highlighting students who were at Hampton in 1943 when husband and wife team Charles White and Elizabeth Catlett came to then Hampton Institute and taught classes. Works by White, John Biggers, Samella Sanders Lewis, Persis Jennings and Annabelle Baker will be on view. Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Hampton University Museum, Main Changing Gallery and Blue Room, Hampton. 757-727-5308. museum.hamptonu.edu
The list will be updated regularly online at dailypress.com/blackhistory.