Dover, Dover, DE
The Fifth Annual Citywide Black History Celebration is a series of events highlighting local Black history, culture, art, music, and theater.
Scroll down past the two photo galleries below to get all the event details, and mark your calendars now for the 2021 Citywide Black History Celebration!
Our Citywide Black History Celebration kicks-off on Sunday, January 31 and continues through the month of February in different locations throughout Dover. The 2021 Citywide Black History Celebration is brought to you in partnership by the Biggs Museum of American Art, Delaware State News, Delaware State University, DonDel Productions, Dover Public Library, Inner City Cultural League and Sankofa Cultural Arts Center. The programs are sponsored in part by Chesapeake Utilities, Dover Federal Credit Union, Bayhealth and Westminster Village.
Local African American Voices
Sunday, January 31, 2021
This year’s celebration begins on an inspirational high note with a virtual performance of the familiar gospel song Great is Thy Faithfulness by the Delaware State University Choir Chamber singers under the direction of Dr. Derrick L. Thompson. You can still view their powerful performance below the map on the right side of this page.
Several of this year’s exhibits, programs and presentations focus on the Tuskegee Airmen. They include the following:
The Tuskegee Airmen: Their Delaware Connection
Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 7, 1:30 - 4 p.m. - Sunday is a Virtual Event only. Available on YouTube.com. Search for ICCL Sankofa.
Sankofa Cultural Arts Center, 39 S. West Street, Dover, Delaware 19901
This Tuskegee Airmen exhibition will provide visitors with an audio/visual sequential timeline of the denigrating social, educational, and military conditions found in the U.S. after emancipation and through 1945 when President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the U. S. Armed Forces. In this progressive program, the visitor will see the importance of historically black institutions in developing leaders in many areas including administration, nursing, meteorology, military and even civilian pilot programs.
The nonmilitary connections which buoyed the confidence and care of these military pilots are included in this public showcase. African American fraternities, sororities, artists, musicians, politicians, medical specialists, and even social clubs provided the all-important contacts and support not generally available to these pilots when traveling through heavily segregated states, in both the north and south, but predominately in the south.
The program will conclude at a never conceived nor perceived juncture where the American Eagle takes back his perch from Jim Crow above the nation’s flagpoles and promotes desegregation in the military. It would take two more decades to have this process occur outside of the military.
This walk-thru exhibition will include stand-alone information kiosks, most with audio and printed explanations of presented materials. Any musical performances will be presented as recordings.
On Saturday, February 6 complimentary carry-out refreshments will be available for all event attendees from the Top 5 BBQ Food Truck on site from 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Additional food items will also be available for purchase from their food truck.
This is a free, non-ticketed program open to all. Admission to the venue will be limited based on the current COVID restrictions on the day of the event.
Please enter through the front entrance on West Street. Cloth face masks and social distancing are required for all attendees and event staff.
The Biggs Museum of American Art
406 Federal Street, Dover, DE 19901
The Biggs is open to their members only through February 6. They open February 10 to the general public. The museum will be celebrating Black History Month with both in-person and virtually. They are open Wednesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Reservations for timed entry are recommended.
The Biggs will provide two main areas of focus inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen, an exhibition by noted fashion photographer Toni Frissell, titled In Italy with the Tuskegee Airmen and a paper Airplane contest for all ages, Biggs Flight!
Toni Frissell: In Italy with the Tuskegee Airmen
Virtually on display: https://www.biggsmuseum.org/virtual-biggs/
The imminent fashion and society photographer, Toni Frissell (1907-88), held several official positions with the American Red Cross, the Women’s Army Corp and the US Air Force to document World War II. This exhibition highlights her images of the Tuskegee Airmen, the 332d Fighter Group, from the collection of the Library of Congress.
Inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen and hosted virtually, Biggs Flight is a competition open to all ages and abilities, with five possible categories: longest flight (ages: 10 and under, 11-17, and adult), best decorated, and most creative design. Throughout the month the museum will share videos on their Facebook page to help participants learn how to create, decorate and perfect their paper airplanes with input from pros. Join the museum for a series of free virtual events that explore the science, inspiration, and historical significance of flight; all leading up to announcing the Biggs Flight! Competition winners on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 5:00.
Videos, official entry form, basic template and details on how to enter can be found at: https://www.biggsmuseum.org/biggs-flight/
Winners will receive: Family membership to the Biggs Museum of American Art and additional surprises! So, test your skills as part of the flight crew and let your creativity soar.
Schedule of Events:
Tuesday, February 2, 6:00 p.m.
Free Virtual Tour- Toni Frissell: In Italy with the Tuskegee Airmen
Sewell C. Biggs Curator of American Art, Ryan Grover, and the Curator of Community and Academic Programs, Kristen Matulewicz will host a live dinner-time tour of Toni Frissell: In Italy with the Tuskegee Airmen at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Since many people are staying home these days, the typical fee for this program will be waived so that all could enjoy this exhibition. Register online for tickets or call 302-674-2111. For questions, please contact Kristen Matulewicz, Curator of Community and Academic Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 104.
Saturday, February 6
Tuskegee Airmen Exhibition on Display 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
While the museum is closed, interested parties can see the exhibition Toni Frissell: In Italy with the Tuskegee Airmen on display at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center, during their event, The Tuskegee Airmen: Their Delaware Connection.
Biggs Kids Workshop- Biggs Flight Part 1: Take off! 10 a.m.
The first Biggs Flight video will launch on the museum’s Facebook page at 10 a.m. The Virtual Biggs Kids Workshop will introduce the Tuskegee Airmen exhibition and give basic instruction on building paper airplanes. Supplies needed for this project will be packaged into a “Big ol’Bag of Biggs Art” available for free pick up at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center.
Saturday, February 13
Biggs Flight Part 2: The Science of Flight 10 a.m.
At 10 a.m. the Biggs will release its second short, pre-recorded paper airplane video, this time focusing on the science behind planes with additional tips to help improve your plane.
Tuskegee Airmen Virtual Tour Facebook Watch Party 12 p.m.
The Biggs will host a Facebook Watch Party to live stream the virtual meditative tour, and evening virtual tours held earlier this month. Watch along with Curator Ryan Grover, who will be available for Q & A through the duration of the videos.
Tuesday, February 16
Virtual Lecture: Tuskegee Airmen 6 p.m.
The Biggs Museum of American Art is honored to welcome a panel of guest speakers including:
- Melvin Payne, Board President of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
- Dr. Robert Kodosky, Dean of History and author of Tuskegee in Philadelphia – Rising to the Challenge
- Dr. Eugene Richardson Jr, Original Tuskegee Airmen.
In this virtual lecture, via Zoom, the esteemed panel will look at the importance of the Tuskegee Airmen, their experiences, and their lasting legacy.
Members $5, General Public: $10. Call to register 302-674-2111.
Saturday, February 20
Biggs Flight Part 3: Airplane Decoration 10 a.m.
A short 20-minute, pre-recorded talk by the artist Bryant Bell will be shared. Bell will talk about his work and airplane decorations.
Saturday, February 27, 5 p.m.
Biggs Flight Winners Announced!
Citywide Black History Celebration Events at the Dover Public Library
Dover Public Library, 35 E. Loockerman Street, Dover, Delaware 19901
Black History Month Reading & Activity Challenge
February 1-28, 2021
Learn about Black history makers, explore cultural traditions, and honor the evolution of Black history in America. From the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter, it is vital to understand our history so that we can impact our future. Complete activities and log your reading to earn badges along the way. Please visit https://doverlibrary.beanstack.org/ to register.
African American History in the Digital Age
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 from 6-7 pm
Learn how to access African American newspapers which were eyewitnesses to historic events with local historian Syl Woolford. This program will be held via Zoom, so please register at https://delawarelibraries.libcal.com/event/7389482 to receive the meeting link.
Black History Month Kids Grab & Go Kits
February 9 - 14, 2021, while supplies last
Drop by the library during our curbside pickup hours to pick up a Grab & Go kit with Black History Month activities. Included are an activity that invites children to share what their dreams are and serves as an introduction to Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech and DIY mini books about notable African Americans from throughout history. Grab & Go kits are available on a first come, first serve basis with a limit of four kits per family, while supplies last.
"Echoes of a Prophet"
Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2 p.m.
Take a journey back in time with Reverend Dr. John G. Moore, Sr. as he shares historical facts on the life and legacy of the late civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a program that will feature re-enactments of some of Dr. King’s most famous speeches as well as live music from that era performed by saxophonist Brian Cunningham. Please register to receive the Zoom link at https://delawarelibraries.libcal.com/event/7466605.
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Admission to any of the in-person events may be limited based on the current COVID restrictions on the day of the event. Cloth face masks and social distancing are required for all attendees and event staff.
Please refer back to this site or the event Facebook page the day of the event to check for any changes to the schedules or COVID requirements.
For more information on these and other events happening during Black History Month, please check out our special publication for the Citywide Black History Celebration at this link.
In addition, stories highlighting members of our local black community will be featured in the People section of the Sunday Delaware State News beginning January 31 through February 21. You can receive all of these special features with a subscription to the paper. Order it at DelawareStateNews.net/subscribe.
Lastly, test your knowledge of local black history by taking a 4-question quiz. You could win a $250 prize or a number of smaller prizes. Check out the contest HERE before February 28! The contest is sponsored by Chesapeake Utilities, Dover Federal Credit Union and Bayhealth.