Mayor Bill Finch began the city’s Black History Month observance Feb. 2 at City Hall Annex with “The History of Soul Food,” a presentation by Chef Pierre-Andre Desruisseaux of Metric Bar & Grill in Downtown Bridgeport, talk about the history and meaning of Soul Food. DoingItLocal.com supplied the video.
Throughout the month of February, the city will host a series of events celebrating the diverse talents and contributions of the African American community in the Park City. Highlights of the full slate of events include a visit from the legendary Harlem Globetrotters, an appearance by hip-hop pioneers the Cold Crush Brothers, The History of Black Music in America concert and the Black Inventor Exhibit traveling museum.
Exhibits, lectures, film screenings and an art exhibit are also a part of the City’s Black History Month programming.
“This month, we recognize the courage and contributions of African Americans throughout the history of our nation, while showcasing the many and varied talents of the city’s African American community,” said Finch. “I am proud to be mayor of a city with such a diverse population and rich traditions. We encourage everyone to take part in some or all of the activities the city is sponsoring.”
Thursday night’s festivities will include a recitation of President Barack Obama’s historic inaugural speech by Muhammad Drammeh, 12.
Sponsors for City of Bridgeport’s Black History Month are: Office of the Mayor Bill Finch, African American Historical Society, African American Point of View Newspaper, Blessed Sacrament Church, City Lights Art Gallery, CT Black Chamber of Commerce, Bridgeport NAACP, East End NRZ, Green Chamber of Commerce, Jerry Craft, Lewis & Kirk Music, Metric Bar & Grill, Nia Connection, Pryceless Consulting and The Jazzy Ladies
Schedule of Black History Month events
Black History Month Kickoff took place Feb. 2: “The History of Soul Food” featuring Chef Pierre, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street
Chef Pierre explains the history and meaning of Soul Food. Soul food cuisine consists of a selection of foods traditional in the cuisine of African Americans. Chef Pierre will offer a sampling of Soul Food for tasting. Event included recitation of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Speech by Muhammad Drammeh, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street
Muhammad Drammeh, 12, is an eighth grade honor student who will kick off Thursday night’s festivities with a reciting of President Barack Obama’s historic inaugural speech. At the age of 7 Muhammad memorized the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety and began public speaking at age 8. One year later, Muhammad went on to memorize President Barack Obama’s race speech, “A More Perfect Union”, as well as his inaugural speech and the speech the President gave in Cairo, Egypt.
Feb. 2, 6 p.m., Black History Month Children’s Movie: “Akeelah and the Bee”, Bridgeport Public Library — North Branch, 3455 Madison Avenue
“Akeelah and the Bee” is a 2006 American drama film written and directed by Doug Atchison. It tells the uplifting story of Akeelah, an 11-year-old girl who hides her talent for spelling to fit in. When she decides to let her light shine the entire community pitches in to support her as she participates in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Feb. 4, 10 a.m. & 2 p.m., Black Inventor Exhibit, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street
The Black Inventor Exhibit (BIE) is a multimedia presentation, a traveling museum which pays tribute to the world’s unsung heroes, the Black inventor and scientist. The Exhibit showcases famous Black inventors and their respective inventions in the fields of science, aerospace, communication, health care, agriculture, transportation and engineering. The Black Inventor Exhibit aims to enlighten and empower others, through knowledge and understanding of the many prolific Black inventors and their individual accomplishments. Throughout the history of the United States, far too little attention and recognition has been given to the many inventions of Black people. For more information go to blackinventions101.com .
Feb. 4, 2 p.m., Feb. 8, 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 18, 2 p.m. The Underground Railroad by Pearly Sams Allen, Nia Connection, Bridgeport Public Library — Newfield Branch (Feb. 4), Burroughs & Saden Branch (Feb. 8), and Black Rock Branch (Feb.18)
The Bridgeport Public Library’s Children’s Departments celebrates Black History Month with Pearlye Sams Allen’s interactive Underground Railroad Program.
Feb. 6, 13 & 27, 7 p.m., Faith & Fitness “Stepping” Line Dancing featuring The Jazzy Ladies, Blessed Sacrament Church, 275 Union Avenue
Join the Jazzy Ladies in a 60-minute prayer-infused exercise class. The goal of the program is to help people activate their faith and achieve their fitness goals at the same time.
Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m. Welcome Back Gospel Concert, Housatonic Community College, Beacon Hall Events Center
The Housatonic Gospel Choir will host its first gospel concert in celebration of Black History Month. Local artists and choirs will sing classic and new age Gospel Music.
Feb. 10, 7 p.m., Friday Night at the Movies: “The Help”, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street
This critically acclaimed film about African American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s is based on the popular novel by Katherine Stockett.
Feb. 16, 11 a.m. A Day of Awareness: Men and Women in Black History, Housatonic Community College, Beacon Hall Events Center
The HCC Women’s Center, Black Student Union, and Student Activities will sponsor an event that celebrates and highlights the contributions of Blacks throughout history. There will be live music, singing, spoken word, and discussion.
Feb. 16, 6 p.m. Black Art Exhibit: Converging Paths, Wine & Cheese Reception, City Lights Gallery, 37 Markle Court
Downtown Bridgeport’s City Lights Gallery will celebrate its newest exhibit, Converging Paths, with a wine and cheese reception.
Feb. 17, 7 p.m., Friday Night at the Movies: “Malcolm X”, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street
“Malcolm X” is a 1992 American biographical motion picture about the Muslim-American figure Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little) co-written, co-produced, and directed by Spike Lee.
Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m. Black History Month Children’s Movie: “Heroes of Freedom”, Bridgeport Public Library Burroughs & Saden Branch, 925 Broad Street
“Heroes of Freedom” offers movies that teach children about people of courage who changed America. The initial title in the series, “The Stories of Harriet Tubman & Rosa Parks,” presents live-action dramatizations, historically accurate reenactments, photographs, and colorful maps, which help tell the stories of these two women who worked their entire lives for fairness and freedom.
Feb. 23, 6 p.m. Black History Month Film Festival: “The Rosa Parks Story”, Bridgeport Public Library — North Branch 3455 Madison Ave.
A biography of Rosa Parks, famous for her part in igniting the Montgomery bus boycott when she refused to give up her seat on a bus.
Feb. 24, 8 p.m. Harlem Globetrotters, Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main Street
The legendary Harlem Globetrotters bring their 2012 world tour to Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena. The Globetrotters have played more than 20,000 exhibition games in 118 countries since their inception in 1926. For tickets and information go to websterbankarena.com .
Feb. 25, 10 a.m. — 5 p.m., Black History Month Open House, Discovery Museum, 4450 Park Avenue
The Discovery Museum and Planetarium, a hands-on interactive museum for all ages with over sixty-five exhibit areas featuring “see, hear and touch” explorations of science, technology and ideas, will offer an Open House in honor of Black History Month.
Feb. 25, 10 a.m., College and Hip Hop Forum, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street
The Cold Crush Brothers are a legendary hip hop group that formed in 1978 in the Bronx, New York. The Cold Crush Brothers were especially known for their memorable routines which included harmonies, melodies and stage-stomping performances. The group set the standard for emceeing and became known as “The Rolling Stones of hip hop.” They are all graduates of colleges and universities.
Feb. 25, 1 — 4 p.m., African American Historical Society of Fairfield County’s 5th Annual Carter G. Woodson Awards Ceremony, Discovery Museum, 4450 Park Avenue
The African American Historical Association of Fairfield County is a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the efforts of people of color to contribute an honorable narrative to the history of the United States. The organization hosts its 5th Annual Carter G. Woodson Awards Ceremony at the Discovery Museum. This year’s honorees include Walter Luckett, Rev. Dr. Anthony Bennett, and John and Cecilia DaRosa.
Feb. 25, 7 p.m. The History of Black Music in America — The Sounds of Freedom! featuring Lewis & Kirk Productions, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street
Lewis & Kirk Productions, promoters of the successful and widely attended “Motown on McLevy” concert held in the summer of 2011 are back with “The History of Black Music in America — The Sounds of Freedom!”
Feb. 29, 6:30 p.m., Black History Month Children’s Movie: “March On: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World”, Bridgeport Public Library Burroughs & Saden Branch, 925 Broad Street
March On! is about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and how he changed the world. The story was written by Martin’s sister, Christine King Farris. She writes about what Martin was like as a boy and their mother’s advice to not “go sticking out your chest, all puffed up and proud.”