As we gear up for the annual Black History Month celebration, it is good to know that some people still think the contributions and accomplishments of African Americans are something worth celebrating.
This year’s theme, as announced by The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, is: “Hallowed Grounds:Sites of African American Memories.” The association selected the annual theme to bring attention to the centennial celebration of the National Park Service and the more than 25 sites and the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom that are part of America’s hallowed grounds. This includes the home of the father of black history, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
Miami has many such “hallowed ground sites.” One of them is my old high school — Booker T. Washington Junior-Senior High School in Overtown, where many of us learned of our history and the importance of keeping it alive. There, behind those ivory-colored walls, we students were taught the value of our life here in America and to love our culture and our music, of which Negro spirituals were a great part.
I can still see the late Leila Williams, standing proudly before the choir as she taught four-part-harmony to us as we learned spirituals like, Ride on King Jesus and This Little Light of Mine. Singing such songs stirred up a pride inside of me I didn’t know was there. It still does.
If you love the old Negro spirituals as much as I, you will enjoy attending the Black History Month program presented by the Miami Oratorio Society entitled, “Spirit — A Celebration of Music, Culture and Black History.” The program will be from 4 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 13 at the North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens.
The program will feature vocalist Shanna-Lee and the Aaron Lebos Reality Jazz Band. Also featured will be the Miami Oratorio Society and The Miami Messiah Choir, who will join their voices in performing the beautiful and moving Negro spirituals.
The Miami Oratorio Society was founded by the late Victor Kelly in the early 1980s and has a mission of bringing the music of the masters to the masses. The choir is made up of people who live in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and is directed by Andrew Anderson
Selections to be performed by the combined choir at the event will include, Ride the Chariot, We Shall Walk in the Valley, Ain’t a Dat Good News and lots more.
The concert is free and the community is invited. This is one you should put on your calendar, for sure.
COMMUNITY APPRECIATION DINNER
The Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations (COSMOS) will have a Community Appreciation Dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport Hotel, 711 NW 72nd Ave.
The event will honor Community Bridge Builders such as Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, president, Florida International University; Katy Sorenson, former Miami-Dade County Commissioner, and John Yearwood, World Editor, The Miami Herald.
Wilfredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, will be the keynote speaker, and Calvin Hughes, anchor/reporter, WPLG Channel 10, will be the master of ceremonies.
If you go, the event is not recommended for children under 10. However, free babysitting will be provided for those who need it. For tickets and RSVP, send an email to: email@example.com. The attire is business
COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME REMEMBERED
It is never too late to honor someone for a job well done.
In this case, the Greater Miami Chapter of United States Naval Academy Alumni Association (USNAAA) will honor Army’s Arnold Tucker and Navy’s Pete Williams for their on-field heroics during the 1946 game, known as one of college football’s most exciting games.
The ceremony, to be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday at The Palace Coral Gables, One Andalusia Ave., is in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the game.
Tucker and Williams, both in their 80s, played quarterback for Miami High School. But in the infamous 1946 Army vs Navy football game, Tucker was the quarterback of Army’s back-to-back-to-back national championship teams, leader of two of Army’s Heisman winners, and recipient of the prestigious James E. Sullivan award in 1947. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and currently lives at The Palace Senior Living Community.
Williams, who was known as “Pistol Pete” was Navy football team captain, star running back, Brigade Commander, College Football Hall of Fame and one of Navy’s top five all-time players. He now lives in South Miami.
For more information call Mel Meinhardt, president of the Greater Miami Chapter USNAAA at 212-470-4181 or call The Palace at 305-445-7444.
Footprints Foundation will offer free prenatal classes for mothers and fathers from noon to 2 p.m. on Feb. 1 at The Hotel Redland, Five S. Flagler Ave. in Homestead.
The classes will include breastfeeding, nutrition, the importance of prenatal visits, and complimentary massages by Judy Wyatt Estevez.
If you go, you may RSVP by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 305-573-8423.
HERALD FOOD EDITOR TO SPEAK
The Miami Beach Jewish Community Center will present Andreas Schneider of Pubbelly Restaurant Group in an interview with Evan Benn, the Miami Herald’s food editor at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the Jewish Center, 4221 Pine Tree Dr.
If you go, you will get the “inside scoop” on the Miami food scene and hear about what’s next for the “Pubbelly Boys” and their growing restaurant empire.
Tickets to the VIP cocktail reception are $36 each.
The Main Event will start at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $18 for the general public and $10 per person for MBJCC members.
For more information call 305-534-3206, ext. 214.
FLORIDA LEGISLATURE WATCH
The League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County will present: “Florida Legislature Watch: What’s Going On?” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, at Mi Rinconcito Mexicano Restaurant, 1961 SW Eighth St.
Special guest will be the Honorable Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest.
Guests can order dinner off the menu. If you go, please RSVP to: email@example.com
‘OUTSIDE THE BOX’
The next “Outside the Box” event presented by YoungArts will be a mixture of skateboarding and music, featuring alumnus Jazz pianist Jason Moran at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, 2100 Biscayne Blvd.
According to Gail Epstein, director of Foundation and Government Relations for YoungArts, at the event Moran (1993 Winner in Jazz) will demonstrate how skateboarding and jazz speak the same language of improvisation through different mediums.
Epstein said the YoungArts campus will be turned into a multidisciplinary of performance space with a skate park and a stage where professional skateboarders will “fine the line” through Moran and The Bandwagon’s live jazz performance.
While growing up in Houston, Moran was a skater, but his path took him down the music route, separating him somewhat from the skating community. He is now considered to being the “most provocative thinker in current jazz.”
“It’s our job to pay attention to how communities are involved in the arts and what kind of communities we can involve in the arts,” Moran said.
To reserve your space and for more information, call Epstein at 305-377-1140, ext. 1805 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email email@example.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.