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Celebrate Black History Month at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum

Documentary screenings; children’s programs, and museum open house during the month of February

2/6/2015, 6:55 a.m.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum presents thought-provoking events celebrating Black History Month spanning the Civil War and Antebellum periods through ...
Dr. Karsonya Whitehead’s Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis uncovers the story of a woman in Philadelphia’s vibrant free black community through the prism of identity, race, and class. Dr. Whitehead is assistant professor of Communication, and African and African American Studies in the Department of Communication at Loyola University Maryland.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum presents thought-provoking events celebrating Black History Month spanning the Civil War and Antebellum periods through the Civil Rights Movement, to the present day. The capstone program is a special discussion of two Civil War-era diaries by free African Americans on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 1 p.m. As diaries by African Americans from the Antebellum and Civil War periods are extremely rare, visitors will have a unique chance to hear about the everyday life of free African Americans in the Mid-Atlantic region during that time. All events to be held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum located at 830 E. Pratt Street in Baltimore City.

"There are few primary sources written by black women during this time in history... Davis's diary...is...extraordinary simply because it has survived to be included in this very small class of resources." — The University of South Carolina Press on Notes from a Colored Girl

Freedom’s Diaries: Diaries of Free African Americans from the Antebellum and Civil War Era Saturday, February 7th at 1 p.m.

Dr. Karsonya Whitehead

(Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Karsonya Whitehead

“Since there are few primary sources written by black women during this time in history, Davis's diary...is rendered extraordinary simply because it has survived to be included in this very small class of resources,” writes publisher University of South Carolina press about Dr. Karsonya Whitehead’s Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis (published May 2014). The book uncovers the story of a woman in Philadelphia’s vibrant free black community through the prism of identity, race, and class. Dr. Whitehead is assistant professor of Communication, and African and African American Studies in the Department of Communication at Loyola University Maryland.

Henry Louis Gates writes, “'Today has been a memorable day. I thank God I have been here to see it.' So begins the pocket diaries of free black woman Emilie Davis of Philadelphia on the day of Emancipation at the midpoint of the Civil War. Her words also capture my feelings in seeing Davis's diaries published under the expert eye of Karsonya Wise Whitehead, whose scholarly annotations not only set the scene but reveal how this 'everyday' domestic-dressmaker's decision to record her thoughts at the critical hours of the African American journey was itself an emancipatory act.”

In addition, Dr. Myra Y. Armstead, Professor of History and Director of Africana Studies at Bard College, discusses Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America (published February 2012), which traces the life of an escaped slave from Maryland who became a master gardener and kept a diary for over three decades. Booklist;calls Freedom’s Gardener a “meticulously sourced and carefully reasoned portrait.”

Programming For and By Youth

The Griot’s Eye Youth Film and Culture Festival on Saturday, February 14th

Youth present their works in film, theater, music, dance, and poetry on Saturday, February 14 at 12pm. The Griot’s Eye is an arts-based youth leadership and community-development program that equips urban youth with technical and cultural skills to produce compelling social media programs that address relevant issues in their lives. Special admission $5.