Local lifestyle columnists

You don’t have to be black to appreciate Black History Month

By From page B10 | February 16, 2013

I’m white and Jewish, but Black History Month is special to me.

Partly it was being loved and raised in New Orleans by a black woman who was my second mom. Talking with a high school girl at the library one day, I told her about having two moms; one white and one black. She looked at me and asked, “Wow, was your mom lesbian?” I told her “no” and tried to explain that I grew up in a different world. That world involved me with voter registration drives and poll-watching in Mississippi when I was 16. My point is, you don’t need to be black to celebrate Black History Month.

Your Solano County Library celebrates Black History Month with diverse programs and events all over our county. At each of the eight branches, you will find quilts on display, works of love created by the Quilting Sisters, a local group of friends, whose fiber art falls into all sorts of storytelling traditions: personal, biblical, historical and cultural. They donate their quilts to places that serve people in need. The Sisters meet every month at the home of a 94-year-old member. Leave your name and number at any library if you’d like to learn more about them. They are teaching youngsters how to make a quilt square at Suisun City Library from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.

While you’re at the library, check out our quilting books. The quilts of Gee’s Bend, Ala., have been featured at major museums.

Quilt historian and African-American folklorist Patricia Turner from UCLA is speaking at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at Fairfield Civic Center Library. Learning about quilts, she says, is a fabulous way to appreciate a great deal about African-American history, culture, family and more. Turner is a wonderful storytelling historian and quilters from around the Bay Area will be there, so don’t miss this very special event.

Also at Fairfield Civic Center Library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sharon McGriff-Payne is speaking about her new book, “African-Americans in Vallejo.” This follows her book on African-Americans in Solano, Napa and Sonoma counties. And you can borrow both of her books from your library.

Award-winning international storyteller Diane Ferlatte draws inspiration from her Louisiana roots for some of the tales she tells to audiences of all ages. Her stories have carried her around the world and she promises to take you places you never expected. Arrive early at Fairfield Library for a good seat at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 27. But if you can’t make it, visit her website for other performances. Or check out her titles from the library; a book, a CD and a DVD.

Suisun City Library has something special going on for Suisun Elementary School students. The library partnered with Dr. Karen McCord, of Solano Community College, and her college students to present Black History assemblies for the elementary students. This is our second time to do this.

If you want to have your own Black History Month celebration, speak with a reference librarian about our collection of children’s books, biographies, art books and histories, music CDs and DVDs.

We’re here to serve you.

Jim Silverman is a librarian at the Suisun City Library.

Jim Silverman


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