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January 25, 2024


Andrea Castillo

(301) 699-3500 x6158

 Library Celebrates Arts and Culture During Black History Month

Largo, Maryland – The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is hosting more than 60 programs to celebrate Black History Month in February 2024, with many that celebrate arts and culture, including a panel of local Black women fiction writers featuring Eden Appiah-Kubi, Courtney Duke Foster, Shameka Erby, and Nikki Payne; a multi-day symposium about the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s; a demonstration of traditional West African instruments; a virtual discussion with Stanford University gymnast and Artistic Gymnastics World Championships athlete Khoi Young; storytelling events for children, and more.

“While PGCMLS takes pride in celebrating many cultures all year round, we are especially excited to feature a variety of programs for Black History Month,” said Pam Hamlin, PGCMLS’ family literacy specialist. “There will be exciting and informative programs for all ages, including storytimes and storytelling, music, poetry, discussions, films, art, and authors. Please celebrate with us!” 

Programs for children 

Aisha Rice Presents: “My Kinky, Coily Hair”

DC-area based children’s author Aisha Rice explores themes of loving yourself, race, and more in her book, “My Kinky, Coily Hair,” on Monday, February 5 at 4:30 pm at the Hillcrest Heights Branch Library. The event is targeted toward children ages 4-9.

Beat the Drum for Black Storytelling with Sista’ Martha 

Griot Sista’ Martha explores Black history by combining stories, songs, and poems about Africa, the Caribbean, and Black America through characters such as Anansi, Alex Haley, and Sojourner Truth. Watch the performance targeted toward elementary-age children on Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm at the Glenarden Branch Library, Thursday, February 22 at 4:30 pm at the Beltsville Branch Library, or Thursday, February 29 at 4:30 pm at Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, MD 20712.

African Storytelling Reimagined with Ada-Ari! 

Children's author Ada-Ari celebrates African folklore through book readings, African dance, and hands-on activities with authentic artifacts at the Laurel Branch Library on Wednesday, February 21 at 5:30 pm and at the Upper Marlboro Branch Library on Saturday, February 24 at 1 pm. 

Programs for teens and adults

The Blues: Lyrics of a Life Well-Lived - Discussion and Musical Presentation 

Jael “Ya Ya” Patterson and Miles Spicer lead a discussion and musical presentation exploring songwriting, the stories and social issues behind blues songs, and more at the Greenbelt Branch Library on Thursday, February 15 at 4:30 pm. 

Empowering the Game: Khoi Young 

Prince George’s County native Khoi Young shares his experiences as a student gymnast at Stanford University and a member of Team USA at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in a virtual session on Thursday, February 6 at 7 pm. 

Programs for adults

Panel Discussion: Celebrating Black Women’s Voices in Fiction

On Saturday, February 3 at 2 pm, join local authors Eden Appiah-Kubi, Courtney Duke Foster, Shameka Erby, and Nikki Payne at the South Bowie Branch Library in “Celebrating Black Women’s Voices in Fiction” as they discuss the people and experiences that have shaped their work.

Redeeming the Declaration: A Moral Compass for A More Perfect Union

Asa Gordon of the African American Civil War Museum leads “Redeeming the Declaration: A Moral Compass for A More Perfect Union,” a discussion about the Declaration of Independence and how it shaped U.S. history, especially during the Revolutionary War and Civil War at the Hyattsville Branch Library on Tuesday, February 6 at 6 pm.

Remembering the Black Arts Movement Symposium series

The Remembering the Black Arts Movement Symposium series, presented by the Hurston/Wright Foundation, is a symposium hosted over several days and at multiple locations that provides an opportunity to explore Black artists, writers, musicians, and other people in the midst of civil rights activism in the 1960s and 1970s through events with panels, readings, and discussions. 

The Poetry of Amiri Baraka  - Poetry and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 pm at Oxon Hill Branch Library

Ntozake Shange - Panel Discussion 
Wednesday, February 7 at 6:30 pm at Bowie Branch Library 

The Power of Poetry: Readings by PG County Residents 
Tuesday, February 13 at 6:30 pm at Largo-Kettering Branch Library

The Women of the Black Arts Movement - Panel Discussion 
Tuesday, February 20 at 6:30 pm at New Carrollton Branch Library

The Poetry and Music of Gil Scott-Heron: A Conversation featuring Liberated Muse Arts Group 
Wednesday, February 21 at 6:30 pm at Bowie Branch Library 

Rock Banned Book Club: “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison

PGCMLS and the Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights (PGCOHR) host February 2024’s meeting to discuss Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” a story about 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove, a Black girl living in Morrison’s hometown of Lorain, Ohio, in 1941, who wants to have blue eyes to be more like her blonde, blue-eyed peers. Join the event at Spauldings Branch Library on Wednesday, February 14 at 6:30 pm. 

Programs for all ages

The Beauty of African Rhythm: An Introduction to Traditional West African Instruments

See, hear, and learn about Manding instruments from West Africa during a performance, demonstration, and discussion with Uasuf Gueye about history and culture through the region. The all-ages event takes place on Tuesday, February 6 at 6 pm at the South Bowie Branch Library, on Wednesday, February 7 at 6 pm at the Fairmount Heights Branch Library, and on Tuesday, February 20 at 6 pm at the Accokeek Branch Library

Uhuru Quilters Guild Exhibit 

African-American quilters in the area will display a range of colorful, one-of-a-kind quilts to honor the history and traditions of the community at the Spauldings Branch Library on Saturday, February 10 from 11 am-2 pm. 

The Legacy of Harriet Tubman: A One-Woman Performance 

Take a glimpse into the life of Maryland native and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman in a one-woman show performed by Cortenia Smith at the Hyattsville Branch Library on Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm. 

REVIVAL: Music of the Third Arts Movement in America 

Tenor Wayne Jennings and other performers showcase Black artists from the Middle Passage to modern times in a narrated concert centered on American musical history at the Oxon Hill Branch Library on Saturday, February 17 from 2-4:30 pm. 

Additional resources 

Explore PGCMLS’ Black Heritage Hub for a full list of programs hosted during Black History Month, as well as videos, book recommendations, online resources, and more, including access to databases such as The American Mosaic: The African American Experience through ABC-CLIO for historical and cultural information and a list of African American nonfiction ebook titles available to PGCMLS cardholders. Customers are also invited to visit the Sojourner Truth Room at the Oxon Hill Branch Library.

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About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 967,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve book lovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. PGCMLS is the recipient of the 2021 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award for Workforce and Economic Development. Learn more at