An exhibit focusing on the storied era of the Harlem Renaissance will be on display for the month of February in honor of Black History Month at Riverhead Free Library.
The exhibit is produced by the Riverhead-based African-American Educational and Cultural Festival.
The era known as the Harlem Renaissance began around 1910 and lasted through the mid-1930s. It was a period of development of the Harlem neighborhood in northern Manhattan as a Black cultural mecca, and a time of considered a golden age of African American culture.
“Our research shows that it started underground around 1910 but became well known between the end of World War I (1917) and the onset of the Great Depression and lead-up to World War II (the 1930s),” AAECF said in an announcement of the exhibit.
“Artists associated with the movement asserted pride in Black life and identity, a rising consciousness of inequality and discrimination, and interest in the rapidly changing modern world — many experiencing a freedom of expression through the arts for the first time,” AAECF said.
“While the Harlem Renaissance may be best known for its literary and performing arts — pioneering figures such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday and Ma Rainey may be familiar — sculptors, painters, and printmakers were key contributors to the first modern Afrocentric cultural movement and formed a Black avant-garde in the visual arts,” the announcement said.
The exhibit will be located on the first floor of the library at 330 Court Street in Riverhead.
The Riverhead Anti-Bias Task Force will host a screening of the film “Selma” on Sunday, Feb. 5 at the library, with a discussion led by AAECF Vice President and Co-Chair James “Dr. Love” Banks.
Selma is a historical drama based on the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams and Amelia Boynton. When the marchers began to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge they were confronted by a line of state troopers, who order them to turn back. When they held their ground, the troopers attacked them with clubs and tear gas. Lewis, who would go own to serve more than 17 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and rise to the leadership position of deputy house whip, was one of the people severely beaten and seriously injured.
The film debuted in November 2014 and was nominated for Best Picture and won Best Original Score at the 87th Academy Awards. It also received four Golden Globe nominations: Best Motion Picture — Drama, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Song. It won the Golden Globe Award or Best Original Song.
Riverhead High School will hold its annual Black History Month celebration in the high school auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 16 beginning at 6 p.m.
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