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The seventh annual Citywide Black History Celebration in Dover will bring a slate of special events this month, with familiar favorites and new programs highlighting local culture, art, music and theater, all for free.
DOVER — The seventh annual Citywide Black History Celebration will bring a slate of special events this month, with familiar favorites and new programs highlighting local culture, art, music and theater, all for free.
The Delaware State News hosts the annual program in partnership with each of the venues and nonprofits.
“We believe it’s important for people of all ages to learn that Black history is more than just what you learn in school,” said Heather Cregar, the newspaper’s director of marketing and promotions. “There are amazing local stories that you frequently never hear about. Some are difficult to hear but still very important, and some are joyous and beautiful. We also hope that all people will come to understand that Black history is American history.”
For instance, historian Sylvester “Syl” Woolford digs into Delaware’s significant role in the Brown v. Board of Education lawsuits Feb. 21 at the Dover Public Library.
The library will add more rhythm to the medley with a drumming demo by Senegalese master drummer Pape Demba “Paco” Samb on Sunday and a history of the civil rights movement as told through interactive dance by Hip Hop Fundamentals on Feb. 16. Both programs are interactive and family-friendly.
Speaking of Black artists, Delaware’s Edward Loper Sr. is being highlighted at the Biggs Museum of American Art and at the First State Heritage Park’s John Bell House on Saturday.
And, this year, the Inner City Cultural League will bring back several performers to the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center. On Feb. 11 at 2 p.m., the Rev. Dr. John G. Moore Sr., the Sankofa Drummers and Dancers, the Sankofa String Orchestra and dance groups from other area churches will participate in “Celebrating and Engaging Black Youth Through the Churches.” This program also includes a history of Black churches in the capital city.
For adults and kids with creative streaks, there will be plenty of hands-on projects, including the “Our Story in Space” technology event with coding, engineering, cyber escape rooms, space, trivia and prizes at Sankofa (all ages); Teen Creative Camps about film and writing at the Dover Public Library; African-style mask making at the Biggs Museum; and a collage workshop to express self-identity at the Biggs, led by Melissa Sutherland Moss, whose work won the museum’s 2022 Public Voice Award.
The Biggs will also offer free admission every Friday, as well as this Saturday and Sunday, and tours that celebrate African American art and the theme of identity throughout the gallery will be given.
Additionally, the Old State House on The Green will host a Saturday series of programs presented by the Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs. The theme is “Struggles for Equality.” Each week, there will be a new presentation on topics like the African burial ground at the John Dickinson Plantation, the evolution of Black recorded music, laws, civil rights and more.
Delaware State University and the Dover Art League will also host special events.
Community partnership is the goal of the Citywide Black History Celebration, which was started in 2017 by the Delaware State News in partnership with the Rev. Moore and Reuben Salters, founder of the Inner City Cultural League.
DonDel Productions is an event partner, and major sponsors include Bayhealth, Chesapeake Utilities and Dover Federal Credit Union.
Visit here for a full schedule and information. The “Citywide Black History Celebration” program book is available here.