African-American History Month Workshops & Seminars

February is African-American History Month in the United States.

This month in which we remember, study and appreciate the accomplishments and experiences of people of color has its roots in the work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a pioneering black historian whose name now graces many institutions of learning, including the Carter G. Woodson Liberal Arts Building at Grambling State University and Carter G. Woodson Middle School in New Orleans.

2007 Photograph of Carter Goodwin Woodson mural in New Orleans by Alysha H Jordan; used with permission

2007 photo of Carter Goodwin Woodson mural in New Orleans by Alysha H Jordan; used with permission

What Dr. Woodson launched in 1926 as a week that was observed only by some state Departments of Education expanded to a month-long institution now recognized by the federal government, thanks to the work of “Black United Students,” a student activist group at Kent State University.

The labor and lives of people of color built New Orleans and large portions of Louisiana. Our region’s history is black history, including the histories of Creoles of color. 

The New Orleans Public Library and the River Road African American Museum are both offering special programming during African-American History Month. The RRAAM’s events focus on genealogy, a subject of particular interest to many members the Louisiana Creole Research Association.

You can read the details below, click on the print flyers for larger versions, or visit the New Orleans Public Library’s website and the RRAAM Facebook for the latest information.


Black History Month Events at the River Road African American MuseumEvents at the River Road African American Museum, 406 St Charles St, Donaldsonville, LA.

Each event is $10 at the door, or $25 in advance to attend all three. Students may attend free. For more information call 225.206.1225 or email kathe@aamuseum.org
 
Saturday, Feb 7, 1pm:
Gaynell Brady: Finding your Louisiana Roots
Do you want to find the plantation associated with your family history? Join Gaynell Brady, RRAAM Educator, in an interactive workshop designed to guide you through the process. Participants will learn the basics of using online services including navigating the census, and using library and museum resources. This workshop is perfect for novice genealogists and students.
 
Saturday, Feb 14, 1pm:
Antoinette Harrell: We Share the Same Surname, Are We Related?
Many African-Americans want to know the origin of their family names. Is it the name of the slaveholder? Is it a name associated with a skill or trade? Was the name chosen after emancipation? Sometimes the spelling is different in the same family line. Learn how to make the connection and how to search the plantation and courthouse records. Antoinette Harrell is the host of Television Talk Show “Nurturing Our Roots & African Roots Educational Television Programs.” She specializes in African-American genealogy research in Louisiana and Mississippi.
 
Saturday, Feb 21, 1pm:
Kenya Key Rachal: An Overview of Laws that Impacted Our Destiny
Attorney Kenya Key Rachal will help participants understand the laws that impacted Louisiana’s 19th Century people of color. This seminar will provide a summary of the laws that affected the lives of the enslaved and free. This class will include a discussion about the Code Noir and legal cases involving family relationships, marriage, emancipation, property and inheritance. Attorney Rachal will also share her personal experience with DNA genealogy testing services.


Black History Month events at the New Orleans Public LibraryBlack History Month events at the New Orleans Public Library

All events are free and open to the public.
 
Saturday, Feb. 7, 12 noon
A Talk by Leona Tate
On November 14, 1960, at the age of six, Leona Tate entered into the civil rights movement when she and two other African-American girls integrated McDonogh No. 19 Elementary School. She stood at the center of a maelstrom of hate and love, terror and praise; playing a pivotal role in pursuit of building a unified New Orleans. With her foundation, she works to improve equal access and opportunities for all in our city.
At the Alvar Branch Library, 913 Alvar Street, New Orleans LA 70117 – 596-2667
 
Saturday, Feb. 21, 10am
African American Genealogy Workshops
Beginning Genealogy with Greg Osborn 10 am; Advanced Genealogy with Leonard Smith at 1 pm. Call 596-2598 to register in advance. Free. Light breakfast and afternoon break refreshments.
Auditorium of the Main Branch Library, 219 Loyola Ave, New Orleans LA 70112 – 596-2560
 
Saturday, Feb. 21, 1pm
A Talk by Leona Tate
On November 14, 1960, at the age of six, Leona Tate entered into the civil rights movement when she and two other African-American girls integrated McDonogh No. 19 Elementary School. She stood at the center of a maelstrom of hate and love, terror and praise; playing a pivotal role in pursuit of building a unified New Orleans. With her foundation, she works to improve equal access and opportunities for all in our city.
At the Norman Mayer Branch Library, 3001 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans LA 70122 – 596-3110
 
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6pm
Keith Medley Author Talk
New Orleans native Keith Weldon Medley is an author and researcher whose photographs and writings about Louisiana history and culture have appeared in numerous publications. He is the author of We as Freemen – Plessy v. Ferguson and Black Life in Old New Orleans
At the Main Branch Library, 219 Loyola Ave, New Orleans LA 70112 – 596-2560
 
Thursday, Feb. 26, 6-7pm
Maurice Ruffin, Poet
Maurice Carlos Ruffin, local writer, attorney, and member of the Melanated Writers Collective and the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance will read from his work. He’ll be accompanied by Tad Bartlett, cofounder of the Peauxdunque and Carin Chapman, a fellow UNO MFA graduate.
At the Alvar Branch Library, 913 Alvar Street, New Orleans LA 70117 – 596-2667

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