Several events are slated this month throughout Denton to celebrate the accomplishments of black people past and present in honor of African-American History Month.
Among the planned events are a lecture on the relocation of the Quakertown community, hosted by the Denton County Office of History and Culture; a two-day celebration hosted by St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church; a celebration of “Freedom Fighters,” hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center; a North Central Texas College program themed “New Visions: Making Black History in Your Life and in the Lives of Others”; and programs at Borman and Rivera elementary schools.
University of North Texas graduate student Chelsea Stallings, who is writing her master’s thesis on the Quakertown community, will lead a lecture on the neighborhood’s relocation at noon Feb. 13 in the commissioner’s courtroom at the Courthouse on the Square, 110 W. Hickory St.
In the 1920s, Quakertown, which was made up of nearly 70 black families and Denton’s black business district, was uprooted and relocated to east and southeast portions of the city to make room for a city park, now the site of Quakertown Park and the Denton civic and senior centers.
“It’s hopefully going to shed some light. There has been a lot written about Quakertown ... but [Stallings] has basically gone out into the community and collected more data to tell the story from a different viewpoint,” said Peggy Riddle, director of the Denton County Office of History and Culture. “Hopefully, people will find this interesting and [it] encourages more research about Quakertown.
“It’s a part of our history we don’t want to forget and we want to keep the story alive.”
The event is free and open to the public.
The St. James A.M.E. Church will have a two-day African-American History Month celebration themed “Civil Rights in America,” on Feb. 22-23 at 1107 E. Oak St., recognizing the civil rights movement’s impact on American history.
Festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 22 and include a community health fair, speakers, skits, displays and an inventors’ exhibit. The two-day event concludes with a 3 p.m. concert Feb. 23 that will include vocalists from area churches, poetry, readings and a musical drama.
The MLK Jr. Recreation Center, 1300 Wilson St., will have a program recognizing Freedom Fighters from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 22.
The free event will include monologues about historical figures such as Nelson Mandela and Marcus Garvey, and celebrate African-Americans who’ve fought for the equal rights and freedoms of black people in America, said Denesha Factory, a recreation specialist at the center and the program coordinator.
NCTC will host a program at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the First State Bank Center for the Performing Arts on its Gainesville campus, titled “New Visions: Making Black History in Your Life and in the Lives of Others.”
The program will include music, tributes recognizing the contributions of African-Americans in America and internationally, and keynote speaker Kayla Tucker-Adams, a senior public relations director for T.D. Jakes Ministries, a motivational speaker, writer and on-air talent.
Borman Elementary School will host its annual afternoon and evening Black History Program at 1:15 and 6 p.m. Feb. 20. Both events are open to the public, said Rebecca Lloyd, the school’s assistant principal.
The program will include a fashion show, biographies of past, present and future figures, and performances from the fourth- and fifth-grade choirs, the Drum Club, the AstroTones teachers gospel choir and the district’s music therapists. Food will be served at the evening event, she said.
Lloyd said the program is an opportunity for students to learn about the contributions of African-Americans and she’s hopeful students will leave the program more appreciative of different cultures.
“We’ve been doing it for at least the past 10 years, and it has really become a tradition we do in the month of February,” she said.
Borman Elementary is at 1201 Parvin St.
The contributions of black Americans were first celebrated in 1926 as Negro History Month and was conceived by Carter G. Woodson, according to the African-American History Month website.
The week was expanded to a month in 1976.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.