Chandler Library programs mark Black History Month - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler Library programs mark Black History Month

February 26th, 2019 development
Chandler Library programs mark Black History Month

by, Santan Sun News staff


Chandler Library will be presenting three special programs this month in honor of Black History Month.

“My Life with Charles Billups and Martin Luther King,” is the first. Presented at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Chandler Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware St., Keith Miller, a professor at ASU, will discuss his memoir and Billups’ daughter, Rene Billups Baker, will discuss her courageous father for the first time outside of Birmingham.

She also adds her own personal experiences with Martin Luther King.

Miller is the author of “Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Its Sources” and “Martin Luther King’s Biblical Epic: His Great, Final Speech.”

He has also published many essays on Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, and Jackie Robinson. A professor of English at Arizona State University, he has taught many courses about the language of the civil rights movement.

The impact of the civil rights movement is the subject of the next Our Stories Speaker Series 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 9, at Chandler Sunset Library, 4930 W. Ray Road.

“Looking Back at Phoenix’s Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1970” will feature historian Mary Melcher talking about how the national Civil Rights Movement manifested in the Phoenix area from 1945 to the late 1960s.

This presentation will highlight the stories of some of the African American community leaders of the movement, and how the Jewish community joined in support.

Other topics include Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to the Valley in 1964, as well as how women were instrumental in the push for civil rights locally. Explore these facets as well as learn which Chandler residents had a connection to this time in local history.

Our Stories presents diverse speakers who share unique Arizona and local history topics to a general audience. This series is produced throughout the year by the Chandler Museum, Chandler Public Library, Chandler Historical Society and Friends of the Chandler Public Library.  

In March, the Our Stories Speaker Series explores Arizona’s spring baseball training history and ties it in with a unique historic site in Mesa. Over the course of seven decades, the Buckhorn Mineral Baths and Wildlife Museum became one of Mesa’s and the state’s most recognizable and memorable Main Street icons – attracting celebrities and others to its healing waters, wildlife museum and quirky amenities.

Preservation architect Ron Peters, co-author of a recently published book about the Buckhorn, will join co-author Jay Mark for this presentation featuring the story of the establishment and its owners, as well as many never-before-seen historic photographs.

Another Black History Month program is a film, Moonlight, which will be shown at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 at the downtown library.

The 2016 Academy Award winner for best picture, “Moonlight” is a beautiful and heart-wrenching chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and young adulthood of a gay African-American man growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

It was described as “an urgent social document, a poetic drama about race and identity and a challenging and moving work of cinematic triumph. A discussion will follow with a still-to-be-determined faculty member from Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

The downtown branch also will present the film “I Am Not Your Negro” at 6 p.m. Feb. 27.

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project – a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of his manuscript. In this incendiary documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.

“I Am Not Your Negro” is a radical examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and a flood of rich archival material. The film is also a journey into black history that connects the civil rights movement with the current Black Lives Matter movement.

And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassinations of these three leaders, this is a cinematic work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for. A discussion will follow the showing of the film.

“Exploring Black History through Batik” – a program that requires registration – will be offered 2-3 p.m. Feb. 23 at Chandler Hamilton Library, 3700 S. Arizona Ave.

  Artist and teacher Deon will explore the history of the African Diaspora through this hands-on project. We will read a story then create a unique piece of art. All ages are welcome.

Half Navajo and half African-American, Deon has been teaching art for 10 years. When she is not teaching, she likes to travel to different places. Her latest travels took her to Zambia and Zimbabwe. She will be bringing authentic African art to show the group.