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Celebrating Black History Month at the Brooklyn Public Library & Beyond



Black History Month kicked off this weekend, and the next few weeks bring some exciting, entertaining, and educational events in celebration. Check out what the Central Library has in store, plus a few bonus events.

Words are Freedom
Sundays throughout the month, Dweck Center at the Central Branch, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

February 10: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
A discussion of Douglass’s narrative, the most famous written account of an enslaved American, is hosted by Sterling L. Bland, Jr, Chair of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University and author of Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation.
February 17: Nightjohn
The film by noted independent filmmaker Charles Burnett follows Sarny, a 12-year-old slave girl, who faces a relatively hopeless life until the arrival of a runaway slave names Nightjohn who secretly begins to teach her to read and write.
February 24: Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
This autobiography, written in 1861, details Jacobs’ harrowing life as a slave and her experience as a fugitive attempting to secure her children’s freedom. Hosted by Sterling Bland, Jr.

Film and Discussion: The Prep School Negro
Saturday, February 16, Dweck Center, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Filmmaker André Robert Lee’s documentary film looks at the hurdles faced by prep school students of color, pulling from his own experience leaving Philadelphia ghettos for an “elite education.” After the screening, Lee will host a discussion on accelerated desegregation and racial naïveté with filmmaker André Robert Lee.

This Week in Blackness: How To Be Black
Wednesday, February 20, Dweck Center, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Enjoy a night of comedy with humorists Baratunde Thurston (author of How To Be Black, which traces his story from growing up with a single mother in Washington, DC, to his years at Sidwell Friends School and Harvard) and Elon James White (creator of the award-winning web series “This Week in Blackness,” a satirical look at race, politics, and pop-culture in a so-called “post-racial” America).


A Pryor Engagement at BAM
February 8-21, Peter Jay Sharp Building (30 Lafayette Avenue), $13

A celebration of the work of Richard Pryor, showcasing his concert films and legendary pairings with Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, Gene Wilder, and David Lynch. The ongoing event will screen Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, Car Wash, Uptown Saturday Night, Live on the Sunset Strip, Blue Collar, Wattstax, Lady Sings the Blues, Stir Crazy, and more. Special guests include critics Armond White, Nelson George, and Hilton Als.

Javon Jackson Quartet at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
Saturday, February 16, 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., $25 seated or $15 standing

Led by famed tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, the quartet is joined by legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter for an evening of jazz.

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