In recognition of Black History Month in February, Fort Bend County Libraries will have a variety of special online programs celebrating the history and cultural contributions of African-Americans in the United States. These virtual events will be online; they will NOT be in person.
- “Before 1619: Why Black History Month Matters” — Monday, February 1 (pre-recorded video)
With the help of genetic testing and historical evidence, many African Americans are finding that they are modern descendants of the Igbo people from the African continent. During the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade of the 1600s, a large number of Igbo people were abducted and forced into slavery. This presentation will focus on the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo people before 1619. Learn about the culture, religion, food, and traditions of the Igbo people, who were the ancestors of many African-Americans today.
· “A Tour of African-American Cemeteries in Fort Bend County” — Monday, February 8 (pre-recorded video)
Genealogy and Local History department manager Daniel Sample will highlight some of the African-American cemeteries in the county, including the recently discovered burial ground in Sugar Land. Learn about the history of the cemeteries, notable people buried there, and more.
· “Black History Month Digital Scavenger Hunt” — Thursday, February 11 (all day)
History sleuths must use their knowledge of African-American history and their research skills to complete this scavenger hunt. This online activity can be accessed through FBCL’s website on the day of the event; registration is not required.
- “Photography Basics: What Makes This Photograph Great” – Monday, February 15 (pre-recorded video)
Learn how to critique amazing photographs by master photographers to gain a better understanding of the elements that make a photo great. This episode will focus on works by prominent African-American photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks.
· “The Prisoner-Lease System in Texas” — Thursday, February 18, 3:00 to 4:30 pm.
This livestreamed program will take place in real time via Webex. Dr. Theresa Jach, a history professor at Houston Community College, will talk about the history of convict leasing in Texas and in other southern states between 1867 and 1912. She will also talk about the shift to state-owned prison farms and the Texas prison-farm system, with particular focus on Fort Bend County. Hear about the status of the graves found on the Fort Bend ISD property in Sugar Land. Registration is required; a link to the Webex session will be emailed to all who register.
- “ABIYOYO” – Saturday, February 20 – (pre-recorded video)
This family program is presented by Twanda’s Theatre on Wheels, in conjunction with Young Audiences of Houston. Ms. Twanda compares and contrasts African customs and traditions. She will dramatize a folktale about a boy who plays the ukulele, his dad, and a magic wand – and a hungry giant named Abiyoyo. This performance is recommended for families with children of all ages.
· “Family-History Research: The Freedman’s Bureau Records” — Monday, February 22 (pre-recorded video)
Researching African-American family histories may present special challenges for the genealogical researcher. Carol Beauchamp, from FBCL’s Genealogy and Local History department, will talk about Heritage Quest’s “Freedman’s Bank Records” database, which contains records from 1865-1871. This resource is an index to Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company’s registers of signatures of depositors, and it contains information such as the names of depositors, names of employers and plantations, names of family members, place of birth, and even height and complexion.
- The Skin I’m In: A Book Club Featuring Authors of Color — Saturday, February 27, 11:00 am-12:00 noon.
This livestreamed book-club meeting will take place in real time via Webex. The book to be discussed is Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, written by Trevor Noah. This new book club will meet on the fourth Saturday of every month. Registration is required; a link to the Webex session will be emailed to all who register.
These online events are free and open to the public. Registration is required for the livestreamed Webex programs only; a link to the Webex meeting will be emailed to all who register. To view the programs or to register online at the library’s website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us), click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the programs.
For more information, call FBCL’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.