january, 2020

18janAll Day28febBlack History Now 2020Black History Now 2020

Event Details

Black History Now 2020: Celebrating Today’s Change Makers

In our fifth season, the Portsmouth Museums and the Portsmouth Public Libraries will commemorate African-American heritage with our Saturday series of cultural dance, music, plays, military tributes and more as we celebrate Black History from West Africa all the way to today’s change makers.

The 2020 series schedule of events include:

Sat., Jan. 18th 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “When I Grow Up…”  Career Day  Children’s Museum of Virginia

Children can meet NASCAR pit crew members, celebrity hair stylist, music producers and other African-Americans who are successful in a variety of professional arenas while parents learn to encourage their children to “think outside of the box” when selecting a career path. Target audience: Families, all ages


Sat., Jan 25th, 2:00 p.m. “Come Freedom Come”               Portsmouth Main Library

Celebrated storyteller and actor from film and stage, Valerie Davis, captures the physical, historical, and spiritual essence of this former enslaved woman, Martha Ann Fields from the Nutshell Plantation in Hanover County. This story of freedom and empowerment is suitable for multi-generational audiences and includes a Q&A with the character Martha Ann Fields.

Sat., Feb. 1st      12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. “Women on the Warfront: African-American Women on the Battlefields of History”                    Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center

Taniki Richards of Just to Inspire will take visitors on a video and photographic journey     through history as she explores the roles African and African-American women played in history’s greatest military conflicts, including her own experiences as an officer in the  U.S. Marines Corps during the Iraqi War.

Sat., Feb. 8th 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. “Let My People Go: Moses Grandy’s Financial Fight for Freedom”              Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center

Eric Sheperd of Diversity Restoration Solutions will take visitors on a video and photographic journey from West Africa to the Dismal Swamp Canal to tell the story of how his ancestor, Moses Grandy, used industry and thrift to purchase his freedom from slavery in the early 1800s.

Sat., Feb. 8th 1:00 p.m. “Exploring Mali: A Young Person’s Guide to Ancient Civilization”                                                               Cradock Branch Library

Author Linda Goss helps young readers discover the history and culture of Ancient Mali as she leads a discussion of her book that includes the story of Sundjata, the boy who became king of Mali. Ages 8 and up

Wed., Feb. 12th 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.                   Black History Expo           Churchland Branch Library

Join together with your community in honoring African-American history. Hear from guest speaker Inez Randolph discussing the history of Grove Baptist Church, listen to local musical talent, and see breathtaking display of local artisans’ handiwork at this celebratory event recognizing African-American history in Portsmouth.

 Sat., Feb. 15th 10:30 a.m. Neighborhood Black History Tour & Costume Parade High & Green Streets

Wear your favorite costume representing an African-American hero, past, present, regional, national, or international. Walk or ride a shuttle bus to see significant African-American sites in Portsmouth, concluding at the Portsmouth Neighborhood Facility Recreation Center at 900 Elm Ave. To register contact Joyce White Tasby at 202-812-2804.  Registration fees are $10.00 for an individual and $50.00 for 10 or more.  The line-up begins at 10:30 a.m. at High and Green Streets. Target audience: Families, all ages

Fri., Feb. 21st  7:30 p.m. Portsmouth Community Concerts, Inc.  Churchland High School Auditorium

American operatic tenor Orson Van Gay II will bring audiences to their feet with his charisma and command of the stage.  A native of Southern California, Orson is no stranger to the Hampton Roads community, as he honed his vocal talents as a Vocal Performance major at Old Dominion University.  For ticket and other information visit the PCCI website: www.portsmouthcommunityconcerts.com or call (757)686-5447.

Sat., Feb. 22nd    11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.              “Java & Djembes” Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center

Enjoy coffee from different regions of Africa while learning traditional West African percussion rhythms from master musician Kamiruri Kelly, of the DAY Program.  Hailed as the “Maestro”, Mr. Kelly is one of the few American percussionists to be declared a member of acclaimed musician Mammady Keita’s family of percussionists in Guinea, West Africa.  Price:  $10 per person.  Intended Audience:  Ages 17 & Up

Follow the link below to register for this workshop:


Workshop participants are eligible to perform in a 2:00 p.m. public performance at the Churchland Branch Library as workshop participants showcase what they learned.

Sat., Feb. 29th, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  “Jammin’ at the Juke Joint”  Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center

Local band leader Robert Giles of God’s Finest Gospel, Blues and Jazz Band will take listeners on a narrative musical journey through time to follow the gospel origins of blues, jazz, rock’n’roll, soul, R&B and funk music all the way to today’s hip-hop.


Temporary Display:

Portraits of Service: Portsmouth African-Americans in the Military, 1946 – 1967
January 17 – February 29, 2020

Photographs from the collection of the Portsmouth Public Library. Portsmouth City Hall Lobby, 801 Crawford St.

After World War II, the “Colored Notes” column of the Portsmouth Star newspaper described happenings in the African-American community. The column included frequent photographs of local residents in military service. View this collection of military portraits and original captions in this temporary display for Black History Month 2020.


Temporary display:

Portsmouth Institutions: Grove Baptist Church at 180
January 17 – February 28

Main Branch of the Portsmouth Public Library, 601 Court St.

Grove Baptist Church has contributed to Portsmouth’s spiritual, social, and community life since its establishment in 1840. Learn more about this historic congregation, founded as an African-American offshoot of a 19th century white church. Vintage images and articles will highlight the ways in which this long-standing church has truly become a Portsmouth Institution.


The Beazley Planetarium at the Children’s Museum of Virginia:

“Follow the Drinking Gourd”

Analyze the celestial clues hidden within the “Follow the Drinking Gourd” folk song first published in 1928. This song reportedly used by the Underground Railroad offered hope to a people in an escape to freedom. Running time: 30 minutes Target audience: age 8 & up, Families

Show times for the month of February

Tuesday – Friday   1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.

Saturday 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.

Sunday  12:00 p.m.




January 18 (Saturday) - February 28 (Friday)