Hanging Tree Guitars is a traveling exhibition that showcases the work of Freeman Vines, a luthier, musician and material artist. Mr. Vines was born in Greene County, North Carolina, where his family sharecropped on plantations where they were once enslaved. For 50 years, he’s been building guitars from cast-off materials gathered from across the county – everything from an old tobacco barn, to radio parts, to the wood of a tree where a 1930 lynching took place. The exhibit was organized by the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which strives to preserve the legacy of musicians who are the creative roots of American Music. Join us for this exciting exhibition!
The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center and Black History Now 2022 presents Java & Djembes, an African percussion workshop featuring coffees and chocolates from the African continent. Participants enjoy coffees and fine chocolates from Africa while learning percussion rhythms from master musician Kamiruri Kelly of the Day Program. Price is $10 per person. Ages 17 and up please. To register, go online to www.portsmouthartcenter.com or call 757-393-8543.
This 4-person art exhibition features paintings and drawings influenced by contemporary Black Culture that traces its roots to the Caribbean, Northern Africa and beyond. Featured artists are Anthony Burks, Sr., from Florida; Portsmouth native and now Florida resident Ramel Jasir; Arthur Rogers, Jr., from Charlotte, North Carolina; and Clayton Singleton, from Norfolk, Virginia.
The Portsmouth History Museums and Black History Now present Dr. Linda Upham-Bornstein’s presentation Engineer Loammi Baldwin, Urban Slavery, and the Construction of Dry Dock #1 at Gosport Shipyard. When Dry Dock 1 at today’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard was built in the 1830s, the labor necessary to complete it included enslaved stonecutters who were paid for their expertise. Hiring out skilled slaves caused controversy, but not for the reasons you might think. Discover more about this fascinating piece of Shipyard history when Dr. Upham-Bornstein, Teaching Lecturer in History at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH presents her research, first published in the Journal of Labor in 2007. Free event.
About the photo: A “c.1920 painting depicting the U.S.S. Delaware, the first ship to enter the Stone Dock, a.k.a., today’s Dry Dock #1 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Image courtesy of the Naval Historical Center.”
The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center and Black History Now present the Tuskegee Airmen: The First Top Guns. In May of 1949, the U.S. Military was still segregated. The U.S. Air Force held the first Gunnery Meet in Las Vegas, NV, where five “fighter groups” sent their best pilots and crews to compete, including the all African American 332nd Tuskegee Airmen fighter group. Come hear the details of this little known and fascinating story presented by Howard and Richard Baugh, two sons of decorated WWII fighter pilot, Lt. Col. Howard Lee Baugh. Free event.
The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center along with Black History Now is proud to present University of Virginia Professor Dr. Louis P. Nelson to discuss The Architecture of Democracy in a Landscape of Slavery: An Illustrated Presentation. The University of Virginia is closely associated with Thomas Jefferson and is an architectural testament to the enlightened visions at that time, while also being a location where slavery was practiced. Dr. Nelson provides illustrated examples on how the uses of architecture and landscape at this national landmark might actually reflect Mr. Jefferson’s own views on slavery. Free event.
Journey back in time to the era of segregated baseball with Sam Allen, who played left field with the Negro League teams of Kansas City Monarchs, Raleigh Tigers, and Memphis Red Sox before serving in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Allen, a Norfolk resident, is a national treasure and he joins us to reminisce about his experiences with our national pastime both on and off the field. The event is free but donations are encouraged.
Photo Credit: “Sam Allen, speaking at a Negro Leagues panel in Washington, DC, in 2009. Photo courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research.”