Black History Month celebrations to include “Black Panther,” “Amistad,” presentation by LCCC history instructor

Laramie County Community College will be host Black History Month events on Feb. 13, 15 and 16, which will conclude with the showing of “Black Panther” at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. All of these events, which are free and open to the community and are geared for residents of all ages, will be held in the Center for Conferences and Institutes room CCI 129.

“The Piano Lesson,” a story about siblings arguing over an African-carved piano, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Selling it would result in the siblings being able to afford a farm, but it would result in the loss of the family’s memories, because the piano has carvings of an older generation of their family during their enslavement.

“Let the Fire Burn” will be shown at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 13.  This is a documentary on the lead up to the 1985 stand off between the group MOVE and the Philadelphia Police Department, which led to 11 deaths and 61 homes destroyed in the feud.

Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. This film is about the real life events in 1839 on the ship La Amistad, where slaves managed to take control of the ship off the coast of Cuba. It led to a legal battle that was settled by the Supreme Court in 1841.

Marvel’s “Black Panther” will close out the LCCC events at 9 a.m. Feb. 16. “Black Panther” has been nominated for seven Academy Awards and is the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture.

The  Campus Activities Board will also host a showing of “Amistad” at 4 p.m. and “Black Panther” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the College Community Center.  Snacks will be provided to all of those who RSVP. To RSVP, go to the Campus Involvement website under myLCCC.

In addition to the events that are going on at LCCC, the Laramie County Library will host a program that talks about African migration to the west called “The Exodusters: Black History In The West.” This program will be presented by LCCC instructor Mary Ludwig. The event will be from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Library’s Cottonwood Room.

The NAACP will host a Freedom Fund Banquet at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Red Lion Hotel. Tickets will be $35 per adult and $20 per child. To buy tickets, contact Rochelle Brooks-Lyons at (307) 637-8488.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, which is located at 917 W. 21st St., will host “Blacks in the Bible,” which talks about the Bible from an African-American perspective. Pastor Benjamin Watson will be the main speaker and admission to this event is free.

These events that are being held throughout LCCC and Cheyenne serve as a reminder as to how Black History Month plays an important role in American history. According to an article from the History Channel, Black History month started off as Negro History Week in 1926 and the idea behind this was proposed by Carter G Woodson. Negro History Week would only last for five days. It wasn’t until 1976 that the idea was expanded from a week to month.

Dr. James Peebles is a professor, administrator  and founder of Sankofa, a nonprofit institute that promotes African and Diasporic studies. Sankofa, he said,  is a Swahili word which means “to go back to the source. Sankofa is a  bird from Ghana.”

Peebles said Marvel’s “Black Panther” comic came to be in 1966 and that the name coincided with the Black Panthers of Oakland, California. “It somewhat emblazoned the name a little, so they changed it to the Black Leopard,” Peebles said. “After all of that was over, they went back to the Black Panther.”  In 1977, DC Comics came out with the first edition of Black Lightning. He is the second known African American superhero from DC comics (Green Lantern was the first), according to Black Lightning is featured in a weekly television show on the CW.

 Events such as these have given people learning opportunities that otherwise would not be accessible.

“When we  offer the African American film expo, we go back and we documented, and we show many things that have been documented in the past about African American life and as well as books,” Peebles said. “Naturally, in any situation things can always be better so what we do is we try to make things available for students in public schools and colleges.” Ludwig said that by doing these events, it teaches an important part of American History.

“First of all, a lot of Americans get their history through Hollywood, which is not always that accurate, and so this is a fun way to bring a little to what Americans think they know,” Ludwig said. “It also addresses some important issues. I’ll be addressing the Amistad, which gives you an understanding of America’s  history of slavery, and the slave trade, and how the law factored into that.”

Both she and Peebles said they hope that by doing these events, people will become more interested and hope to see more courses geared toward this important part of American history.

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