Brigham Young University will host several activities during February to commemorate Black History Month:
• All Month:
The Harold B. Lee Library is displaying original emancipation era documents in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections located on the first level.
This valuable collection includes a copy of the original executive order issued by President Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863 that named the 10 states where slaves were explicitly freed.
In addition to this piece, the exhibit contains authentic letters and documents regarding the leasing, purchasing and eventual freeing of slaves. The exhibit also features a series of “tracts” or pamphlets attacking the institution of slavery written by influential opinion leaders such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Harriett Beecher Stowe. One of these tracts originally belonged to the brother of John Wilkes Booth and still bears his inscription.
“This is a powerful exhibit,” said curator Russ Taylor. “The emotional and political turmoil of this era emanates from these artifacts.”
One item Taylor describes as having particular poignancy is a document detailing the purchase and emancipation of the slave “Mary,” by her own mother, “Tiller,” in 1818.
For more information, contact Russ Taylor at (801) 422-2932.
• Friday, Feb. 19
BYU’s Multicultural Student Services will be hosting a “Motown Dance” beginning at 8 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center. The dance will celebrate the history and beauty of African-American music and literature, much of which originated during the Harlem Renaissance. For more information, call (801) 422-3065.
• Saturday, Feb. 27
An African-American Children’s Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom. This event will give African-American children an opportunity to learn more about their heritage and culture. Parents are also given an occasion to network and exchange ideas and resources. There will be booths, games and activities as well as light refreshments. The event is free. For more information, call (801) 422-3065.