Hickory – February is Black History Month, which is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and is a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

In celebration of this month, there are numerous events organized by the City for all people of all ages to enjoy and pay tribute to the African American heritage and culture.

Hickory Parks and Recreation Department
Join Ridgeview Recreation Center in celebration of Black History Month at the 5th Annual Creative Xpressions Showcase! This event will be held on Saturday, February 17, starting at 3:00 p.m. Enjoy poetry and spoken word, singing, dance, comedy, and more. There will be free giveaways and prizes. This event is free and is open to the public. Ridgeview Recreation Center is located at 115 7th Ave SW. For more information, please contact Andrea Nixon, Senior Recreation Programmer, at (828) 324-8007.

Hickory Public Library
Music has always been an integral part of our nation’s past, from the work songs of slavery to the blues of Beale Street and the anthems of the Civil Rights Movement. Join Bright Star Theatre at the Ridgeview Branch Library on Monday, February 12, at 5 p.m. for Freedom Songs, an entertaining musical revue of Black History. This production tells the stories behind these famous and forgotten hymns, work songs, and musical styles, while sampling songs that spread across continents, genres, and centuries.

Enjoy a good trivia game and want to test your black history knowledge? The Ridgeview Branch Library will host Black History Month Jeopardy for Teens on Saturday, February 17, at 2 p.m. Students in grades 5 – 12 will compete in a Jeopardy-style team challenge. In celebration of Black History Month, February’s categories will focus on African American historical figures, events, and accomplishments.

Ridgeview Branch Library is located at 706 1st Street SW, at the corner of 1st Street and 7th Avenue SW, beside the Ridgeview Recreation Center. All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Nicole Morse at the Ridgeview Branch Library at (828) 345-6037.

From the present day to 1870, African American researchers use the same methods other genealogists use to find their ancestors. The year 1870 marked the first year that formerly enslaved people were listed by name. Prior to that time, enslaved individuals were not listed individually. However, this barrier can be overcome by using records in creative ways. Join genealogist Peggy Mainess on Thursday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library for a workshop focusing on what records are available and how to use them in researching African-American ancestors. This special session of Genealogy Thursdays is free, but space is limited and registration is required. For more information, or to register, please call (828) 304-0500, extension 7235.

The Patrick Beaver Memorial Library will also host Whelks, Glass and Garden Lights: African-American Cemeteries and Archaeology on Thursday, February 22, at 6:30 p.m. Melissa Timo, staff archaeologist of the Exploring Joara Foundation, will discuss the early history of African and African American graveyards in the American Southeast. She will also present a case study of one archaeologist’s journey to help one descendant group reclaim their history through a family burial ground.

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street NE on the SALT Block. For more information, please call (828) 304-0500 or visit the library’s website at www.hickorync.gov/library. While you are there, be sure to check out the Black History Month display in the rotunda.

For additional details on these and other upcoming events in the City of Hickory, please visit www.hickorync.gov.