LIMA — Black History Month has been recognized at a national level since 1976, and this year’s observances will bring several events to the Lima area, all meant to celebrate the societal contributions of African-Americans to such areas as art, culture and politics.
James Edward Williamson, a local historian who now resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will make an appearance at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Providence Missionary Baptist Church at 125 S. McDonel St. Williamson has led several seminars on African-American history, focusing specifically on Lima. He coordinated a tribute to the late Joe Henderson, a local jazz saxophonist and directed “Hats, Handkerchiefs and Fans,” a play on the history of African-Americans in Allen County. A free will offering will be accepted at the event.
Providence Missionary Baptist Church will also host a history of black music, dance and drama, featuring guest speaker Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle, assistant professor of music, voice and voice methods at Bluffton University. A freewill offering will be accepted.
The Lima chapter of the NAACP will host a Founders Day dinner, dance and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Springbrook Garden banquet hall, 4240 N. West St. The theme for the evening will be, “Where do We Go from Here?” with Williamson also serving as guest speaker at this event. In addition, current and former Lima residents will be given special recognition, including the Rev. E.D. Broyles, Melvin Woodard, Frank Lamar and Derry Glenn. Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased at Fresh & Faded on East Kibby Street or by calling 419-516-1122.
Outside Lima, the University of Findlay will host a soul food dinner at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Davis Street Building, with student-led speech and poetry readings following at 6 p.m. After the dinner, Ohio State University professor Cynthia Selfe will give a presentation on the Literacy Narratives of Black Columbus project at 7 p.m. in the university’s Union Multipurpose Room.