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2021 Virtual Festival Celebrates Black Lives and History [Video]




The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) announces a virtual festival scheduled to occur throughout February 2021. The programing celebrates the 95th Annual Black History theme — The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.

In partnership with 105 Voices of History, the Festival will feature music from the Black experience performed by choirs from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The performance “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by HBCU students and choirs will also be aired.

There will be eight public festival programs shown on the organization’s YouTube channel ASALHTV. On their channel, viewers can choose to have a reminder sent to them when a program begins to live stream.

Virtual Festival Free Public Events

On Monday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m. EST, there will be a formal announcement of this year’s theme and an introduction to the agency’s “Inaugural Virtual Black History Month Festival.”


The second public event occurs on Wednesday, February 3, between 5-6 p.m. Viewers will be treated to “A Celebration of African American Life and History: Trailblazer.” Mae Jemison will be presenting the festival’s Author Talk.

Jemison is the first Black woman to become an astronaut. In 1992, she was a crew member on the space shuttle Endeavour.

On Saturday, the 6th of February, from noon to 2 p.m., the festival presents: “From the Continent to the Americas: Foodways, Culture, and Traditions in the African American Family.”

Recipes submitted in January may be featured: “ASALH will review and select recipes that best reflect aspects of the theme, and the panelists will highlight the selected recipes in the panel discussion.”

The fourth festival event is a panel discussion entitled “How African American Families Have Been Portrayed in the Media,” which will occur from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, February 7.

Wednesday, February 10 at 1:30 p.m. the festival will be presenting the Inaugural ASALH Book Award. Of the 61 eligible books submitted, five jurors narrowed the list down to five finalists:

  • Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Gross, “A Black Women’s History of the United States,” Boston: Beacon Press, 2020.
  • William Darity, Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020.
  • Aston Gonzalez, “Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century,” Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020.
  • Shana Redmond, “Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson,” Durham: Duke University Press, 2020.
  • Quito Swan, “Pauulu’s Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environment Justice,” Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2020.

The next public festival event occurs on Wednesday, February 24, at 6:30 p.m. “Diving with a Purpose: Recovering and Reexamining Our Roots” is presented by a team of panelists featuring divers seeking to save Black heritage by locating and studying wreckages of slave ships and restoring artifacts.

The final public festival programs will be on Sunday, February 28; one from noon to 2 p.m. and the other at 7-8 p.m.

  • At noon, Dr. Charlene Dukes will speak on the “Black Family and Education.” Dr. Dukes recently retired from her position as president of Prince George’s Community College (PGCC), where she served 13 years. As a highly respected educator, her discussion should prove to be enlightening.
  • At 7:00, ASALH and PBS Books sponsor “A Special Conversation between Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Nubia Kai & Sundiata Cha-Jua.”

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


ASALH: ASALH Invites You to Attend the 2021 Virtual Black History Month Festival

Featured and Top Image by Allison Acosta Courtesy of teachingforchange’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Miki Jourdan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Cathy Milne-Ware is a seasoned writer and editor. Her background: Journalism for online and print newspapers, new website content from the about page to blog posts, newsletters, book reviews, and social media content. She enjoys writing Health, Entertainment, and Political news stories.

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