ABOVE PHOTO: National Museum of African American History and Culture (Photo: Andrei Medvedev/shutterstock)
Exhibits celebrating the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major league baseball debut and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture will be on display during the 14th annual Black History and Culture Showcase at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on April 15th and 16th.
Baseball legend Jackie Robinson is remembered for breaking baseball’s long-standing color line on April 15, 1947 and in doing so changed the face of professional sports forever. Despite a year of being subjected to vicious insults and threats, he would win the first Rookie of the Year award. In 1997, Major League Baseball proclaimed April 15th as Jackie Robinson Day and each year on that day all players wear his number 42.
The BHACS tribute will feature baseball great Bill White on Saturday at 1pm speaking about Jackie’s contribution to baseball and sports. White was also in the vanguard of the struggle against racial discrimination in Major League Baseball. He is also a baseball pioneer being the first Black person to broadcast a major league game and later was appointed the President of the National League making him the first Black person to ever serve as the President of a major sports league.
The tribute will also include: a photo essay exhibit about Jackie and another about the Negro Leagues; screening of two documentary films about Jackie and one film about the Negro Leagues; a life size cutout of Jackie in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform for attendees to take photos with this sports icon.
The BHACS will also feature the “A Place For All People” exhibit that celebrates the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. This highly informative poster exhibit is provided by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. In addition to profiling the long struggle to create the museum and its prominent location on the National Mall, this 20 poster exhibit provides a sample of the African American community’s deep and lasting contributions to the American story.
The new museum in Washington, D.C. is extremely popular, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors in just six months opening in September 2016. Everett Staten, founder of the annual event held in Philadelphia stated, “We are extremely proud that the Smithsonian has designated us as a signature event to display, “A Place For All People.” What gives our collaboration even greater meaning is that the lead architect who designed this beautiful building is Philadelphia born and raised Phil Freelon. We look forward to an ongoing relationship as a National Museum of African American History and Culture partner in future years.”
Marian Tasco and Ryan Boyer, co-chairs of the diversity and inclusion committee for the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority both stated, “We are honored to support this project for a phenomenal museum. This exhibition will allow residents of our region to feel personally engaged in our nation’s history.”
The 2017 BHACS will also feature Dr. George Fraser, chairman and CEO of FraserNet, Inc, a global networking movement for people of African descent. On Saturday at 2pm, Dr. Fraser will host the screening of the movie, “The New Black Friday” followed by a discussion about his latest initiative “Economics is the New Black Power”.
Living Legends that will be present for photos and autographs are Herb Douglas (oldest living African American Olympic medalist 1948 (Saturday only); Montford Point Marines (Saturday only); Tuskegee Airmen; Pedro Sierra (Negro Leagues); Tina Sloan-Green (first Black head coach in women’s college lacrosse history and winner of 3 national championships); and Bill White (Saturday only).
2017 exhibits include: International Black Inventions Museum, Lest We Forget Black Holocaust Slavery Museum, Paul Robeson House, Granville T. Woods, Negro League Baseball, Black Women in Sports, Tuskegee Airmen, Sankofa Archives, 3rd Regiment United States Colored Troops, Genealogy, Charles Blockson Collection, Archeology, Black Writers Museum, Black German Cultural Society, the Philadelphia Black Sports & Culture Association, African American Museum of Bucks County and the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts.
The Health Suite will provide free screenings and wellness information from qualified professionals in their respective areas of healthcare.
The author’s area features African- American writers who have published educational history and self-help themed books. This year’s group includes Michael Days, author of “Obama’s Legacy: What He Accomplished As President” (Saturday only).
Other activities include: an Introduction to Genealogy workshop; spirited panel discussions entitled “Legends of the Black Music Industry,” along with “Preserving Our Urban Swing Dance Heritage;” a theater area showing award winning documentaries; a “Black Wall Street” marketplace selling historical items like figurines, stamps, books, posters, woodcrafts, t-shirts and other collectibles; performances by the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, historical reenactors and the Clef Club Youth Jazz Ensemble.
BHACS was started in 2004 as a way to promote a greater awareness and appreciation of African – American history. The need to tell an often forgotten story was Everett’s inspiration for creating the Black History and Culture Showcase. “The history of Black people in America is one of unbelievable resilience and achievement,” stated Staten.
“However, in most instances our contributions are not included in the presentation of history. Our history remains the greatest story that has never been told. What makes the Black History and Culture Showcase so unique is that many of the exhibits have never been shown in museums. These privately owned inspiring exhibits contain priceless artifacts and rare photographs amassed by devoted Black history collectors,” he added.
The 2017 Black History and Culture Showcase will take place during Easter weekend, April 15th and 16th from 11am to 6pm both days. It will be hosted once again by the Pennsylvania Convention Center, located in Philadelphia at 13th and Arch Street, and Visit Philadelphia.
The Black History and Culture Showcase is FREE to attend. This would not be possible without the support of corporate sponsors that realize the importance of such an event. Dawna Michelle Fields, National Program Manager for Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures said, “We are proud to be an original sponsor of The Black History and Culture Showcase. We congratulate them on 14 years of educating the community about the important role African Americans have played in world history.”
Additional sponsors and media partners are Amtrak, Einstein Healthcare Network, Sunday Sun, Black Professional News, Philadelphia Tribune, Rolling Out, Heart & Soul, SCOOP USA, Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com, Anointed News Journal, South Jersey Journal, McGlawn Insurance, Leysath Security, October Gallery, 3rd Floor Media and the National Museum of African American History and Culture Partners.
The Black History and Culture Showcase is an initiative of the Proud African- American Foundation, an organization dedicated to producing community events and activities that provide positive portrayals of African- American people. It is produced by Everett & Associates, Inc. For detailed information, including the schedule for activities visit www.blackhistoryshowcase.org.