- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2008

Communities across the region will begin celebrating Black History Month today with a variety of events including concerts, educational seminars, radio programs and even a 190th birthday party for Frederick Douglass at a museum.

A folk music event tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Gaithersburg library is among the more than 20 events the Montgomery County public library system will host.

The event “bundles ancient songs from Africa, freedom songs that Harriet Tubman would have known, work songs and blues,” said Carol Legaretta, a library system spokeswoman.

About a dozen of the county’s libraries will host book discussions, storytellers and films.

“We have programs for families, little ones, teens, adults,” Miss Legaretta said. “There’s something for everybody.”

On Feb. 14, elementary students from Our Lady of Victory School, in the District, will sit on the floors of Frederick Douglass’ first D.C. home, on A Street Northeast, and watch a Douglass re-enactor. The students also will don life-size Douglass masks to celebrate the 190th birthday of the abolitionist, who died in 1895.

Howard University is hosting a traveling exhibit, “From Freedom’s Shadow: African Americans and the United States Capitol,” in the university’s Blackburn Center through Feb. 14.

The exhibit tells the story of “the contributions that African enslaved individuals had on the making and building of the Capitol of the U.S.,” said Roberta McLeod, director of the center. The exhibit is open daily to the public.

On Feb. 15, the National Archives will present a new monument honoring Benjamin Banneker, an black mathematician and publisher. The event will be held in the Archive building’s William G. McGowan Theater at 7 p.m.

The Archives also will show the Public Broadcasting Service’s series “Eyes on the Prize,” at noon in the same theater on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Miriam Kleiman, spokeswoman for the Archives, said nearly all of the Black History Month events are free, unless noted at www.archives.gov/.

XM Satellite Radio subscribers can listen each day this month for programs celebrating the contributions of blacks to music, politics, sports and culture.

This month, “we show the breadth and depth of African-American music — where we’ve been and where we’re going,” said Dion Summers, a senior program director.

“What you’ll find is not just music-based programming,” said Mr. Summers, “but also programming to make you think, and to give you a perspective that you might not have had before.”

A listing of XM’s Black History Month programs is available at www.xmradio.com/bhm.

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