The Edmond Sun

February 6, 2014

Celebrating Black History Month at the Oklahoma History Center

Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — In celebration of Black History Month, the Oklahoma History Center will offer a series of free events this month. The celebration kicks off with the unveiling of a new exhibit, “Realizing the Dream,” that documents the civil rights struggle and African American culture in Oklahoma. Events include a gallery tour, panel discussion, historical interpretations and a screening of the Emmy-nominated documentary “The Loving Story,” a film about an interracial couple convicted of a felony under anti-miscegenation laws.

The film screening and select events are made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The initiative, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle,” utilizes the power of documentary films to encourage community discussions of America’s civil rights history.

“Oklahoma has a long history with the struggle for freedom, from slavery in Indian Territory to the sit-ins at the Katz Drug Store lunch counters,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn, director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “These films can help us understand how Oklahomans contributed to and were affected by these stories.”

Events include a guided tour and discussion of the new museum exhibit, “Realizing the Dream,” Saturday, Feb. 15 from 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and “Arguing for Equality: A Panel Discussion on Oklahoma, the Supreme Court, and Civil Rights,” Thursday, Feb. 20 from 7–9 p.m.

The last event in the series, “Sojourner Truth, Live!,” features a historical interpreter portraying Sojourner Truth. Born a slave, Truth was a preacher, suffragist, abolitionist, and more. With an emphasis on her most famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman,” the program will occur Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and again Feb. 28 at 2:30 p.m. All the events are free and open to the public but registration is required for “Sojourner Truth, Live!” and the gallery tour. To register, call 405-522-3602.

The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, with a mission to collect, preserve, and interpret the complete history of Oklahoma for everyone.

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of American history. Programs include publications, teacher seminars, a national Affiliate School Program, traveling exhibitions and online materials for teachers, students and the general public.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, museum exhibitions and programs in libraries and other community places.