By Kristin Douty
For the past three years, the Carnegie Library has not only made Black History Month a priority, but also a tradition.
This year’s planning committee for Black History Month ensured a system-wide celebration for the Carnegie Library.
Joyce Broadus, the manager of the Hill District branch and the head of the planning committee, anticipates the events because “for the first time, each department in each library will have one day dedicated to Black History Month.”
There are 28 events planned across the entire library system – all of which relate to the theme of music and the 1980s.
The celebration kicked off on Feb. 1 at noon, when every Carnegie Library played Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train.” The Hill District brought a kazoo band and a saxophonist to play the song, but each library branch was encouraged to play a unique version.
“Some libraries brought in speakers, other places had choirs, some people brought in steel pan groups and other libraries had public readings of the song,” Broadus said. “People could do whatever they wanted with the music.”
Alongside the music theme, there are also several programs devoted to cooking, like the Soul Food Cook-Off and Movie Night on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Carnegie Library in Lawrenceville. Other events celebrate African Americans in film and literature, like The Game Changers Project screening of four local filmmakers’ documentaries on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Downtown & Business location. The events are free and open to the public.
When asked why she believes Black History Month is important for the community, Broadus said that she strives to acknowledge the multifaceted cultures of Pittsburgh. In the same way that cultural diversity should be celebrated, the African American experience should also be shared.
“I think that Black History Month gives people an opportunity to look at the achievements, the wealth of knowledge and energies that have come out of the black experience and to understand a culture that other people might not have been familiar with,” Broadus said.
For more information, visit the Carnegie Library website for lists and descriptions of the 2014 Black History Month events, or call the library at 412-622-3114.