With Black History Month in full swing, groups and organizations around town are hosting events to honor the contributions of black leaders throughout history.
Temple Emanu-El of Long Beach will host its third annual Gospel Shabbat in honor of national Black History Month on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The event, which grows every year, is designed to bring together the black, Jewish and Long Beach community as a whole, said Rabbi Jack Zanerhaft, the spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El, located at 455 Neptune Blvd. The Shabbat service will feature Councilwoman Anissa Moore as the guest speaker.
“With one another, all segments of the city celebrate the spiritual side of the unique black American experience,” Zanerhaft said. “Incorporating the gospel sounds of the Nehemiah Project into a Sabbath service means similarities, not differences, are highlighted.”
A dessert reception will follow the service, which is open to everyone and free to attend. Zanerhaft said Gospel Shabbat is fast becoming one of Long Beach’s favorite moments to champion diversity and inclusivity.
Additionally, the Long Beach Public Library, located at 111 W. Park Ave., will present a host of events to honor Black History Month, including a program on Feb. 13 called “Black History Month Read-in” led by Moore. Celebrate the contributions of the black community with literature and song. The open-mic event will feature residents performing poetry, short fiction readings, acoustic music and monologues from black writers, poets and authors.
On Feb. 16, a musical presentation will take the audience through a percussion journey. The library will host a program called “From Africa to the Americas,” where Victor Marshall will coordinate a one-hour performance, lecture and demonstration of the historical migration of African percussion to the diaspora.
Additionally, the Christian Light Missionary Baptist Church will present its annual Black History Month concert on Feb. 17 at the library under the direction of Minister of Music Deacon Cecil Garrett. The Generation Praise Dancers will join for the performance.
On Feb. 23, library-goers can attend a performance by the Sons of Gospel, and on Feb. 24, a show by the Sugar and Spice Band. On Feb. 26, take time to celebrate one of the most influential black women thinkers of modern time, Michelle Obama, by joining Book Talk on Michelle Obama’s new book “Becoming.”
Join Moore at the library again on Feb. 26 for a program called “Women in Business.” The event is part of a monthly series designed for women’s empowerment. Guest presenters will focus on emotional, physical, financial and spiritual health.
For more information, visit www.longbeachlibrary.org or call (516) 432-7201.
The MLK Center will host programs and events throughout the month, as well, said board chairman James Hodge, adding that the Long Beach High School African American Club will host a program on Feb. 15. For more information, visit http://www.lbmlk.org/.