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Kicking off Black History Month at Henry Waldinger

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The Henry Waldinger Memorial Library held a Black History Month kickoff event on Sunday, featuring a musical performance by the Valley Stream Presbyterian Church Inspirational Choir.

The event had a dual purpose, serving to both emphasize the historical significance of the American civil rights movement of the 1960s and highlight local artists, which in this case were the choir members made up of mostly local teenage singers.

“The kids enjoyed it, and it seemed like the people enjoyed it as well,” Phil Jones, minister at the Presbyterian Church said.

Jones said that as part of the event, choir members sang songs such as “Oh Freedom” a post-Civil War song most closely associated with the civil rights movement, and read monologues such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Written in 1963, the letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to America’s racist laws of the time.

Library Director Mamie Eng said the library invited the choir as part of an ongoing program to highlight different local artistic groups.

“It went really well,” she said of the performance. “ . . . The choir did a good job!”