Events mark Black History Month

January 28, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

RANSON, W.Va. - Jefferson County residents will mark Black History Month with a wide range of programs, from soul food dinners to an actor portraying historical black figures.

"Even though it's black history, we are trying to have something for people of all races," said Gladys Davenport, spokeswoman for the King's Apostle Multicultural Group.

The Ranson group will hold a festival on Saturday to bring people together for a day of soul food, music and speeches, she said.


Last year was the first for the event held at the church at the end of West Third Avenue. About 300 people attended last year's event.

There has been more emphasis placed on inviting white and black speakers this year to help draw more people to the festivities, she said.

Davenport said the idea is to provide a "clean, wholesome outlet" for people of various races to get together "so we wanted to make sure all ethnic backgrounds are involved, so the entire community is involved."

Activities start at noon and continue until 6 p.m. A wide range of speakers are expected, including Ranson Mayor David Hamill, West Virginia State Trooper Monte Williams, Jefferson County NAACP president George Rutherford and West Virginia NAACP President James A. Tolbert.

There also will be music, storytelling, dancing and a fashion show.

At Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, there will be a special Black History Month exhibit beginning on Saturday entitled "Equal Justice Under Law." The exhibit will feature three important civil rights cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The exhibit is located on the second floor of the John Brown Museum.

A series of events will be held at Shepherd College throughout the month.

On Saturday at 7 p.m, the eighth annual Gospel Music Program will be held in Reynolds Hall. The program will feature choirs and soloists from the Tri-State area, said Sandra Douglas, administrative secretary for the Office of Multicultural Student Services at Shepherd College.

On Feb. 13, actor Darryl Van Leer will play six different characters from black history in the one-man drama "From the Gallows to the Gavel." He begins with former slave Nat Turner and ends as the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Frank Center Theater.

On Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m., James Farmer, a leading civil rights activist in the 1960s when he was national director of the Congress of Racial Equality, will present the keynote address at a public convocation.

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