Tallahassee Commemorates Black History Month with Civil Rights Monuments, Churches and Causes for Celebration

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ — Weaving the fabric of African American history into an intricate tapestry, Tallahassee celebrates Black History Month 2006 and the area’s Black heritage by featuring a variety of multicultural events and activities showcasing the diverse spectrum of the community. Claiming a plethora of local Black heritage sites, Tallahassee is enriched with significant contributions of early African Americans including historic homes and churches, civil rights monuments and more.

Featured Events

Black History Month Festival(TM)/Kickoff Reception
Feb. 1

Opening ethnic food and entertainment event unveiling the 2006 U.S. Postal Service/Black Heritage Stamp and a FREE souvenir journal listing daily schedules of activities throughout the month and year. Main Post Office 10 a.m.

Black History Month Activities Feb.

The Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science and the Governor’s Mansion share objects created by African-American artists and host receptions and special events.

Oscar Micheaux Film Festival Feb. 3

First showing in Tallahassee in 82 years of rare movie, “Within Our Gates,” restored by the Library of Congress.

Public Forum on Civil Rights in Florida Feb. 3-4

Led by the new JWH Eason Civil Rights Museum, which honors the first African-American nominated for the Presidency of the U.S. in 1920, Dr. Reverend James Walker Hood Eason, this discussion between scholars and the community regarding the events leading up to the ’56 boycott puts the civil rights movement in Tallahassee into historical perspective.

Tallahassee Museum: Tours of Bellevue Feb. 4, 18

An 1840s plantation house and home of the great-grandniece of George Washington. Listed in the Nation Register of Historic Places and an excellent example of mid-19th century vernacular plantation “cottage” architecture. Includes Florida’s first museum exhibition examining the people and communities of Florida’s antebellum plantations.

African American Read-in Chain Feb. 5-6

National program where books and poems by and about African Americans are read across the country at the same time (always first Sunday-Monday in February). Special event at Amen-Ra’s Bookshop and Gallery, 812 South Macomb Street, Feb. 5, 4-6 p.m.

Black History Month Festival(TM)/Finale Feb. 28

Jazz gala serving as closing event of month-long celebration. 7-11 p.m. Ticket required.

Tallahassee Black Heritage Sites

Union Bank Building

Chartered in 1833, the Union Bank is the oldest bank in the state of Florida. The bank played a major financial role as a planters’ bank in the territorial period and the National Freedman’s Bank for newly emancipated slaves during Reconstruction in 1866. The building is now utilized by Florida A&M University Black Archives, Research Center and Museum.

Knott House

In 1865, Union General Edward McCook read President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from the front steps of this house that freed the slaves of North Florida. Tours of the house, built in 1843, are given every hour Wednesday- Friday from 1-4 p.m. and Saturday 10-4.

St. James C.M.E. Church

Constructed in 1899 on land purchased by black members of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. The structure is the oldest African American church in Tallahassee.

First Presbyterian Church

A classic Revival style church built in 1838, featuring Gothic doors and a north gallery, designed for slaves who sat segregated from other members prior to the Civil War.

John G. Riley House

This building is the second home to be owned by an African American in Florida. Riley, who built his home in 1890, served as principal of the first African American high school in Leon County. Tours are given to visitors Monday-Friday from 10-4.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A & M University)

The oldest African American college in Florida established in 1887. Today FAMU, the international and multi-racial university, encompasses 12 schools and colleges.

Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center & Museum

Built in 1907, the Carnegie Library Building is the oldest building on the FAMU campus. Today, the library houses a vast collection of slave irons, tribal masks and ancient art demonstrating the cultural maturity of African kingdoms.

C.K. Steele Memorial

The C.K. Steele Memorial commemorates the work of the Rev. Charles Kenzie Steele, one of Florida’s outstanding civil rights leaders. Steele, who was a friend and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., organized the Tallahassee bus boycott by setting up a car pool for black patrons. As a result of Steele’s activism, segregated seating ended in May 1956.

Tallahassee Museum: Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church

Built in 1937 by a rural black congregation, traces its founding to a slave preacher, Reverend James Page, who was ordained in the 1850s. Distinction as one of Florida’s most significant black churches led to an exhibit funded by the national Endowment for the Humanities and FAMU. The Museum sought and obtained recognition for Reverend Page as one of Florida’s Great Floridians.

Tallahassee Museum: Concord Schoolhouse

The 1890s one-room schoolhouse, established to educate children of former slaves, is a powerful reminder of the struggles and strides made in black education in Florida.

Tallahassee Museum: B.O. Wood Turpentine Commissary

The B.O. Wood turpentine commissary was once a “Company Store” where black turpentine workers purchased provisions after a long workday spent in the pine forest.

To commemorate Black History Month in Tallahassee, contact the Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 628-2866 or visit http://www.seetallahassee.com/.

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