Local Libraries Honor Black History Month with Virtual Events

February is Black History Month, and Marin County’s many libraries are using this time to create awareness of and celebrate the Black experience in the United States with several online events.

With its own hundred-year history, the Sausalito Public Library looks back on some local history this week. The library hosts a special online presentation, “The Salt and Pepper Talks: School Desegregation in Sausalito in the 1960s.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, doctoral student David Duncan of the University of California, Santa Cruz shares his research into a voluntary desegregation of the Sausalito–Marin City schools that began in 1965. The evening presentation will include recordings of interviews with locals who were students during that time and clips from a 1970 BBC television program about the integration experience. The virtual talk is free and can be accessed though an RSVP at sausalitolibrary.org.

Throughout February, the Marin County Free Library–which consists of a network of 10 library branches throughout the county–is hosting a slew of virtual events that delve into books, films, art, public discussions, and other programming pertaining to Black History Month.

The Marin County Free Library created its monthlong programming, “Food for the Soul: Celebrate Black History at MCFL,” in conjunction with County of Marin African American Employees Association (COMAEA).

“Black history is reflected in every aspect of our society and culture,” says Chantel Walker, Marin County Free Library Assistant Director and one of COMAEA’s leaders. “There exists simultaneously great pain, great joy, and every feeling in between. By sharing stories, we grow together.”

Upcoming “Food for the Soul” events includes the virtual COMAEA Lunch Conversation series. This week, the series presents a discussion on civil rights and advocacy. Play Marin Founder and CEO, Paul Austin–a longtime Marin City resident and youth advocate–leads the discussion on Thursday, Feb. 18, at noon.

Other “Food for the Soul” events include a free screening of Aretha Franklin’s concert film, Amazing Grace, on Friday, Feb. 19, at 7pm.

Released in 2018, Amazing Grace features Franklin recording her 1972 live album of the same name. That album heralded the Queen of Soul’s triumphant return to her gospel roots, and the film is an uplifting and joyous experience itself.

This weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 20, “Food for the Soul” presents a special children’s program led by musician and dancer Amber Hines. The morning event, “Embody Rhythm,” will invite kids of all ages to find their groove and strengthen their connection to themselves and others through movement.

“Food For the Soul” online programming continues at Marin County Free Library through the end of the month. Other events include another COMAEA Lunch Conversation on Feb. 24 that features a virtual interactive activity on Black identity; a virtual talk on creating socially conscious art work with with mixed-media artist Orin Carpenter on Feb. 24 at 7pm; and a cross-generational panel discussion about living while Black in Marin on Feb. 25 at 7pm. All of these events are open for registration now at marinlibrary.org.

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Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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