Black History Month offers plenty of cultural and intellectual opportunities to experience history from a local perspective and on a more global scale. Here is just a sliver of the many activities on Long Island during February.
ART : Photographer Anthony Barboza's "Souls of Black Genius: Images of Afro-Americans' Sounds, Thoughts and Visions"
WHEN 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday through March 10; meet the artist 3-5 p.m. Feb. 21
WHERE African American Museum of Nassau County , 110 N. Franklin St., Hempstead, 516-572-0730. COST: Free
The exhibit is a compilation of major works of the award-winning commercial artist and photographer. The exhibit, including 62 photographs, captures the jazz scene in New York City in the 1980s, as well as notable African-American authors, actors, artists, political activists ranging from James Baldwin, Spike Lee and Halle Berry to Alice Walker, Miles Davis and Jay-Z. "I was most struck by the photo of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis," says staffer Evelyn Turner. "You could see the love in her eyes and the intensity of their relationship in the photo."
ALSO TRY "African Stone Art by Masimba," a free exhibit at Nassau Community College, displays a range of stone art collected by the artist during his travels to Zimbabwe (9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Feb. 27, 516-572-7376).
LECTURE : Day-to-day life as a slave at Joseph Lloyd Manor
WHEN 2 p.m. Feb. 22 (snow date, March 1)
WHERE Community Church of East Williston, Roslyn Road and Hillside Avenue (Route 25B), 516-538-7679, nassaucountyhistoricalsociety.org . COST: Free
Yes, there are signs slavery once existed on Long Island. Come hear the latest news from the archaeological dig site at Joseph Lloyd Manor in Huntington from Jenna Coplin, director of research and outreach for the Center for Public Archaeology at Hofstra. She'll be exploring the African-American community and culture of 18th century slave quarters at Lloyd Manor.
ON THE BIG SCREEN : Sidney Poitier Film Festival
WHEN Feb. 5-26
WHERE Smithtown Library, 127-20 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset, 631-265-3994, smithlib.org . COST: Free
See four of the Academy Award winner's groundbreaking performances. The Nesconset branch will be screening a memorable Poitier film each Thursday at 7 p.m., beginning tomorrow with "The Defiant One," followed by "Lillies of the Field," Feb. 12; "In the Heat of the Night," Feb. 19; and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," Feb. 26. "Those films are some of his most memorable and also are well known to a lot of people," says Caren Zatyk, reference librarian.
FOR KIDS: "Shout, Juba, Jive" with David Pleasant
WHEN 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
WHERE Long Island Children's Museum, 11 Davis Ave., East Garden City, 516-224-5800, licm.org . COST: $16, includes museum admission
This hands-on, music and movement class features Gullah / Geechee, a musical style that comes from the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. It is open to all skill levels, ages 3 and older. The workshop culminates in a percussion orchestra in which participants rehearse and perform on a variety of instruments.
FOR MORE : An African market nearby
WHAT All Nation African Market
WHERE 56 W. Main St., Bay Shore, 631-666-0686
Don't let the unassuming storefront deceive you. It's worth a visit to this cramped space for cloth and imported bitters. Owner Comfort Denkyi has assembled a paradise of colors in the more than 200 bolts of fabric from Ghana and West Africa. The material, which usually is sold in 6-yard lengths, range in price from $50 to $500. While many customers are African in descent and come for a taste of home and for special pieces for weddings and other formal functions, Denkyi says designers also make their way to the store.