In honor of Black History Month, an event featuring a cabaret, dramatic presentation and meal for the community is planned for 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at The Ember, 8 N. Third St.
Admission is $15 per person for the event, titled “Take Your Place!” Those planning to attend are asked to rsvp to www.loveinactiongf.org .
The cabaret will feature performances by local Black artists, including gospel or spiritual songs by Zinnah Jackson and spoken word poetry by Jason Jennings.
A short dramatic presentation will highlight important aspects of Black history, such as the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements and the capture of slaves who helped build the plantations in the South in the 1600s through the 1800s, said Sonia Brumskill, an event organizer.
“We are the Black community, and we want to tell our history,” said Shantana Gainyard, who is coordinating Sunday’s event with Brumskill.
They want people in this area to learn more about and better understand Black history.
“Everyone knows Rosa Parks and Malcolm X,” said Gainyard, who was born and raised in the South, “but why not give them an eye-opener” about events and people they probably have never heard about?
“I want them to explore our culture,” she said. “I want people to experience, like, ‘Hey, I see what they went through’ or even understand or even dig deep to say, ‘I didn’t know that, so thank you for telling me or presenting that to me.’ ”
During the dramatic presentation at Sunday’s event, performers discover a time capsule on stage and will tell of landmark events, such as the assassination of Civil Rights advocates Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr., and the murder of Emmett Till, with a backdrop of historic video or photos depicting those events, Brumskill said.
The audience will learn about other notable Black figures, including Henry Box Brown, who escaped slavery by arranging to have himself mailed in a wooden crate to abolitionists in Philadelphia in 1849, and Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator -- the first African American woman to found a college for Black students -- and adviser to President Franklin Roosevelt on minority affairs.
Sunday’s program, which begins with a welcome at 2 p.m. and continues until 3 p.m., also will include a hip hop performance and conclude with an enactment of the swearing in of Kamala Harris as the first Black woman to serve as U.S. vice president, Brumskill said.
The event also features a display of items, including historic Life magazines, that represents various events in Black history, that Brumskill has collected over time.
From 3 to 5 p.m., guests will be welcome to mingle, chat and enjoy a meal of ribs, collard greens, mac and cheese, cornbread, rice, mini sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and a beverage, Brumskill said. The meals will also be available for purchase, at $15, through curbside pick up.
The Fire Hall Theatre is recording Sunday’s performance and will air it, free of charge, on its website, www.ggfct.com, and at Facebook.com/GreaterGrandForksCommmunityTheatre beginning Sunday and running through Feb. 28, according to Amy Driscoll, interim executive director of the Fire Hall Theatre.