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Multiple Black History Month events being planned for February

Updated: Jan 29

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is teaming with a local retailer to help present a number of Black History Month events.

The museum has partnered with the River Bookshop to present five events in February.

“We’re calling it ‘Centuries of Progress: A Celebration of Black History Month’,” explained Meghan Desjardins, lead bookseller at River Bookshop. “This year, all of our events will be at the museum.”

The first event will be Feb. 1 and will be a book launch for “Black Activist, Black Scientist, Black Icon: The Autobiography of Dr. Howard McCurdy” and will feature McCurdy’s friend Dr. George Elliott Clarke and his wife Dr. Brenda McCurdy, the latter being on the museum’s board of directors.

“We wanted to have authors involved,” said museum assistant curator Dr. Lorene Bridgen-Lennie. 

The book was almost completed during Howard’s lifetime but was finished by his wife and friend.

“It’s his wife who gives a personal touch to things,” said Bridgen-Lennie.

The book launch will be free of charge to attend and start at 5:30 p.m.

There will be two performances by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO) this year, as opposed to one last year. Both will be ticketed events and more information will be placed on the museum’s website at

The first concert is Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. and will be a family concert, targeted for all ages.

“We’re trying to engage children a lot more,” said Bridgen-Lennie.

The second concert will be Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Both will be inside the Nazrey AME Church. 

“We’re really excited to offer two (concerts) this time,” said Desjardins.

There will also be a youth art class in the studio of Black artist Dennis K. Smith Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. This is a free event but space is limited to 15 people. Smith’s “dKs Studio and Gallery” is located at 1130 Minto Ave. in LaSalle.

“What we’re trying to show students who participate is what it is like to be a Black artist,” said Bridgen-Lennie.

“He wants students to engage with a Black artist,” added museum curator Mary-Katherine Whelan. “He wants to inspire young people.”

To register, e-mail or visit 

The fifth event is a panel discussion title “A Conversation about Women’s Empowerment and Community Engagement” and will feature speakers Irene Moore Davis, Shantelle Browning-Morgan, Rose Anguiano Hurst, Kaitlyn Ellsworth, and Leslie McCurdy. The event will be moderated by museum board member Cari-Lynn Ristic. That event will be Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. and will be free.

Bridgen-Lennie said Black History Month is a chance to educate people on the importance of the history and what happened in this area. Desjardins said people can learn about local history. Whelan added they are excited to welcome the public to learn more and engage with them, adding they want to make the events “as accessible to the public as possible.”

By Ron Giofu

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