Black History Month events finish out February

American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos protested racial discrimination at the 1968 Olympics.-- photo by Angelo Cozzi
American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos protested racial discrimination at the 1968 Olympics. — photo by Angelo Cozzi

February may be half over, but a series of Black History Month events continue in Iowa City, running the gamut from culinary celebration to educational performances and mobile healthcare.

This Friday, Feb. 19, City High (1900 Morningside Dr.) will host a soul food dinner with traditional southern foods from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. During the meal, there will be entertainment and displays of African American historical figures and events, as well as time for mingling with fellow community members.

An educational program called “Living Museum: A Moment in Time” will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center (220 S. Gilbert St.). Young people will pose as statues of African American figures that come to life to either tell stories about or play out scenes involving their characters.

In an initiative from University of Iowa Health Sciences, students, instructors and staff will bring a free mobile health clinic to the Broadway Neighborhood Center (2105 Broadway St.) on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Available services will include blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol checks, as well as physical therapy and other consultations. An educational component will provide information on African American pioneers in medicine and health sciences.

And capping off the monthlong series will be a Unity Concert with spirituals from local singers and area choirs. That event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. at New Creations International Church (2929 E. Court St.).

RaQuishia Harrington, the Broadway Site Director for the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, said the events are the result of collaboration between community groups and individuals. Participating organizations include United Action for Youth, Iowa City Community School District, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, Black Voices Project, Iowa City Human Rights Commission, the Dream Center and Neighborhood Centers of Iowa City.

“Many of the ideas were prompted from an urgency from local youth who have expressed concern over the lack of information or recognition from their schools,” Harrington said in an email. “Most events are student-led and youth are taking ownership of the opportunity to encourage people to recognize the many contributions that African American/black people have made in American History.”

She said that those who attend the events can “expect to learn about current movements, [as well as] local and world-known pioneers.”

All Black History Month events are free and open to the community, though donations are appreciated.

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