A moving Black History Month 

San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora has embraced Black History Month with passion. The museum’s wide range of commemorative music, art and history programs, scheduled throughout the month, even include hands-on activities for youth and families.

“The current decade, beginning with 2010, marks the golden anniversary of many international peace and freedom movements,” says Shiree Dyson, MoAD’s director of programs. “Because our programming is global in scope, we’ll spend the next few years focusing on what was happening during the 1960s, both in this country and around the world.”

The U.S. civil rights movement sings out Saturday when MoAD hosts “One Vision, One Struggle, Many Battlefields.” The program’s centerpiece is the Bay Area premiere of a one-hour preview version of “Freedom Riders,” an “American Experience” documentary directed by Stanley Nelson (“The Murder of Emmett Till,” “Jonestown,” “Wounded Knee”), slated for KQED-TV in May.

The two-hour movie is the first feature-length film about the courageous activists who challenged segregation in interstate transport in the South during the spring and summer of 1961.

To celebrate the anniversary of the first Freedom Rides, the afternoon also includes a program of songs from the era, plus readings and discussion with contributors to the book “Hands on the Freedom Plow,” a compliation of personal accounts by women active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Chude Allen — a member of Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement who with Jude Wiley helped organize the afternoon — urges those who want to learn more about America’s civil rights movement to scour the Civil Rights Movement Veterans web site, http://crmvet.org/, for information on the early efforts of the NAACP, SNCC, Congress of Racial Equality and Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

“Attendees have the opportunity to hear Bettie Mae Fikes, who as a marvel of a teenager helped lead the singing of freedom songs during the Selma movement,” says Allen. “She’s amazing. There will also be group singing led by Wazir Peacock, one of the first Freedom Singers in Mississippi. We’ll also celebrate the personal accounts of women in SNCC. And there’s this fabulous film.”

Subsequent Black History Month events are inspired by the museum’s current exhibit, “Textural Rhythms: Constructing the Jazz Tradition, Contemporary African-American Quilts,” running through April 24.

At 2 p.m. Feb. 26, MoAD’s Authors in Conversation series presents Lewis Watts and Elizabeth Pepin discussing their book, “Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era.”

Other jazz-related events include “A Tribute to Charlie Parker” with the Jetta Martin Dance Company at 2 p.m. Sunday; a film screening and performance, Robert Moses’ Kin at 2 p.m. Feb. 12 with Jazz in the Gallery with Berkeley Jazzschool’s Jaz Sawyer at 2 p.m. Feb. 20. All programs are free with MoAD admission.


One Vision, One Struggle, Many Battlefields

Where: Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., San Francisco

When: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $10 general; $5 students and seniors, free for children 12 and under with an adult

Contact: (415) 358-7200; www.moadsf.org

About The Author

Jason Victor Serinus

Jason Victor Serinus

Jason Victor Serinus is a music and high performance audio critic, whistler, and lecturer on opera and vocal recordings. He is editor of Psychoimmunity and the Healing Process: A Holistic Approach to Immunity & AIDS. In addition to writing for the San Francisco Examiner, he has written about music for Opera News,... more
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