February is Black History Month. Here are some of the things happening around Aiken in honor of Black History Month, including plays, performances and community events.
20th annual Black History Parade
Aiken's annual Black History Parade will be held Feb. 15. Lineup is at 1 p.m. on Florence Street at American Legion Post 212 and continue down Hampton Avenue. Registration is $20 per form (organizations only need to fill out one form) and forms can be picked up at Smith-Hazel Recreation Center or the Brothers and Sisters Club of Aiken. This year's theme is "Continue the Dream for Unity." Registration ends Feb. 3 but may be extended; extensions will be announced by the Black Historical Committee of Aiken. For more info, contact the committee at 803-644-3750.
USC Aiken Black History events
USC Aiken will host a series of Black History lectures, plays and other events throughout the month of February. See event series below.
"Same Chains, Different Home" – Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at USC Aiken in room 106 at the Penland Building. Dr. Matt Miller, professor of English, will give a presentation on slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean. A panel of students of color from various countries will share their experiences.
"And the Category Is: Queer People of Color" – Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at USC Aiken, SAC Mezz. USCA professor Dr. Melencia Johnson will address the "complicated intersection" of LGBTQ people in the African American community.
"Civil Discourse, Civil Rights, & Robert’s Rules of Order: James Gallman Reflects on 50 Years of Activism" – Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. at USCA at B&E 140. Activist James Gallman will discuss civil rights and civil discourse.
"Profiled: Was it My Hair" – Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at USCA SAC Mezz. Professor Elizabeth Webb will lead discussion on discrimination in the workplace based on natural hair textures.
"For Bo: A Play Inspired by the Murder of Botham Jean" – Feb. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the USCA Etherredge Center. This staged reading depicts the murder of Botham Jean and the trial that followed. The cast performing the staged reading will be strictly constructed of students. Community leaders, professors and public safety officials will be invited to participate in a panel discussion after the play to give their perspectives and insight on issues surrounding race, police brutality and other similar topics. This play is a part of a national movement designed to build awareness of this issue.
"BHM Gala" – Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at USCA SAC Mezz. A formal event for students, staff and the community to celebrate Black History Month. This year's theme is the Harlem Renaissance. Will include live music, contests and awards. Tickets are on sale through the Department of Diversity Initiatives at USC Aiken.
"BHM Donation Drive" – Full month of February. The Student Life Office at USCA will be collecting hair care products for people of color and hygiene products, such as toothpaste and deodorant, to be donated to Helping Hands, Inc.
'An Afternoon with Poets'
Performances of the spoken word from three area poets. This event will take place at the Center for African American History, Arts and Culture at 120 York Street NE on Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at eventbrite.com. Proceeds will benefit the Brothers and Sisters Club of Aiken.
Talkback session covering how local community members will utilize social tools to promote social change being held Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. at the Center for African American History, Art and Culture. Free to attend.
'Salley and the Thompson Family' exhibit
The unveiling of the “African American Communities of Aiken County: Salley and the Thompson Family” exhibit by guest curator Dr. Walter Curry at the Aiken County Historical Museum Feb. 1 from 3-5 p.m. Free to attend. Contact the museum at 803-642-2015 or visit the event's Facebook page for more info.
10th annual Black History Jazz Concert
Feb. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lessie B. Price Aiken Senior and Youth Center, located at 841 Edgefield Avenue NW. There will be live music, dancing and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the center or at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center until Feb. 28. Tickets will be sold for $15 at the door.
'All God's Children Got Guns'
Augusta Mini Theatre's play for Black History Month. Written and directed by Tyrone J. Butler. Will run Feb. 15-16 at 3 p.m. at the Augusta Mini Theatre, located at 2548 Deans Bridge Road in Augusta. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and students (ages 2-18) and senior citizens (ages 65 and Up) and $8 for youth groups/chaperones and senior citizens groups – ages 65 and up – (10 or more). For tickets or to make a tax-deductible donation, call 706-722-0598 or visit the Mini Theatre’s website at www.augustaminitheatre.com.