The City of Gainesville observes Black History Month with a showcase of artwork, activities, remembrances and online performances this month.
Honoring Past Lives
Local artist Yvonne Ferguson, well-known for her portraits of cultural and human rights icons and musicians, has begun painting a mural of the late Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn, local researcher and historian, at the city’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Multipurpose Center. Updates about the project will be shared later this month.
Throughout February, Evergreen Cemetery honors the lives of the Black residents buried there by sharing their stories on its Facebook page. Onsite signage indicates the gravesites for neighbors wishing to take a self-guided tour of the city’s only municipal cemetery, established in 1856.
The city expands the recognition to adjacent Pine Grove Cemetery, in collaboration with its owner Johnson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and the site’s caretakers, Ms. Rosa and Tommy Martin. Pine Grove Cemetery has long-served as the Black counterpart to Evergreen Cemetery, formerly an all-white cemetery.
Saturday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m.: Members of the Delta Sigma Zeta Chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. will place honorary signage at Pine Grove Cemetery. It is the final resting place of many Black neighbors including: Barbara Higgins, first Black clerk of the Supervisor of Elections Office; Charles Duval, local leader and namesake of Duval Early Learning Academy; Oscar Lewis, first Black police officer; Charlotte Robinson, credited with establishing 1st Head Start Program; and Cora Roberson, local educator and first Black woman to run for the Gainesville City Commission, among others.
Visit the City of Gainesville Facebook page for shared posts throughout the month.
African History in the Middle Ages
Saturday, Feb. 6 and Sunday, Feb. 7 at 12:30 p.m.: This weekend, Kali Blount presents snapshots of African History in the Middle Ages during Hoggetowne at Home, this year’s online Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. The brief performances recount the life and times of the period through portrayals of historical figures.
Black History Month Virtual Concerts
This month, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department present three, one-hour concerts livestreamed on Facebook as part of its Free Friday Concert Series.
Friday, Feb. 12, 8-9 p.m.: Duo Paloma, the internationally acclaimed musicians Longineu Parsons and Joanna Sobkowska, perform ragtime, jazz and blue hits of Black composers.
Friday, Feb. 19, 8-9 p.m.: Faith and Majesty, sisters and singer-songwriters from couth Florida, perform indie/folk harmonies and melodies.
Friday, Feb. 26, 8-9 p.m.: Jazz vocalist newcomer Decyo McDuffie performs a string of jazz standards.
Social Justice Murals Tour: Stories Behind the Art
Sunday, Feb. 28, 2-5 p.m.: Neighbors are invited to learn more about the inspiration behind the city’s 12 new social justice murals from the artists themselves. The dozen murals are located in five city parks; artists will be onsite to discuss their work. For the safety and well-being of all neighbors, the public is asked to follow social distancing and mask-wearing protocols.