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Black History Month celebrations include hip-hop, pioneers, painters

Black History Month is being celebrated around the region through a series of programs and events, mostly virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Washington State Historical Society is hosting two free online lectures. Thursday night (Feb. 4), Dr. Daudi Abe gives the history of hip-hop in Seattle.

Then later this month, on Feb. 25, virtual attendees on Facebook Live can hear a panel discussion about an African American pioneer named George Bush, and the Black artist Jacob Lawrence.

Bush was born in in the late 1700s and died in 1863 in Tumwater. Lawrence was born in 1917 and died in Seattle in 2000.

LaNesha DeBardelaben
LaNesha DeBardelaben

“And he told the story of Black Americana through art,” said LaNesha DeBardelaben, executive director of the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle. “And he also told the story of George Bush as well, so they are very much connected.”

Those paintings are now in the collection of the Washington State Historical Society.

(Hear a longer conversation with DeBardelaben through the audio player above.)

The Northwest African American Museum has a slate of programming lined up for Black History Month. And DeBardelaben says they’re also marking Black Futures Month, a concurrent national celebration started about five years ago.

“Black History Month gives us an opportunity to honor and to uplift Black lives as we look along a very inspiring path that we’ve tread, the path behind us,” DeBardelaben said. “Black Futures Month allows us to look forward, to imagine and to reimagine, the kind of community and region and world that we want.”

More Black History Month events can be found at the KNKX Community Page

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.