Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum to Sponsor “African American History Month Presentation”

Feb 10th, 2014Press Release from Lehigh County Historical Society
Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Allentown, PA – “African Americans in History” will be the subject of a slideshow lecture at 1:00 pm on Saturday, February 22nd at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown.  The announcement was made today by Joseph Garrera, Executive Director of the Museum.

The program is being held in conjunction with African American History Month.  This celebration, which originated in 1925, pays tribute to celebrate the many achievements of African Americans in every field.  “There is no better or more appropriate time to explore the major impact African Americans have made on U.S. history,” said Garrera.  “Their role, which has frequently languished in obscurity, must be celebrated; it must never be forgotten.”

The month of February was selected as African American history month in part because it was the month of Frederick Douglass’s birth.  He was born in 1818 in Maryland, into a world of slavery.  Douglass’s escape from slavery and historic journey from slave to internationally-acclaimed author, lecturer, presidential advisor, and defender of human rights was long, painful, and dangerous.  Douglass was one of many African American abolitionists—a list that also includes Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and many more.  Douglass became a tireless champion of civil rights for blacks, whites, and women’s rights, especially voting rights, which women did not achieve until 1920.  He was motivated by a burning determination to achieve—for all people—the promise of equal rights stated in the Declaration of Independence, which declares, “…all men are created equal.”

African Americans have played critical roles in war and peacetime.  A few examples include:

●   Crispus Attucks, the first victim of the Boston Massacre, who is widely considered to be the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War.

●   George Washington Carver won international renown in the late 1800s as a pioneer in the development of industrial applications for agricultural products.

●   Dr. W.E.B. DuBois cofounded the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and advocated powerfully for African American rights in the first half of the 1900s.

●   James Mercer Langston Hughes celebrated the African American experience through his poetry and other writings, depicting the vibrant lives of ordinary African Americans, as well as their challenges in the first half of the 1900s.

●   Dr. John Hope Franklin, a leading scholar and historian, balanced historical perspective about slavery and Reconstruction with the discussion of race relations during the second half of the 1900s and into the 21st century before his death in 2009.

The program will tell the stories of these and other African Americans.  Admission to the event is FREE and is funded in part by a grant from the Charles H. Hoch Foundation.

The Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum is a 30,000 square foot teaching institution that attracts a diverse audience.  Its collections of historical Americana include over 35,000 three-dimensional objects, 3 million documents and more than 80,000 vintage photographs.  The Museum is located at 432 W. Walnut Street in Allentown.   Parking is available in the rear of the Museum, on the street, and in nearby lots.  For more information, contact Joseph Garrera, Executive Director, at 484-553-2592 (cell) any time of day or at 610-435-1074. Visit www.lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org or visit us on Facebook.

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