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BCPL helps community celebrate Black History Month

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PERRY HALL —People, most importantly children, are able to learn and celebrate Black History Month throughout Baltimore County thanks to Baltimore County Public Libraries’ initiatives to educate, entertain and inspire people with their Black History Month events.

The Perry Hall and White Marsh Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) locations both held events to recognize and participate in Black History Month on Feb. 15.

The participants at the BCPL White Marsh branch indulged in the Art Lab: Create like Alma Thomas and Jean-Michel Basquiat, who are two famous black artists.

Thomas was a painter and art educator from the Washington D.C. area, mostly known for her colorful abstract paintings and Basquiat, a graffiti artist from New York City, is known for using social commentary in his work. The Art Lab attendees painted pieces in the style of Thomas and Basquiat and their paintings will hang up in the branch for a few weeks for people

White Marsh branch librarian Julianne Russell said this is the first time they are hosting the Art Lab at their location.

“We like to educate kids and have different activities to mix art and history, to help people learn in different ways,” Russell said.

Rosedale resident Tonya Ndiaye brought her granddaughter to the event because she wants her to learn that the color of her skin and people that look like her are playing vital roles in shaping the future for our world and country.

“I don’t want her to be lost and not know who she is. I want to educate her because they’re not educating kids like they should in school,” Ndiaye said.

“I want her to know that we as African Americans are very important and powerful.”

To end the day, Ndiaye said her and her granddaughter will go home and review the artist further.

“I think the BCPL doing these African American History month events is awesome,” she noted.

Parkville resident and BCPL White Marsh branch librarian Holly Bauer home schools her son, so she wanted to bring him to the branch to participate in outside activities that include art and black history.

“The more diverse and different programs we have, the more variety of people will come into the branch,” Bauer said.

Over at the Perry Hall BCPL branch, performer Daniel Ssuuna engaged guests in tribal African music with instruments from Uganda at Mujje: Come Together event.

Ssunna, who was booked through Young Audiences of Maryland/Arts For Learning said the event was very intimate and attendees started off shy, but by the end they were singing together and playing different instruments.

“It’s a blessing to host this event and celebrate black history because it’s important that we realize the diversity, but also be able to honor it,” Ssunna said.

“I find it interesting that one of the major skills that we need to develop is cultural acceptance. You can’t do anything major without accepting cultures and working together because we all have different talents.”

“It’s something about the arts that connects all of us regardless of what country you come from,” he noted.

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