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Asheville Parks & Recreation celebrates the city’s legacy of Black excellence with special events throughout February

Throughout the year, Asheville Parks & Recreation and its partners share unique stories, a rich culture, and opportunities for all members of the community to reflect on the history of blacks across the city. During Black History Month, the department invites residents to explore more and discover the achievements, contributions, and journeys of Black Heritage.

“February is a good time to focus on, highlight and celebrate American stories, movies, and food that are not often discussed throughout history,” according to DeTerrell McGuert, Director of Asheville Parks & Recreation. “Our staff has done an amazing job putting together a variety of Black History Month activities. I encourage all members of the community to come out and participate in one or more of the activities and events planned.”

Highlights of Black History Month

All events are free, but pre-registration is recommended as space may be limited. In addition to these special events, many community centers will showcase youth projects emphasizing black historical figures and literary heroes throughout the month.

February 4, 6-8 p.m. – hidden characters At Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center

Three remarkable black women at NASA – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson – act as the masterminds of one of the greatest operations in history: America’s first space orbit. More info>

February 5, noon – Bourton Street Community Cleaning at Burton Street Community Center

Projects include neighborhood trash pickup, art and beautification, home repair and weathering, and other community improvements at Burton Street Peace Gardens, The Vine, Martha Jane’s, and Smith Mill Creek. More info>

MLK, Jr and J Edgar HooverFebruary 10, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. – MLK/FBI At the Harvest House Community Center

Today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered as an American hero: a bridge builder, an intelligent political tactician, and a moral leader. However, throughout his history-changing career, he was often harassed and treated by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies as an enemy of the state. This acclaimed documentary provides a detailed account of FBI surveillance that obstructed King, fueled by the racial paranoia and red-baiting of J. Edgar Hoover, reminding everyone that real American progress is always out of reach. Call 828-350-2051 for more information.

Pearsons GroceryFebruary 12, 2-6pm – Black History Museum At Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center

Walking through decades of black excellence where great and important moments from the past are revealed by volunteers photographing important individuals during a truly interactive experience. More info>

February 18, noon – Pie baking competition At the center of great opportunities

Pancake recipes are a staple in black culinary history, and are often a close secret that only gets passed around when the time is right. Contestants can bake any pie of their choice in this competition, which is open to the public. Call 828-350-2062 to register.

Malcolm x . movieFebruary 18, 6-8pm – Malcolm X At Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center

Centered on a powerful performance by Denzel Washington, Spike Lee’s autobiography of civil rights leader Malcolm X brings his autobiography to life with an epic, broad-based and nuanced message of self-determination and racial pride. More info>

February 19, 1-4 p.m. – Black History: A Woman’s Voice At Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center

Although they make up nearly half the population, women’s contributions to development in America are often overlooked. Experience black history through women’s voices, followed by a skit telling a small story of Shiloh presented by students at an after school program. Call 828-274-7739 for more information.

Feb 24, 6-8pm – Soul food to go At the Stephens Lee Community Center

In the late 19th century, the church became a gathering place for the black community and influenced the development of what is now considered food for the soul. Fried chicken, fried fish, sweet potato pie, red drinks, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and more were served during emancipation celebrations and church gatherings. Celebrate the legacy of alumni of Stephens-Lee High School and the East End/Valley Street neighborhood with home cooking that has been passed down through the generations. More info>

February 25, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. – Work day and learn d. George Washington Carver Edible Park At the Stephens Lee Community Center

Did you know that one of the oldest community food forests is located in Asheville? With over 40 species of fruit and nut trees, a habitat for butterflies, and an annual botanical garden, maintaining this space named after the famous inventor and agricultural scientist is a year-round work for volunteers. More info>

Women from the movie Hidden CharactersFebruary 25, 7-9 p.m. – hidden characters at Burton Street Community Center

If you missed the February 4 screening of this heartwarming film that celebrates the important and overlooked contributions by three black women from a pivotal moment in history, check out a great show. More info>

About Asheville Parks and Recreation

Founded in 1954, and Asheville parks and gardensn section It operates a unique collection of more than 55 public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces throughout the city in a system that also includes full complexity recreation centers, swimming pools, Riverside Cemetery, playgrounds and sports fields, and community centers offering a variety of wellness-and-education-, and culture-related programs For Ashevilles of all ages. With 8 miles of green paved roads and many natural surface trails, its entire portfolio serves as the foundation of a vibrant hub for Asheville residents to connect with their neighbors and explore the natural beauty of a livable, walkable city.

Driven by the promise that Asheville is a better, safer place when everyone from infants to retirees has a chance to gain support, health, and success, Asheville Parks & Recreation was the first nationally accredited municipal recreation department in the United States. For more information visit www.ashevillenc.org/parks.

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