City of Gainesville Announces Schedule of Events for Black History Month


The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department announces its schedule of events honoring this year’s Black History month. The programming celebrates the remarkable contributions African-Americans have made both to the history of the nation and to Gainesville itself. Ranging from performances by nationally-recognized artists to the opening of an important new cultural facility and community center, all events are free and open to the public. The event schedule may also be viewed at

ROOTS: Slavery’s Unchained Melodies
Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Historic Thomas Center, 302 NE Sixth Ave.
Dr. Will Kesling and the Gainesville Master Chorale retell the four-century history of Black Spirituals through a lecture and the singing of this powerful music. The singing and creation of Spirituals have been ongoing for at least four centuries in the United States, and are born of a culture as they sprang up in the oral tradition of an enslaved people kept illiterate by the force of law. For more about the chorale, please visit

Sojourner Truth, The Legacy Lives On
Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Springhill Baptist Church, 120 SE Williston Rd.
Sojourner Truth, The Legacy Lives On, is a one-woman show, written by and starring Sandra Jones that unfolds the startling life events of Mother Sojourner Truth through word and song. Jones steps into the role of Sojourner Truth and bridges the dimensions of time to bring to life one of the most astonishing women of history. She presents a mesmerizing performance that transports and transforms the entire audience. As Mother Truth, she shows us that we have more power in our hands than we sometimes remember. Mother Truth reminds us of the power that is greater than any man that “pervades the universe!” Her story is a true inspiration. For more about Jones, please visit

An Evening of Jazz and Multicolored Memories
Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Historic Thomas Center, 302 NE Sixth Ave.
In this cabaret performance of inspirational jazz vocals and literary stories, Dr. Kitty Oliver, one of the first black freshmen at the University of Florida, shares personal experiences moving from segregation to integration to multicultural diversity. She traces the common journey of native-born Americans and immigrants as we adapt to life in a diverse society and social change on a global scale, drawing on poignant, humorous, revealing reflections as an author, race relations oral historian, national media personality and recording artist. She talks about race in a hopeful, healing way, using music and storytelling to relate history to the present and bring together people across cultures for an inspirational, entertaining event. For more about Oliver, please visit program is sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council, with funds from the Florida Department State, Division of Cultural Affairs.

NAACP/Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Legacy Brunch
Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Historic Thomas Center, 302 NE Sixth Ave.
This brunch honors Lincoln High School teachers from before its closing in 1970. Due to limited seating, attendees must RSVP by Monday, Feb. 13. RVSP by calling 352-870-7013 or emailing or

Black History Month Concert
Saturday, Feb. 25, 5-8 p.m.
Depot Park, 200 SE Depot Ave.
Performing in Depot Park are guest artists Phillip “Jazzdad” Thomas, Deep Root featuring Li Diddley (Bo Diddley’s great grandson) and The Dancing Divas.

A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center Ribbon-Cutting and Dedication
Sunday, Feb. 26, 3-6 p.m.
A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, 1013 NW Seventh Ave.
The community is invited to the ribbon-cutting and dedication of the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, a new cultural facility which is in the home of local educator and civil rights pioneer A. Quinn Jones. The A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center will serve as a tribute to one of the most influential educators in the history of Alachua County. The museum will feature exhibits on “Prof” Jones, the people and places of the Fifth Avenue / Pleasant Street neighborhood and house a collection of oral histories centering on the African-American experience in Gainesville. The A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center is a Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) project.

For images related to these events, please visit

For additional information, please contact Russell Etling, cultural affairs manager, at or 352-393-8532.