Expo Arts Center Opens Black History Month Exhibit on First Fridays

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Live music and more than 5,000 historical artifacts headline a weekend-long celebration of African American history and culture at the Expo Arts Center. “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” a Black History Month event, takes place February 6 through 8 and kicks off with a special celebration at February’s First Fridays in Bixby Knolls.

The event is presented by the Andy Street Community Association, the Office of Councilmember Al Austin and the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association. It is produced by Long Beach Works with musical direction by Charles Julian Fearing. 

One of the featured attractions will be the Forgotten Images Collection of over 5,000 authenticated pieces offering a glimpse of historic and culturally significant books, art and artifacts of African American heritage from the 1800’s to the modern Civil Rights Era. Other exhibits include the Mamie Hansberry Art Collection and Breaking Through, Lighting the Way, an exhibition of photographs, documents and artifacts based on a book and documentary film by Carolyn Smith Watts and Sunny Nash about twelve African American civil rights era women who collectively contributed more than 700 years of service to the City of Long Beach and made a difference in the city’s cultural history.

A multimedia exhibit and performance from the Black History Club at Hughes Middle School, plus music and spoken word performances, guest speakers, video screenings and a photo exhibit by Duke Givens round out the event.

On Sunday at 1 p.m., there will also be a Gospel Brunch ($20 adults, $13 youth 12 and under) catered by M’Dear’s. Tickets for the brunch may be purchased online at www.andystreetlb.org or by mailing a check to Andy St. Community Association, 2005 Palo Verde Avenue #322, Long Beach 90815. Tickets will also be available at the door as long as they don’t sell out in advance.

Featured performers include Long Beach resident and multi-platinum recording artist Charles Julian Fearing (Barry White, Ray Parker, Jr., Enrique Iglesias, Barry Manilow), jazz singer/songwriter Sweet Baby J’ai, plus more artists to be announced.

If your organization would like to participate in this year’s event as a sponsor, please contact LaVerne Duncan at (562) 754-0007 or email her at andystlb@gmail.com.

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