PINELLAS COUNTY - Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an historian and scholar, known as the "Father of Negro History," established the first-ever Negro History Week on Feb. 12, 1926.
Woodson, a son of former slaves, was born in 1875. He founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915. Woodson died in 1950, but his work to establish a set time to remember black history continued. In 1976, as part of the nation's Bicentennial, the observance was expanded and became established as Black History Month.
Information about Woodson and more can be found at www.floridablackhistory.com. In honor of Black History Month, Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, first lady Columba Bush, put together a special Web site - "Remembering the Past Celebrating the Future."
"Florida's African-Americans have made significant contributions to the development of our state," according to a statement on the Web site. "They helped establish St. Augustine, the earliest European settlement in Florida, and played key roles in our cultural growth, frequently overcoming great adversity. Many have achieved great stature and acclaim, and their influence reaches far beyond Florida's and the nation's boundaries."
Gov. Bush's site has links to the essays by students who entered the Black History Month essay contest, facts about famous African-Americans from Florida, artwork by Jonathan Green, a black history quiz, suggested reading, information about the state's black colleges and black leaders, photographs and more.
The site also includes a schedule of events planned at the Governor's mansion and at the Capitol building, including art displays, tours, receptions and the second annual Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Heritage Festival of the Arts and Humanities Feb. 24 through 26.
According to information on the governor's site, Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore were "pioneering advocates for voting rights, equal educational facilities, equal pay for black and white teachers and sought justice for victims of police brutality and mob lynchings. Both were tragically killed in the bombing of their home on Christmas night in 1951. No one has ever been charged with these murders."
Pinellas County observances
The Safety Harbor Museum will sponsor the Sixth Annual Highwaymen Art Exhibit on Sunday, Feb. 13, 1 to 4 p.m., at the Safety Harbor Community Center.
The Highwaymen are African-American artists from the Fort Pierce area who started selling their paintings in the 1950s along the highways and byways of south Florida. In March 2004 Gov. Jeb Bush inducted the artists into the Florida Hall of Fame, and many of their works of art are displayed in the State Capitol and executive mansion.
Eleven of the original artists will meet with the public; including Curtis Arnett, Hezekiah Bakier, Al Black, Robert Butler, Mary Ann Carroll, Johnny Daniels, Isaac Knight, R.L. Lewis, Roy McLendon, Willie Reagan and Sylvester Wells.
Jim Fitch, director of the Museum of Florida's Art and Culture will present a lecture at 2 p.m. honoring the artists.
The Community Center is at 650 Ninth Ave. Call the museum at 726-1668.
An exhibit of Florida Highwaymen art also is on display in the state Capitol art gallery through Feb. 28.
The Clearwater North Greenwood Library sponsored the 16th annual African American Read-In on Feb. 2, and on Feb. 3, the library sponsored an African crafts day. On Thursday, Feb. 17, 5:30 p.m., the library will present a program on the Underground Railroad.
The library is at 905 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Call 462-6895.
The Pinellas County Urban League's Black-on-Black Crime Prevention Program is taking entries for its annual Black History Month Essay Contest through Friday, Feb. 11.
The contest is open to all students attending public, private or home schools in Pinellas County. Contest entries are divided into three divisions, each with a unique topic and a first, second and third place award. Divisions and topics include:
• Elementary school, 150 to 200 words, "How can African-American children become leaders of tomorrow?"
• Middle school, 200 to 250 words, "What individual has made the greatest impact in African-American history other than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X?"
• High school, 250 to 500 words, "How can we tear down the walls of racism and start building solidarity within our society today?"
Each winning essayist will have the opportunity to read their essay at the awards ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 26, 1 to 3 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Times Auditorium, 490 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg.