EDISON — An array of events, including a lecture on baseball, cooking demonstrations, and an exhibit of photos of jazz icons, will be featured during February as Middlesex County College celebrates Black History Month. Other than the cooking program and the trip to Harlem, all are free and open to the public.
“Join us as we celebrate Black History Month at MCC,” said Marla Brinson, dean of enrollment and student support services. “This is a monumental year because it is the anniversary of so many events in the history of Civil Rights and milestone birthdays of important people in the movement.”
This year is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks, and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have Dream” speech.
“The program showcases the tremendous influence African-Americans have had on the culture and history of the United States,” Dean Brinson said.
February 1-28, College Center Gallery
“Juneteenth,” is photo exhibit of jazz performers. Photographer Bill May captured images of jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Connick Jr., Chuck Mangione and Sarah Vaughan. There will be a reception on February 26 from 5-7 p.m.
Monday, February 4, 11 a.m., College Center Gallery
David Tarver, a businessman, philanthropist and author, will provide the month’s keynote speech. An engineer, Tarver left AT&T Bell Laboratories to start his own company that became wildly successful. After selling that company, he dedicated his life to community service. In 2001, he founded the Red Bank Education and Development Initiative, which catalyzed dramatic improvements in academic performance and opportunities for Red Bank children. He has also served on the National Advisory Committee for the University of Michigan College of Engineering and the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Red Bank Board of Education, the National Commission on NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) 12th Grade Assessment and Reporting, and several other civic and nonprofit boards. He has just published a book, “Proving Ground.”
“He is a man who knows how to give back to the community,” Dean Brinson said. “He talks the talk and walks the walk. He is both warm and inspirational.”
Saturday, February 16
MCC students are invited to take a trip to Harlem, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the Apollo Theater.
Tuesday, February 19, 11 a.m., College Center Lobby
A showing of the movie “Lincoln” with a post-film discussion.
Thursday, February 21, 5-7 p.m., College Center Gallery
Last year, the college held a panel discussion on baseball literature. Larry Hogan, senior professor of history at Union County College, spoke on African-American baseball before Jackie Robinson cracked the color line in 1947.
“The reception was overwhelming,” Dean Brinson said. “Larry is perhaps the nation’s foremost expert on the Black baseball leagues so we asked him to return.”
Dr. Hogan will speak on “The House that Ruth Built and Pop Opened! Negro League Baseball and Yankee Stadium.” It will include a discussion, accompanied by video and exhibit material of the history of Negro League baseball from 1930 through 1948 at America’s most historic ballpark, Yankee Stadium. It will focus on the historic opening of the Stadium to Negro League play on July 5, 1930, for a doubleheader that is arguably the most significant game ever played at the fabled Yankee Stadium.
Monday, February 25, 11 a.m., College Center
History Game Show. A game show in which participants can win prizes by answering questions based on the month’s activities.
In addition, the college’s Professional and Community Programs division will dedicate four of its cooking classes to African-American food. “Today’s Table: Classes for Contemporary Cooks” is a series of cooking classes held in the demonstration kitchen in Crabiel Hall. The chef makes the food, describing all the steps, while the audience watches and learns. They also receive copies of the recipes as well as a sample of the food. It is usually very educational and entertaining. Because 2013 is filled with milestone anniversaries of events and birthdays of key people involved in the Civil Rights Movement, this year, four of the classes will be dedicated to African-American food. Three of the four classes will include commentary by Fannie Gordon, director of the College’s Educational Opportunity Fund. She will talk about the origin of African-American cooking as it relates to the evening’s menu. A local chef will demonstrate how to prepare the meal and everyone will get a chance to taste it.
Lynn Lederer, director of Professional and Community Programs at the College, said “African-American food was born out of necessity and continues today as a symbol of love and as a cultural reminder of the past. During the slave era, survival depended on the creativity of cooks who prepared food with the meager ingredients available to them. That legacy of making something from nothing continues today as contemporary African-American cooks take inspiration from those early recipes. The same ingredients – spices from Africa, okra, corn, sweet potatoes, grains, pork, chicken and lots of greens – are part of today’s African-American cuisine.”
Participants may register a la carte at $30 for each class or choose any three for $75. The savings are available to anyone who registers with payment for the three classes at the same time.
For more information visit www.middlesexcc.edu/profcom; to register, call 1-732-906-2556.
Emancipation Proclamation Breakfast Cake This class will show you how to prepare traditional African American food such as chicken and dumplings, yam chips, okra, crackling cornbread and for dessert, pecan pralines and the mouthwatering Emancipation Proclamation Breakfast Cake. Learn to prepare these foods and hear about how African-American cooking developed from Dr. Gordon. Wednesday, February 6, 6:30-9 p.m.
African-American Cooking: A Bit of Food and a Bit of History The African-American style of cooking merges the improvisational techniques that gave the nation jazz with the cooking methods and flavors of Africa. From okra and collard greens to southern fried chicken, black-eyed peas and sweet potato pie, African-American cooking is informed by its history and illustrates the richness and complexity of black cultural traditions. Dr. Gordon will talk about the history as a chef prepares the meal. Wednesday, February 13, 6:30-9 p.m.
Desserts: African-American Style From sweet potato and pecan pies to pound cake and fruit cobblers, cakes and pies are trademarks of the African-American table, church supper and holiday gift. Come hungry for food, come hungry for knowledge and come hungry for a good time. Dr. Gordon and a guest chef. Wednesday, February 20, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Soul Kitchen’s Terrence Stewart “All are welcome at our table.” The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen is a nonprofit community restaurant run by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. Come meet Soul Kitchen’s Chef Terrence Stewart and enjoy a sampling of soul cooking featuring Hoppin’ John Soup, salmon cakes with red beans and rice, and bread pudding. Tuesday, February 26, 6:30-9 p.m.
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