Mt. Vernon Baptist plans Black History Month events
Mt. Vernon Baptist Church will expand its annual Black History Month film series with more events and discussions honoring its past, recognizing educators and featuring former Negro League baseball players.
Beverly Washington Jones, a deaconess at the church and chairwoman for the month-long observance, said the church wanted to do something a little different this year. In addition to nationally known history makers, Mt. Vernon will also honor its own local history makers, she said.
The Black History Month Film Series will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesdays in February, with discussion to follow.
On Feb. 5, there will be a screening of “The Butler,” the 2013 film based on the real long-serving White House butler. The Rev. Jerome J. Washington, pastor of Mt. Vernon, will lead post-screening discussion.
On Feb. 12, the film about groundbreaking African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson, “42,” will be screened. Before Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, he played in the Negro Leagues, and there are several alumni still living. Three will be part of the post-screening discussion of “42,” including Willie “Pete” Hayes, who was an infielder for the Durham Rams and Baltimore Orioles organization and is in the N.C. Central University Hall of Fame; Willie Bradshaw, who was a pitcher for the Durham Rams, Durham Eagles and the Colts and is in the NCCU Hall of Fame; and Roy Alston, an infielder for the Durham Rams.
The film “Won’t Back Down” will be shown on Feb. 19, about a mother and teacher trying to transform a failing school. The discussion will include Dorothy Singleton, a retired NCCU professor, and Deaconess Geraldine Young, a retired teacher and administrator in Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools. Jones said they may also talk about Mt. Vernon’s long-range plans for an all-male charter school.
Other events for Black History Month at Mt. Vernon Baptist include a recognition concert, gospel concert and art exhibit Feb. 9, all honoring history-making church members, including those living and deceased. Events will be held from 3 to 5:30 p.m., starting with the ceremony honoring Senior Choir #1, Dr. Thomas Bass, Dr. Rose Butler Browne, Mable Bullock, Carrie Ellerbe McNair, Pansy Mack Cheatham, James “Jay” Rogers, Velton Thompson, Jairus Wilson and Blanie Neal. The concert will feature the Inspirational Choir of Mt. Vernon, the Peace Missionary Baptist Church Senior Choir, the Union Baptist Church Women’s Chorale and a liturgical dance ensemble.
Mt. Vernon will hold Dr. Rose Butler Browne Education Day during the 10:45 a.m. worship service Feb. 16 to honor the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in education from Harvard University. On Feb. 22, the church will host a living museum and Black Cultural Festival in its education building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and on Feb. 26, the church’s final Black History Month event will be a 6 p.m. panel discussion, “Knowing Your Voting Rights 2014.”
Mt. Vernon Baptist is at 1007 S. Roxboro St. in Durham. For information, visit http://mvbcdurham.org or call 919-688-1823.