Rohrbach Library Celebrates Black History Month

This month, Rohrbach Library is dedicating its Voices and Choices Center to a celebration of Black History Month. From now until the end of February, there will be a different event each week to commemorate this month.

On Thursday, February 11th, from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. come listen to Frank Gilyard speak about the history of the Underground Railroad in Berks County. Gilyard is a local historian and president of the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum (CPAAM).  CPAAM is located in the Old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on North 10th Street in Reading. Gilyard will talk about the museum, about the Underground Railroad, and about the 177 years of African American history in Berks that he’s been studying.

The following week, on Thursday, February 18th  from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., local artist Ed Terrell will speak about African Art. This will be followed by a reception and question and answer session from 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Terrell is a painter who was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Reading. He currently works in the ACOR Gallery in Reading’s Goggleworks.

On February 23rd, from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m, come listen to Dr. Ellesia Blaque, KU English professor, speak about African American writer Maria Stewart’s role in abolition in and feminism. Dr. Blaque’s area of expertise is in Africana and ethnic literatures. In addition to teaching, she runs her own website ( and her own publishing company, banned Books & Company, in Sinking Spring.

Then, on Thursday, February 25th, join us in room 29 for a viewing of the short film “Out of Obscurity.” This film details an anti-discrimination sit in in Alexandria, Va., in 1939. The event took place when a small group of African American men went to a public library and asked for library cards. When they were denied based on their race, the men sat down at a table and began to read. These men were soon arrested. A discussion will follow the movie.

With the exception of the movie, all of these events take place in the library’s Voices and Choices Center; this is on the second floor. We hope you can join us as we celebrate Black History Month and honor an important part of our nation’s history.



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