Monrovia Celebrates Black History Month

February 27th, 2015 by Monrovia Weekly

Monrovia had a long list of activities in conjunction with Black History Month this year. The Monrovia Historical Museum and the Monrovia-Duarte Black Alumni Association organized visits from artist Hope Demetriades, Dr. Wilma Ellis Kazemzadeh, and the New Buffalo Soldiers.
On Feb. 22nd, Dr. Wilma Ellis Kazemzadeh spoke to a mixed crowd about the urgency to remember Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. “We cannot retire from this work,” said the former administrator of Spelman College. The stage also featured a rendition of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” by the Second Baptist Church Choir. This historic Church is celebrating their 113th anniversary. Hope Demetriades spoke about how abolitionists continue to inspire her mixed-media renditions.
Troopers AJ, Mapp, and Larry of the New Buffalo Soldiers entranced the large student audience at Monrovia High School. One young woman asked, “Were there women who served?” Cathay Williams of Missouri served as “William Cathay.” It was the American Indians who honored the all-Black military unit with the “buffalo” name because of their dark looks and courageous spirit. Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth was the first pastor of Monrovia’s Second Baptist Church after he retired as the highest ranking original Buffalo Soldiers in 1906.
Last year, Ralph Walker and the Monrovia Historical Museum organized a tribute to Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth. Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Monrovia City Council recently recognized Walker and the Museum team for the program.
Black History is celebrated every day. On Sunday, Mar. 29th at 2 p.m., Professor Susie Ling of Pasadena City College will discuss the “History of African Americans in Monrovia” at the Museum on Lemon. She has done about two dozen oral histories and searched historical records to compile the 130-year history of the African American community of Monrovia.
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