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Groups, schools plan Black History Month programs

By Leanne Fuller lfuller@paducahsun.com

February is Black History Month, and several events are scheduled in Paducah and the surrounding area.

The Hotel Metropolitan on Feb. 15 will host Grand Ma's Recipes, at which attendees can try soul food including sweet potatoes, greens and chitlins, and enjoy the performance of a skit.

Museum organizer Betty Dobson said the event always includes a lesson on soul food, and this year's focus will be on greens. She said the hotel will also hold its monthly fish fry Friday, and that the hotel tries to offer something that speaks to local African-American history at all its events.

"I think it's important so we can have a better understanding of one another," Dobson said of Black History Month. "I think we've come a long way as far as race relations ... but yet there is this lack of dialogue and lack of understanding of one another, and I think our activity helps."

She said Black History Month can help open the door for people to have conversations about cultures other than their own, and that events like Grand Ma's Recipes and the fish fry can help people to feel comfortable enough to have those conversations.

"It just seems like when you have food, it allows people to have that comfort," Dobson said.

Paducah/McCracken NAACP President J.W. Cleary said the organization doesn't have any Black History Month events planned, but will co-host an event in March. It and Broadway United Methodist Church in Paducah will co-sponsor the second annual "Power of One" celebration March 22 in memory of Rosa Parks at 5 p.m. in the church's fellowship hall.

The event will honor women in the community who have made a difference in the area. Nominations will be accepted at area churches and organizations until Feb. 21.

The celebration will feature guest speaker Joseph A. Brown, professor and chairman of the Africana Studies Department at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and will include a dinner. Tickets are $25 a person and $40 for couples. Call the NAACP at 270-443-5430 for more information.

Other Black History Month events include:

n The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce Power in Partnership Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Thursday at the Julian M. Carroll Convention Center's Ohio Room, with featured speaker Jerry Sue Thornton, Murray State University regent and president emeritus of Cuyahoga Community College. The : $15 for chamber members, $25 for non-members. Reservations must be made by 5 p.m. Tuesday. To R.S.V.P., call the chamber at 270-443-1746 or email info@paducahchamber.org.

Black History Month events hosted by West Kentucky Community & Technical College:

n "Dinner & A Show" Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the Anderson Technical Building Bistro followed by a performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers at 7:30 p.m. in the Clemens Fine Arts Center.

n The fourth annual Super Sunday event, an information fair co-hosted by Washington Street Missionary Baptist Church, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. at the church.

n The presentation "Conversations Between Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." at 11 a.m. Feb. 26 in the school's student center.

For more information about the WKCTC Black History Month events, call Jipaum Askew-Robinson, WKCTC director of cultural diversity and minority affairs, at 270-534-3420.

Black History Month events at Murray State University: 

n A Black History Month discussion panel at 5 p.m. Thursday in the university's Curris Center Barkley room, hosted by the school's Black Student Council.

n "A Taste of Africa," hosted by the MSU African Student Club at 7 p.m. Friday.

n The National African American Read-in, 5 p.m. Feb. 10  in the Curris Center Tennessee Room.

n A community potluck in the Curris Center Ballroom at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 followed by a showing of the Oscar nominated film "12 Years a Slave," in the Curris Center Theater at 7:30 p.m. Parents of young children are advised that the film is rated R.

n The Cultural Leadership and Empowerment Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 28; guest speakers Greg Ross and Rinzee Stansberry will appear in the Curris Center Ballroom.

n The Cultural Leadership and Empowerment Community College and Career Readiness Fair, at the Crisp Center on MSU's Paducah campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 1.

n The ninth annual Diversity Achievement Awards, held at the Curris Center Ballroom at 6:30 p.m. April 4.

For more information about MSU's Black History Month celebration, call the university's office of multicultural affairs at 270-809-6836.

Contact Leanne Fuller, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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