Manasota ASALH sponsoring African American history photo exhibit as follow-up to educational project

Public invited to Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Library in Newtown

A photo exhibit marking the completion of an innovative pilot project on African American history will be on view at Newtown’s Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Library beginning on Saturday, May 27, organizers have announced.

The library stands at 2801 Newtown Blvd.

The project was sponsored by the Manasota branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, a news release explains. Called the Freedom School, the pilot program ended on April 29; it included 10 free, two-hour sessions held on Saturdays at the library, the release points out. About 20 young people attended each session.

Planned for students in grades 3 through 12, the sessions “focused on the 500-year sweep of the Black experience in America, from the slavery era to the present day, and sought to foster critical thinking and informed citizenship,” the release adds. The program “also explored how to live the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution,” the release notes.

A reception for the exhibit will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on May 27, the release says.

The exhibit will feature works by Michael Kinsey, a Sarasota-based filmmaker, photographer and content creator, plus photos taken by others during the Freedom School’s run, the release continues. Further, a quilt made by the students, with designs linked to subjects covered in the Freedom School, will be on display.

The exhibit will remain at the library for several weeks, the release notes.

Funding for the Freedom School was provided by grants from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Barancik Foundation, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Johnston Family Foundation, the Masala Giving Circle, Gamma XI Boule, and many individual donors, the release adds. Accommodations were provided by the Friends of the Betty J. Johnson Library and the African American Cultural Resource Center.

“The Association for the Study of African American Life and History is a century-old educational organization founded by Carter G. Woodson,” the release explains. The second African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University, Woodson “is considered to be ‘the father of Black history,’ ” the release points out. The organization is dedicated to exploring and preserving the history of Black Americans, their accomplishments and challenges.

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