Exhibit at North Sarasota County Public Library a feature of Black History Month celebration

Public reception planned for Friday, Feb. 3

Congressman Robert Smalls. Photo by Brady Handy via Wikimedia

The Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Department is inviting all members of the community to celebrate Black History Month by viewing the Congressman Robert Smalls exhibit at the North Sarasota Public Library, starting Feb. 1.

The display, which will be on view through Feb. 28, tells the story of how Smalls escaped slavery, joined the Union Army and was elected to the South Carolina Legislature and the United State Congress, a news release explains. He later submitted legislation that created the first public schools in South Carolina, as well as the Marine Corp Recruit Depot Parris Island, the release adds.

An open house at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, will include a short program, a guided tour and refreshments, the release says. Three descendants of Smalls are expected to be present for an informative discussion, the release notes.

The library also will host a children’s day from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, featuring food, games and activities.

All events will be free and open to the public, the release points out. North Sarasota Public Library is located at 2801 Newtown Blvd. in Sarasota.

This exhibit has been travelling the United States since 2008, the release notes; it is being made available with the support of one of Robert Smalls’ descendants, Sarasota resident Helen Boulware Moore.

Other activities are planned at the library to commemorate the exhibition’s installment there, including Sarasota County School District field trips, the release adds.

For more information, call the county Contact Center at 861-5000 or visit  www.scgov.net/library.