Remembering Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Era: Black History Month at the BMHC Lab

The Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) Lab will celebrate Black History Month with a free Bronx community event commemorating the Civil Rights Movement and the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer.  Attendees at the event, titled Remembering Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Era: Black History Month at the BMHC Lab, will learn about Civil Rights through jazz, storytelling, photo-sharing and film, all while shopping, eating locally, and enacting their rights.


Freedom Summer, the 1964 project to register African-American voters in Mississippi, included many Bronx participants.  In that spirit, the BMHC’s celebration will include voter registration in partnership with the Bronx Chapter of the National Action Network.


Schedule of Programming on Saturday, February 22


Voter Registration

3:00 to 4:00 PM


Film Screenings – Freedom Song

3:00 to 4:00 PM

Freedom Song (2012) is a compilation of films pertaining to Civil Rights, produced by Pam Sporn’s students of the nearby Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School (named after a noted Civil Rights activist who took part in Freedom Summer).


Shopping – Bronx vendors sell food and crafts

3:00 to 4:00 PM

The following products will be available: Garifuna cards and coloring books by Isidra Sabio of Afro-Latin Publishing; Garifuna shirts and merchandise by Ivan Moreira; oils, incense, soaps, dresses, and jewelry by Khaddija Dukureh ofNature’s Garden Beauty Supply; CDs and poetry chapbooks by Dr. Hetty Fox; promotions by El Maestro Cultural & Educational Center/Juan Laporte’s Boxing Gym; and food by Hold the Garnish

Storytelling, Photo-sharing, and Film – Digital Diaspora: Stories of the Black Experience

4:00 to 5:00 PM

Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR) will lead an interactive workshop in which community members are encouraged to share their family photos and stories around Civil Rights and the Black experience.  Prior to the workshop DDFR will screen the trailer to their upcoming documentary, Through A Lens Darkly, which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.


Guests are encouraged to bring photos from family albums that represent the significance of the Black experience and Civil Rights in their lives.  Photos from all time periods are welcome but pictures from the 1950s, 60s, 70s are a plus!

Music – Antoinette Montague presents: Sweet Jazz and Blues of Inspiration: The Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

5:00 to 6:00 PM

Jazz vocalist Antoinette Montague celebrates Black History Month and pays tribute to the Civil Rights era with a pride of a people who helped make America beautiful – from Africa to slavery, historic Civil Rights March songs from Mahalia Jackson to Curtis Mayfield – Montague helps the “People Get Ready,” with songs that continue to inspire today.  Montague, a Newark, NJ native, released her first CD, “Pretty Blues,” in 2006.  She has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Kitano Jazz, Jazzmobile’s Summer Breeze Concert Series and as curator and Mistress of Ceremonies for the tribute to Dr. Billy Taylor.


The BMHC Lab is located at 1303 Louis Niñé Blvd. in the Bronx. Take the 2 or 5 train to Freeman Street.


BMHC programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Programs are also made possible with support from the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., and The Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund.


About the Bronx Music Heritage Center

The Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) celebrates the rich history and creative spirit that defines Bronx music, from jazz, salsa, R&B and hip hop to new sounds coming to life across the borough. Founded by the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco), the BMHC is committed to preserving and promoting Bronx music, cultivating Bronx artists, spurring neighborhood revival, and providing free cultural programs for the community. The BMHC presents performances and other events at the storefront BMHC Lab in Crotona Park East, and at venues across the Bronx. For more information about the BMHC, please contact or visit


About WHEDco

The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) has worked for over twenty years to build a more beautiful, equitable and economically vibrant Bronx. WHEDco reaches over 35,000 people annually through energy-efficient, healthy and affordable homes; early childhood education and youth development; home-based childcare microenterprise and food business incubation; family support services; and arts programming. To learn more, visit

About National Action Network
National Action Network is one of the leading Civil Rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by ReverendAl Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern Civil Rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender.
About DDFR
Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR) is a multimedia community engagement initiative where individuals are encouraged to explore the rich and revealing historical narratives found within their own family photograph collections.  The highlight of the initiative includes a touring DDFR Roadshow that activates family photographic archives;, an online web portal that creates community across time and space; and the DDFR SocialNet, a user-generated-content driven social community where people can upload and share their family photographs and stories.


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Programs subject to change – visit for updates


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