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Black History Month Opens With Tradition In Cleveland

On the steps of Cleveland City Hall on Saturday, community activist Khalid Samad led the 46th annual Black History Month flag raising. [KABIR BHATIA / WKSU]
On the steps of Cleveland City Hall on Saturday, community activist Khalid Samad led the 46th annual Black History Month flag raising.

An African flag was raised at Cleveland City Hall on Saturday to mark the start of Black History Month. It’s something the city’s been doing for 45 years. And one man has been there every time.

Black History Month in Cleveland

Charles See is the retired head of Cleveland's community re-entry program. He's lived in the city his whole life and attended the first flag-raising in 1975 and every one since. He wants young people to spend the month re-connecting with their heritage.

“Young people in today’s society find it very difficult given the various activities we see unfolding on the streets every day. This would be an opportunity for young people to plug into something very positive.”

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and community leaders spoke during the ceremony, which was capped by musical performances. Activist Sister T was there and wants young people to focus on the positive.

“You just have to find value in yourself, and that’s a little bit difficult considering some of the circumstances we exist through in these times. But stand strong, keep moving forward, offer encouragement, show some love – first to yourself, then to everybody else – and we should be all right.”

The city’s next Black History month event is a panel Monday night at Karamu House titled, “Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Future & Reconnecting with the Motherland.”

A full list of events is below.

Mon., February 3rd

PANEL DISCUSSION – “Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Future & Reconnecting with the Motherland”

6 P.M. - 8 P.M., Karamu House, 2355 E. 89th St., Cleveland, OH 44106.

Panelists include Dr. Okatakyi Amanfi VII, Paramount Chief Asebu Traditional Area; Dr. David Whitaker; Cleveland Poet and activist Honey Bell Bey; Cleveland Photographer & Poet, Vince Robinson; and Cleveland Hairstylist & Author Ladosha Wright. Focus, doing business in Ghana; Ghana as a vacation destination; continuing the year of the return.

Wed., February 5th

FIRESIDE CHAT – “The Importance of Local Elections in the Black Community”

12 Noon – 1:30 P.M., City Hall Rotunda

Panelists include Jennifer Lumpkin, Cleveland Votes; Khalida Sims, Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office; Kayla Griffin, Esq., NAACP Cleveland; Donte Gibbs, Donte’s Gift Express; and Brian Bruce, B&B Class, LLC.

Thur., February 6th


8:30 A.M. - 2:30 P.M., City Hall Rotunda

Held in conjunction with Black History Month to bring attention to the importance of developing a diverse pool of donations. Representatives from Lifebanc and Kincaid’s Kindred Spirits will be on hand to educate about organ donation and Sickle Cell. To make an appointment use sponsor code “clevcityhall” or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Tues., February 11th

FILM SCREENING – TOXIC: A Black Woman’s Story, Racism. Toxic Stress. Birth Outcomes.

12 Noon Film Screening / 12:30 P.M. - 1 P.M. Panel and Film Discussion, City Hall Rotunda

Presented by First Year Cleveland’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss (Pail) Initiative in partnership with The Healthy Neighborhoods Committee of Healthy Cleveland.

Wed., February 12th

SHOWCASE – “Remembering the Dream”

12 Noon - 1:30 P.M., City Hall Rotunda

Featuring performances by Joe Billups and Dion Barksdale.

Tues., February 18th

PANEL DISCUSSION - “The Media’s Role in Elections”

12 Noon - 1:30 P.M., City Hall Rotunda

Honoring the Greater Cleveland Association of National Black Journalists & Harry Boomer. Invited panelists include Kevin “Chill” Heard, Rhonda Crowder, Russ Mitchell, Gregory Lockhart, Leon Bibb, Sandra Bishop, and Nate Paige.

Thur., February 20th


11 A.M. - 2 P.M., City Hall Rotunda

Heart health information, vendors, health screenings, and Guest Speakers. For more information, contact Sandy Wood at 216.857.7474.

Sun., February 23rd


5 P.M. - 7 P.M., The Word Church, 5900 Kinsman Rd., Cleveland, OH 44104

Honoring Jerome “Jae the Gospel Kid” Williams.

Mon-Thur., February 24th - 27th


Continuous, During Business Hours, City Hall Rotunda

Featuring the work of Cleveland Visual Artist Curtis Avant.

Tues., February 25th


12:15 P.M. - 1:15 P.M., CITY HALL ROTUNDA

Theater Production, Central’s Lyrics, written & directed by Cornell Calhoun III. Introducing Aliyahna Nicole Small as Lyric, Dedicated to playwright Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations). Honoring Karamu Interim Technical Director/Actor Prophet D. Seay.

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