Column: Black History Is American History

Dancers perform at the Nannie J. Lee Memorial Recreation Center in celebration of Black History month.

Dancers perform at the Nannie J. Lee Memorial Recreation Center in celebration of Black History month.

Nannie J. Lee Memorial Recreation Center celebrated along with other neighborhood centers, our collective American story with the annual "Black History is American History" program. It is important to point out that all Americans benefit from knowing each other's accomplishments and contributions. It is that much needed lesson in diversity, moving toward a day where we will be talking confidently about American history from all perspectives, without missing chapters. I guess the other end of the continuum would be acceptance, tolerance sounds so, well, painful.

Under the direction of Ms. Shenika Farmer, the youth at Nannie Lee really put on a performance that told stories of courage, perseverance and triumph of a marginalized people determined to do more than merely survive. There was dancing, singing, musical tributes (Bring Da Noize & MUSE), oratory and even a play. There were also guest performers from Hot Topics All Stars, Therapeutic Recreation and Charles Houston. Kudos to you Ms. Farmer and the staff at Nannie Lee: Mr. Bates, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Biggs, Ms. Turner and Mrs. Resurreccion.

Please come by to see our Black History is American History Museum with replicas of the bus that Rosa Parks said softly, but firmly, "No" to segregation, Birmingham Jail where Dr. King wrote the Letter from the Birmingham Jail, a cotton plant and a slave cabin/hospital. Our resident artists are Mr. Bates and Mr. Franklin.


Youths recreate the bus where Rosa Parks said no to segregation.

They are responsible for most of the museum exhibits. They did a fantastic job.

History is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our achievements. It is also a chance to learn from the mistakes of the past, so that we are not doomed to repeat them. History is less about rehearsing pain and more about embracing the joy of today. We would like to share that with all of you. Next month we are featuring Kathy Holt in the one-woman production of Nannie Live! The Story of Nannie Helen Burroughs on March 17 at the Lee Center for the Performing Arts. If you would like to bring a group of people to support this play please contact me at 703-746-5533.

McKenya Dilworth-Abdalla

Center Director

Nannie J. Lee Memorial Recreation Center