Black History Celebration 2018


Brick and Martyr, Works by Akintola Hanif, Photographer

Brick and Marytr promo image

Brick and Martyr is a multi-media exhibition featuring works by Akintola Hanif, photojournalist and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of HYCIDE magazine. The exhibition pays homage to the residents of Newark, New Jersey, and represents the foundation that the Newark renaissance was built upon, which should benefit all not just an elite or chosen few. Hanif’s work also represents the value of documenting our present, images which will serve as stories for future generations, an archive that provides an alternate narrative on how we persevered and lived creatively and courageously. Hanif encourages a culture of compassion and a review of how class and identity constructs fuel stereotypes about poverty and people of color.

Historically, the role of photography in the Black experience has been known by iconic images such as those of Fredrick Douglass and Malcolm X, and by artists Gordon Parks, Jamel Shabazz, Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems and countless others who document the lives of Black Americans. Today, visual archives, like family photo albums, are tools that enable our ability to share stories and ideas about American citizenship and Black culture. One day, people will want to know: What biases and injustice did we face? How did we live? How did we survive? What type of work did we do? How did we value one another?


Hanif strives to create a space where all worlds collide. He founded HYCIDE magazine in 2011 with a mission to explore the roles we create for ourselves and those created for us, challenging the status quo while bearing witness to the feared, neglected and misunderstood. The independent publication presents stories of survival and freedom without judgement. The entire collection of HYCIDE has been acquired by numerous cultural institutions including the Newark Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas J. Watson Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the International Center of Photography.

Hanif’s photography and film projects have been featured in such venues as RUSH Arts Gallery, Columbia University, Princeton University, Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, City Without Walls, the Newark Museum, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), and the Guggenheim Museum. His photography is also part of collections at the New Jersey State Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Exhibition on view beginning February 1, 2018
2nd Floor Gallery, Main Library, 5 Washington Street, Newark

The exhibition will be open during regular Library hours, Monday through Saturday, with free admission.
For group visits, please contact 973-733-7793.

PNC Fdn logo

PNC Foundation is proud to support the Newark Public Library’s Black History Celebration exhibition and public programs.

Public Programs

Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Lecture featuring Lecia Brooks

Saturday, January 20, 2018
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Centennial Hall, Main Library
5 Washington Street, Newark

Lecia Brooks

Lecia Brooks, educator and speaker on civil rights, social justice, and youth empowerment issues, will deliver the 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Lecture, titled “Nonviolent Peaceful Protest in the Tradition of Dr. King:  Still the Way to Counter Hate and Extremism.”

Lecia Brooks is the Director of Outreach for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama, a leading civil rights organization, where she works on key initiatives and social justice issues, and frequently gives presentations around the country to promote tolerance and diversity.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration will be hosted by Andrea McChristian, Esq., Associate Counsel for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ).

The program will also include musical performances by Kim Armstrong, vocalist, and Jenice Grice, violinist.


Opening Reception for Brick and Martyr, Works by Akintola Hanif, Photographer

Thursday, February 1, 2018
5:00 – 9:00 pm
Centennial Hall, Main Library
5 Washington Street, Newark

Brick and Marytr promo image

Akintola Hanif curates a multi-media exhibition of his own work documenting Newark over the past 10 years. The works focus on the beauty within the communities often overlooked in conventional conversations about the city. The exhibition will include large framed works, smaller encased prints, banners, a life-size cutout, stand up photographs and film.


Back in the Day: Newark Nightlife in the 70s, 80s, and 90s

Saturday, February 3, 2018
1:30 – 4:30 pm
Centennial Hall, Main Library
5 Washington Street, Newark

Doors open at 1:30 pm, and the DJ will be playing jazz and disco music from Newark’s nightlife.  Meet the speakers from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, then enjoy a fascinating panel discussion about Newark’s cultural and entertainment history. From the Cadillac Club, Sparky Js, the Key and Bridge Clubs, to Shanique’s, Le Joc’s, Executive Suite, Paradisio and Zanzibar — panelists will explore the history of Newark’s club heyday, share photographs, hear the music and reminisce.

DJ Billy Prest  CeCe Rogers

Moderator: Former DJ Billie Prest (above left)
Panelists: Booking Agent Julie Black, R&B Performer CeCe Rogers (above right), Jazz Performer Eugene Goldston, and Nightclub Owner Ruben Johnson


#BlackLivesMatter-Newark 2018

Saturday, February 10, 2018
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Centennial Hall, Main Library
5 Washington Street, Newark

The #BlackLivesMatter movement was founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi as a call to action after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 at the hands of George Zimmerman who was subsequently acquitted of charges in 2013.

On February 10, the Newark Public Library’s 3rd Annual Black Lives Matter-Newark panel discussion will examine how we got here and the systemic challenges our families and communities consistently face. Panelists will provide action steps to help repair the damage and prepare for the future.

Dr Robert Johnson Fatimah Muhammad Demelza Baer(1)

Moderator: Lori Scott-Pickens, Director, Community Outreach, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University-Newark
Panelists: Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP (above left), The Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Fatimah Loren Muhammad (above center), Director Trauma Advocacy Initiative, Equal Justice USA; Demelza Baer (above right), Senior Counsel and Director of the Economic Mobility Initiative at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice


After Work Dance Party

Friday, February 23, 2018
5:30 – 10:30 pm
Centennial Hall, Main Library
5 Washington Street, Newark

Put your dancing shoes on!  R&B, House and Disco music from the 70s, 80s & 90s featuring DJ Slim (Randall Taylor)


Women’s History Month Celebration: Storms Weathered Performance

Saturday, March 10, 2018
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Main Library
5 Washington Street, Newark

A musical performance and fictional discussion between four of the most renowned women in blues and jazz history – Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters. Four women, four conversations, revealing and exploring their legacies, their successes, and their struggles, and the survival they all experienced. Starring Patricia Walton as Billie Holiday, Phyliss Blanford as Josephine Baker, Omisanya Karade as Ethel Waters, and Ife Basim as Bessie Smith.


National Poetry and Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Saturday, April 21, 2018
2:30 – 4:30 pm
Centennial Hall, Main Library
5 Washington Street, Newark

Ubuntu Theory

Enjoy music and the spoken word. Hosted by Ubuntu Theory (seen above) and featuring young poets from the community and Science Park High School Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Mario McMiller.