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Longview Black History Month event showcases the artistic

By Ellen Goodacre
Feb. 9, 2016 at 10:34 p.m.

The House of Tots Creative School Dancers prepare to perform Tuesday during Mardi Gras Jazz and Southern Poetry Night at the Longview Public Library.

Jazz, king cake and poetry were plentiful Tuesday night at the Mardi Gras Jazz and Southern Poetry event at the Longview Public Library.

"I liked the poems they had," said Clifton Robinson, 18, of Longview. "It brings the community together, everybody and the kids and stuff. And it helps black families build unity."

About 10 performers recited a poem or song for an audience of about 35 people during the Black History Month event.

"I like doing 'floetry' and poetry and creating the arts. You get kind of stirred when you get around other people in the arts," said Chanda R. Mitchell, who wrote and read a poem for the event. "And also, it's recognizing Black History Month, which is extremely important to me that we don't forget the past but move forward to the future in unity."

The event also featured a jazz dance performance by House of Tots Creative School.

One artist chose to read a poem by another artist.

"A lot of us have habits, and a lot of those habits are not good for us," said Tonika Yvonne Wheeler, who read the poem "Habits" by Nikki Giovanni. "But we have to recognize those habits and say 'Hey, this is not a good habit, I need to break that.' "

Wheeler is the author of the book "Damaged Goods," which she has adopted into the short-film "Damaged."

"Longview needs more culture, and this being Black History Month, it is important to showcase African-American (artists)," Wheeler said.

Black History Month events

"Stitching a Legacy; The Symbolism in African American Quilts"

  • When: Exhibit runs through Feb. 27
  • Where: Gregg County Historical Museum, 214 N. Fredonia St., Longview

African-American Read-in

  • When: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 17
  • Where: Broughton Library, inside the Broughton Recreation Center, 801 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Longview
  • When: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18
  • Where: Gregg County Historical Museum, 214 N. Fredonia St., Longview
  • Also: Guests encouraged to wear African attire.

Seventh Annual Red Rock Historical Association E.L.I.T.E Pathfinder Banquet

  • When: 6 p.m. Feb. 20
  • Where: Cafeteria of Gladewater High School, 2201 W. Gay Ave., Gladewater
  • Cost: $20 for adult advance tickets; $25 for adults at the door; $15 for students age 15 or younger; children younger than 5 years old get in free. Contact Bennie Moore at (903) 734-5944 for ticket information.

Global Black History Program

  • When: 9:45 a.m. Feb. 26
  • Where: Mickey Melton Performing Arts Center at Longview High School, 201 E. Tomlinson Parkway

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