Martin Luther King Jr. Day Has Passed, But Black History Month Events Are Right Around the Corner

This may be the time to start planning what Black History Month events you will attend in February, now that the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has passed. For starters, go ahead and put on your calendar that you will visit the Allen Public Library as it presents some special programs, all of them free.The first will help you learn more about Johanna July, a black Seminole Indian who was a scout and translator for the U.S. Army in the 1870s in the Texas-Mexico border area near El Paso.The event also will focus on RosieLeetta "Lee" Reed, a history buff and lover of all things Western and things related to nature, horses and the outdoors. Reed is president of the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Association. At public events, she portrays characters who help bring to life how African-Americans helped America settle the old West and win the Civil War.Reed will portray Johanna July at 3 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr.Reed works closely with the Cowboys of Color rodeo organization, Fort Worth's National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum — formerly the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame — and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She also offers instruction on outdoor living as director of Lakeside Riders for Youth Outreach and Community Service.Reed also often portrays Cathay Williams, a former enslaved woman who concealed her identity and became the first and only female Buffalo Soldier at the end of the Civil War. Buffalo Soldiers were all-black Cavalry regiments formed soon after the Civil War ended. The soldiers were among federal troops that fought in the Indian Wars into the 1880s. Many historians say American Indians dubbed the regiments "Buffalo Soldiers" because the troops' black wooly hair reminded American Indians of buffalo fur.According to historians, Johanna July was born in an area of northern Mexico where American Indians settled after migrating from their native lands in the United States. She herded cattle and goats for her family and later tamed wild horses for the U.S. Army in addition to her duties as a scout and translator.To learn more about the Allen Public Library's Black History Month programs, call 214-509-4900 or visit TOWN: It was in 1919 — 100 years ago — that a young, unknown classical singer won the first scholarship from the National Association of Negro Musicians, founded that same year. Marian Anderson went on to become one of the 20th century's most celebrated concert contraltos. She died in 1993 at age 96.Now young musical hopefuls from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and throughout the Southwest can compete in association's centennial year for the same scholarship that Anderson won. The Marian Anderson Vocal Arts Competition will begin at the local level before advancing to regional and national rounds. Required repertoire includes works of American and European classical tradition and highlights the works of African-American composers  Continue reading...

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