Black History Month

Honoring African Americans and the Arts: A Celebration of Black History Month


Honoring African Americans and the Arts: A Black History Celebration. Embrace the rich contributions to arts by African Americans. Join us in celebrating culture, creativity, and the profound story of history.


Countee Cullen (1903–1946) 

Renowned American poet and leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Cullen’s eloquent verses explored themes of race, identity, and cultural heritage, leaving an indelible mark on African American literature. His notable works include “Color,” “Heritage,” and “The Ballad of the Brown Girl.” Discover the poetic legacy of Countee Cullen.


Alice Walker (b. 1944) 

Alice Walker: Trailblazing American author, poet, and activist, born in 1944. Best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple,” Walker’s works delve into issues of race, gender, and social justice. A prominent figure in the feminist movement, she continues to inspire with her powerful storytelling and commitment to advocacy.


John Coltrane (1926–1967) 

Iconic American jazz saxophonist and composer, Coltrane revolutionized the genre with his innovative improvisational style and complex harmonic explorations. A key figure in the development of modal jazz and avant-garde jazz, he left an indelible mark with albums like “A Love Supreme.” Coltrane’s virtuosity and spiritual approach to music continue to influence generations of musicians.


Quincy Jones (b. 1926) 

Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson join forces to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing.


Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965)

Influential American playwright, best known for “A Raisin in the Sun,” the first Broadway play by an African American woman in 1959. Hansberry’s work delved into themes of race, identity, and the American dream. She was also a vocal advocate for civil rights. Despite her untimely death from cancer at the age of 34 in 1965, her legacy continues to inspire and influence generations of writers and activists.


Horace Pippin (1888–1946)

Celebrated self-taught African American artist known for his vivid paintings that depicted African American life, historical events, and religious themes. Despite facing challenges, including a war injury, he taught himself to paint with his left hand and gained recognition for his emotionally powerful works. Pippin’s unique style and storytelling continue to inspire audiences and artists alike.


Janet Collins (1917–2003)

Groundbreaking African American ballet dancer and choreographer. Despite facing racial discrimination, she became the first black prima ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera in 1951. Collins later transitioned to choreography, creating works that blended classical ballet with African American themes and music. Collins’ talent and perseverance broke barriers in ballet, inspiring generations of dancers.


Richard “Cookie” Thomas

A Stamford resident and jazz vocalist who began his music career in Philadelphia in 1960 at the age of fourteen when he had the unique opportunity to open for the legendary B.B. King. Over the years, Thomas refined his talents, mastering diverse music styles, and earning acclaim for his soulful vocals. He’s performed alongside renowned artists and bands, also lending his skills to local organizations and festivals, enriching both local and broader music scenes.