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US Embassy in Black History Month mood

United States (US) Embassy will hold a number of activities in Lilongwe as part of commemorating the Black History Month 2020.

A press statement from US Embassy says each February, Americans celebrate Black History Month, an opportunity to honour the achievements and celebrate the rich heritage of African Americans.

According to the statement, the theme for 2020 Black History Month is ‘African Americans and the Vote’ to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which granted black men the right to vote in 1870.

US Embassy Public Affairs Officer, Douglas Johnston, said to commemorate Black History Month 2020, the US Embassy has organised two panel discussions on embracing African American and Malawian Culture and History.

“The aim of the discussions is to celebrate the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality in every field from science and the arts to politics and religion,” Johnston said.

The first discussion according to him, is titled ‘Remembering the past to inform the present and future on why struggle is needed for liberation’ which will be held today.

The second, titled ‘50 Shades of Black’ will be held on February 27.

“Both will take place from 12:00 noon – 2pm at the John F. Kennedy American Centre, located in Old Mutual Building, City Centre, and are open to the public,” he said.

Other activities throughout the month, include movies shown at lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesday at the John F. Kennedy American Centre.

Johnston said the fight for rights and freedoms by African American in the US, inspired many Africans to do the same at home.

“Malawi’s own early freedom fighter Reverend John Chilembwe was inspired to demand freedom from British colonial rule following his education in America and interaction with African Americans in the 1890s. Throughout the years since Chilembwe, Malawians at different levels have been influenced by the continuing insistence of African Americans on their rights and dignity expressed through culture, art, education, politics and the achievements of statesmen such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche,” he said.

The Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African- American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed unofficially in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

According to US Embassy, it began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora and is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.

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