For the upcoming Black History Month celebration, we chose a book, Black Bottom Saints, to serve as the foundation of our programming. The book, Black Bottom Saints, is a beautiful novel about the lives of 50 plus powerful “saints” who were raised up from the Black Bottom neighborhood in Detroit in the early part of the 1900s (i.e., Della Reese, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joe Louis). Black Bottom Detroit is very similar to the Vinegar Hill neighborhood here in Charlottesville. It was a hub of Black prosperity and life that was demolished in the early part of the 1960s for “redevelopment”.
Throughout the month, we will highlight a Black Bottom Saint daily. This highlight will include information (image, links, and the author’s description of their saint qualities) and a song from the Black Bottom Saints Playlist. All of this, so that you can enjoy learning at your leisure and if excited, extend your learning beyond what we provide. Consider each flyer a mini history lesson; most images will lead you to more information. Be sure to explore!
There are a few major events:
All Month: A Community Read of Black Bottom Saints. RSVP for a Chance to receive free copies of the book for you and a family member. One Chapter, Night Train Lane, is provided free by the author to our community.
2/5: A Time for Saints Kickoff with the author, Alice Randall, the music artists Louis York, and the Chief Curator at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Nwaka Onwusa. This event is an important conversation with the author and guests about the importance of this era and community of Saints. It is a reminder that we have people who we can call on in difficult times for reminders that we will get through crises in good form. We hope to be inspired to celebrate our own Saints in time.
2/26: Black Bottom Saints: A Playlist. Carter Little is a music supervisor who helped curate the Black Bottom Saints playlist. He will join us for a presentation, discussion of the music and cultural climate that produced it, then a Question and Answer segment about his continued work in the industry with many Grammy-nominated artists to celebrate their music and impact.
3/1: Women’s History (Black Women’s History) Month will have Ms. Randall giving a keynote address focused on the impact of the women Saints in her book.