Violinist Amadi Azikiwe

Celebrating Black History Month at The New Rochelle Public Library

The New Rochelle Public Library is celebrating Black History Month with a variety of free programs throughout the month of February.

“The Fine Art of Illustration” by Cedric Lucas will be on display through February 25 in the Lumen Winter Gallery, during regular library hours.

Westchester based artist Cedric Lucas has been honing his skill as an Artist/ Illustrator since childhood. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, BFA and MFA from Lehman College, Cedric has 33 years of Art teaching experience in Westchester Schools and has published 12 Childrens books since 1995.

An African Dance workshop led by Bokandeye African Dance Troupe will take place on Saturdays, February 3, 10, and 17, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, and February 24, 1:30 – 2:30 pm. Participants will learn basic traditional West African dance movements, some which date back to the 13th century Old Mali Empire. The workshop welcomes participants of all ages. Registration for the workshop is requested at On Saturday, February 24, 3:30 pm, participants in the African Dance workshop series will present a public performance of traditional rhythms and dances from the Senegambia Region of West Africa. Registration for the performance is requested at 

On Sunday, February 4, 2:00 pm, the Library will screen the award winning social documentary film The Presumption of Guilt based on Harvard law Professor Charles Ogletree’s best selling book, The Presumption Of Guilt: The Arrest Of Henry Louis Gates Jr. And Race, Class, And Crime In America.

In this unique collaboration between author and filmmaker, the camera lens is used to highlight the complex issue of race, class and crime in American society and to shine the light on that dreaded subject that we have failed to confront. America can no longer afford to ignore the issue of racism. 

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s creative personnel Hafiz Farid and Shelley Grodner Seidenstein, moderated by Linda Tarrant-Reid, author, historian, freelance journalist, photographer and community advocate.Registration requested at  

On Monday, February 5, 7:00 pm, the Library will present a virtual program about Madam C.J. Walker, the first black female millionaire.

Born in 19th century rural Louisiana to former slaves, Sarah Breedlove rose to become the first female African-American self-made millionaire in the United States.  Known as Madam C.J. Walker, she developed a line of beauty care products for black women. Walker built a factory, hair salon, mail-order business and a beauty school which trained 20,000 sales agents. Later she became a philanthropist and was active in organizing the NAACP’s Silent Protest Parade in New York in 1917.

Presented by Rick Feingold, a teacher of American Business History at Bergen Community College. He has lectured at over 50 libraries in New Jersey and New York and holds an MBA from Penn State University and a B.A. in History from Rutgers University.

Registration required at  The Zoom link to the program will be provided upon registration.

On Wednesday, February 7, 7:00 pm, the Library will present a virtual talk with Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Park Ranger Kevin W. Bryant. 

Frederick Douglass spent his life fighting for justice and equality. Born into slavery in 1818, he escaped as a young man and became a leading voice in the abolitionist movement. People everywhere still find inspiration today in his tireless struggle, brilliant words, and inclusive vision of humanity. Douglass’s legacy is preserved at Cedar Hill, the house where he lived his last 17 years, in Washington, D.C. In this virtual program, attendees will learn more about Frederick Douglass, and how his home came to be part of the National Parks System. Registration required at 

On Sunday, February 11, 2024, 2:00 pm, New Rochelle Public Library  and Young Musicians of Westchester present an afternoon concert with Amadi Azikiwe and Mikael Darmanie. The program will include works by composers David Baker, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Jessie Montgomery and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Amadi Azikiwe, violist, violinist and conductor, has been heard in recitals in major cities worldwide and has been a guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Amadi is a sought-after faculty member at both NYU and the Mannes School of Music. 

Pianist Mikael Darmanie has performed in diverse settings including The Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall, Rachmaninov Hall in Moscow and is the keyboardist for the band Warp Trio. He is currently finishing his Doctorate at Stony Brook University under the mentorship of Gilbert Kalish. Registration requested at 

On Friday, February 16, 2024, 7:00 pm, The Ray Blue Ensemble returns to the New Rochelle Public Library for a mesmerizing evening of jazz filled with authenticity, sincerity, and a lively swing. Ray Blue, a charismatic saxophonist and composer, is a celebrated performer who captures the hearts of minds of his listeners. Ray’s ensemble of talented musicians include Jeff Barone (Guitar) Nat Adderley, Jr.(Piano) Belden Bullock (Bass) and Alvester Garnett (Drums). Don’t miss this evening of captivating music filled with passion and creativity. Registration requested at 

On Sunday, February 25 at 2:00 pm, there will be a screening of Maya Angelou: Reflections of a Blessed Soul. This documentary film offers an intimate portrait of one of the greatest artists/poets/activists/teachers and humanitarians of our times. In the comfort of her home, Dr. Angelou shares insights on the most controversial and pressing issues, such as racism, mother and daughter bonds, anger and bitterness, the country’s first black president and more, as well as stories of her rich and colorful life.

This film is a recipient of theTelly Awards; Best Documentary Film, Newark International Film Festival; and Official Selection, Garden State Film Festival.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s creative personnel Hafiz Farid and Shelley Grodner Seidenstein, moderated by Linda Tarrant-Reid, author, historian, freelance journalist, photographer and community advocate. Location: Ossie Davis Theater.

The interview was conducted by and for Foremost Productions, an independent multi award-winning New Jersey film company with Award-winning Director Hafiz Farid and Shelley Grodner Seidenstein, both Award-winning Executive Producers and Co-writers. Registration requested at 

All programs take place at the New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle. All programs are free and open to the public.