The 1920s come alive at the Harlem Renaissance | News | The Press and Standard

by | February 2, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: January 30, 2018 at 4:28 pm

The Colleton County Memorial Library’s Children’s Department presented for the first time an interactive program to inform children and families about the 1920s Harlem Renaissance era.
With Duke Ellington playing in the background, Library Director Carl Coffin Director opened the program and welcomed everyone. Children’s Librarian Shiela Keaise followed by giving the definition of the Harlem Renaissance and why it is important in history. Then, she introduced each station in which guests were allowed to visit.
The program included nine stations hosted by teachers, librarians, retired teachers, community leaders and storytellers. Each station lasted five minutes each and allowed the visitors to learn about:
1. Great Migration (Dana Salley told the story of My-Gray-Shun with the intent of sharing how migration unfolded);
2. Langston Hughes & Poetry (Dorothy Skoland gave a short bio on Langston, allowed us to listen to him read one of his poems on the laptop, then gave us the opportunity to write down our dream);
3. Zora Neal Hurston & Literature (Vicki Brown gave the history of Zora and her work with her poster board presentation);
4. Duke Ellington & The Cotton Club (Heather Tuten shared facts about the Cotton Club and taught us how to do “The Charleston”);
5. Thomas Dorsey & Gospel Music (Abraham Colleton told facts about of how gospel music was started and how many singers transitioned from gospel to secular music);
6. Paul Robeson & Actors (Gloria Breland demonstrated two songs sung by Paul and gave facts about his life);
7. Jacob Lawrence & Other Visual Artists (Bob Carl talked about several artists of that era that showed remarkable talent and style);
8. Science in the 1920s (Cherry Keaise taught fun facts of how science played an important part in the history of the 1920s like sound, food, and technology); and
9. Fashion of the 1920s (Edith Bright Washington showed pictures on poster and computer of different styles worn in the 1920s as she fashioned herself as an example).
Amanda Skoland was the photographer of the evening taking pictures of the guests. This is the second “Photo Project” by the Friends of the Colleton County Memorial Library hosted in the children’s department. Several adults competed in a 1920s Costume Contest and Edith Bright Washington won first place in her black lace outfit, and Cherry Keaise won second place, dressing as a scientist.
In the children’s category Jace Brooks won first place.
This program was successful for several reasons, Keaise said, and all of which require acknowledgement: Dorothy Skoland created large replicas of pillars and the bridge from Tar Beach and offered timely and valuable suggestions; Sherelle Memminger decorated signs, doors and shelves; Heather Tuten brought in authentic dresses and props from the era; Timothy Grant (TJ) helped Keaise select her outfit for the evening; Dr. Harold Rhodes loaned three of his paintings by one of his favorite artists; Belk’s managers loaned a half body dress form.
Special thanks to the children’s service assistants Anthony Chapman and Sherelle Memminger and volunteer Ashley.
Those interested in experiencing the Harlem Renaissance in person, please visit the children’s department during the month of February. “Hopefully, the Colleton County Memorial Library will be a place that you will want to return to learn and grow!” Keaise said.


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