UNION, NJ – The Township of Union has announced Black History Month celebrations, including a kick celebration on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall, 1976 Morris Avenue.

The kick-off event will feature a “Live History” performance by Keith Henley of the American Historical Theatre as Langston Hughes.

“In light of the events of the past year, and the cases of injustice that seem to continue to plague our societies, I believe that the works of Langston Hughes have a relatable story to tell to those who find themselves in need of hope in today’s world,” said Mayor Suzette Cavadas. “We are proud to bring Mr. Henley to Union to tell Hughes’ story.”

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Hughes was a poet who utilized the American language, music, slang and religious views to educate the world about African American lifestyles during the Harlem Renaissance. His jazz poetry depicted the real life experiences of blacks in the lower social-economic strata. His criticisms focused on the divisions and prejudices, based on skin color within the black community.

Henley’s portrayal deals with the issue of how to be oneself, and encourages all to joy in the knowledge that “I too have a song to sing” and to ask the question “why not me?”

Union’s Black History celebrations continue through Tuesday, February 28th when they will announce the winners of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest.

Following the Kick-off event, residents are invited to enjoy the traveling Black History Month Film Festival which includes a free screening of the movie “Hidden Figures” at Union Theater on Tuesday, February 21 at 6:00 p.m. and a free screening of “Southside with You” – the story of Barack and Michelle Obama, at Jefferson School on Saturday February 18 at 2:00 p.m.

The complete list of Union’s Black History Events is as follows:

·         Tuesday, February 7 – Langston Hughes Kick-off event, 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall, 1976 Morris Ave., sponsored by the Township of Union.

·         Tuesday, February 14 – Screening of “Garrets Gift,” 11:00 a.m. at the Vauxhall Branch Library, 123 Hilton Ave, Vauxhall, sponsored by the Union Public Library.

·         Saturday, February 18 – Screening of “Southside with You,” 2:00 p.m. at Central Five-Jefferson School, 155 Hilton Ave, Vauxhall, sponsored by the Township of Union. 

·         Tuesday, February 21 – Screening of “Hidden Figures,” starting at 6:00 p.m. at Union Theater, 990 Stuyvesant Ave. Includes popcorn and a drink. Sponsored by the Township of Union and Empire Union Cinemas.

·         Thursday, February 23 – Screening of “Journey of Henry ‘Box’ Brown,” 3:00 p.m. at the Vauxhall Branch Library, 123 Hilton Ave, Vauxhall, sponsored by the Union Public Library.

·         Saturday, February 25 – Screening of “Race,” 1:00 p.m. at the Union Public Library, 1980 Morris Ave., sponsored by the Union Public Library.

·         Tuesday, February 28 – Announcement of the Winners of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr, Essay Contest, 7:30 p.m. at the Township Committee Meeting, Town Hall, 1976 Morris Ave.

All events are free to attend and are family friendly.

For additional information about the Township of Union’s Black History Celebrations and in-depth information on each event, visit www.uniontownship.com or contact Natalie Pineiro, Public Information Officer, at 908-851-5096; via email at publicinfo@uniontownship.com.