The greater Tampa community is coming together to celebrate the rich cultural history, strength and traditions of African Americans. We've put together a few events that honor the best of the best — an MLK Day parade, complete with all the bells and whistles (and drums) we expect in a celebration, an outstanding fine art exhibition about African American life back in the day and a festival that entertains in the great name of Martin Luther King Jr. Also check out the other happenings we've scoped out for upcoming Black History Month. —ES
African American Life and Family See an exhibition that mines the MFA’s Dandrew-Drapkin donation of 14,000 photographs gifted in 2009 and 2010 to organize a display inspired by Du Bois’s endeavor. To create the homage, curatorial assistant Sabrina Hughes sifted through the photographs — not only those by known photographers, but many more vernacular photos accompanied by little, if any, information about their makers, their subjects, their places of origin or their reasons for existence — opening a window onto the lives of African Americans from the mid-1800s to the mid-20th century. The 46 images Hughes has selected span the gamut from silver gelatin prints to postcards, cartes-de-visite (affordable portraits on calling cards popular during the 1860s), a daguerreotype, a family photo album and a hand-colored “crayon portrait,” encompassing studio portraiture, journalism, and other discoveries, such as a group picture of the 300-plus members of a black battalion of engineers newly returned from France after World War II. Gallery Talk with curatorial assistant Sabrina Hughes on Sun., Jan. 18, 3-4 p.m. Cinema@theMFA: Through A Lens Darkly (2014, dir. Thomas Allen Harris) on Thurs., Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m. Through May 3. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. 727-896-2667. fine-arts.org. (Text by Megan Voeller)
Black on Black Rhyme Tampa Black on Black Rhyme is an international collective of Poets & Artists who perform and share their poetry for love, healing, enlightenment, education & entertainment. With open mics and community organizations in Florida, Georgia and Abu Dhabi; Black on Black Rhyme Tampa provides an open ear and mic for those seeking to be heard. Black on Black Rhyme Tampa is an open mic welcome to all art forms. Grab your notebooks, instrumentals, tap shoes, saxophones, paint brushes or whatever form you use to express yourself and come let your inner self be heard. $7.00. Last Sunday of every month, 8:30-11:45 p.m. Alez Haitian Cuisine, 1428 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa. 813-601-2248. saywordpoetry.com.
9th Annual Black, Brown College Bound Summit. Emmy award-winning TV personality Steve Harvey will headline the 9th Annual Black, Brown College Bound Summit. The four day BBCB Summit brings in various speakers and educators from around the country to inspire African American and Latino young men to attend college. The BBCB Summit is sponsored by Hillsborough Community College and almost two-dozen corporate sponsors. $100 to 550 Wed., Feb. 18, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs., Feb. 19, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 20, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 21, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. $100 to 550. 813-253-7000. 700 S. Florida Ave., Tampa. blackbrowncollegebound.com.
Gospel Sunday Brunch There’s nothing quite like the taste of home-style soul food. Join Sylvia’s, Queen of Soul Food, for Sunday brunch at the Manhattan Casino. The event will last from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and will also feature live gospel music. Sundays, 11 a.m. Manhattan Casino, 642 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg. sylviasstpete.com.
Script-in-Hand Scenes from Zora Neale Hurston’s Polk County Improbable Athenaeum presents a performance of the long lost work as “a fleeting chance for audiences to discover Hurston’s powerful narrative and rich idiom.” The story follows brave and fierce Big Sugar, aspiring musician Leafy Lee, and poetic visionary Lonnie as they strive to create lives with some beauty, music, and love in the hard-scrabble, lawless, hand-to-mouth environment of The Lofton Lumber Company’s sawmill camp.” Noted local actors Tia Jemison, Robert Richards Jr., and Amber Wilson Forbes will perform. Free. Sat., Jan. 17 at 2:00 p.m. Seminole Heights Branch Library, 4711 Central Ave., Tampa. 813-273-3652. ImprobableAthenaeum.org.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade — Tampa The annual parade celebrates its 25th anniversary; begins at 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, before it travels east to 22nd Street and ends at Osborne Avenue. The home-town scene is marked by civic walking units, marching bands and numerous floats. Noon Mon., Jan. 19.
Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands and Drum Line Extravaganza $10 advance, $12 at the gate, $15 VIP. 4 p.m. Sun., Jan. 18, Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. 727-388-9494.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Festival Commemorate with a march, live music, children’s activities and a craft tent. Free. Belmont Heights Little League Park. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., Jan. 19, 2101 East Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Tampa. 813-248-3977.
National Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Parade The St. Petersburg parade is considered to be one of the biggest MLK parades in the country. The route begins at 11 a.m. Monday at Third Avenue S. and Martin Luther King St., proceeds north to Central Avenue, east to Bayshore Drive, and north to Fifth Ave. N. before disbanding at Vinoy Park.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Service Features guest speaker Dr. Ray Arsenault and music by choral groups. 4 p.m. Sun., Jan. 18, Greater Mt. Zion AME Chuch, St. Pete. facebook.com/StPeteInterfaithAlliance.
15th Anniversary Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival celebrates its 15th Anniversary Jan. 15-25 with a 10-day celebration of cultural events that feature national and local speakers, musicians, artists, poets and craftspeople — all commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Signature events include the renowned two-Day Music Fest in Downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park, Golf Classic, Heritage Gala, Leadership Luncheon, Youth Night, Gospel Night and a newly added Fashion Show. Performances by Grammy nominated singer Ledisi, soul band Atlantic Starr (pictured), Emmy Award winner Soledad O’Brien, hip-hop theorist Larry “Lak” Henderson and many more. Organizers say that the festival will ring in 2015 on an optimistic note, offering an itinerary loaded with family-fun, healthy and educational activities — and a whole lot of heart and soul.Prices vary. Through Jan. 25. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, 1-888-224-1733, ext. 3143. TampaBlackHeritage.org.
Urban Reflections Fashion Show The show pairs professional runway models with aspiring models and participants from Urban Reflections and from throughout the Southeast. Proceeds from the fashion show benefit Urban Reflections, which teaches job preparedness and provides academic tutoring, in addition to modeling classes/training workshops. $25 - $250. Sun., Jan. 18, 5:30 p.m. Lake Mirror Center, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland. 888-537-5551.
Tampa Black Heritage Leadership Luncheon The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival features Tampa native, Dr. Calvin McFadden Sr. as the keynote speaker for this luncheon. Individual tickets are $15 and reserved tables are $150. Wed., Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m. University Area Community Development Center, 14013 N. 22nd St., Tampa. 813-558-5212. tampablackheritage.org.
Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil Come together to celebrate the life and legacy of MLK Jr. with a candlelight vigil ceremony. Make a glowing origami heart as a reminder of MLK Jr.'s legendary words, "Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that." Free. Sat., Jan. 18 at 5:30-7 p.m. Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum, 2240 9th Ave S. St. Petersburg. woodsonmuseum.org.
29th Annual MLK Leadership Awards Breakfast Organized by the National Council of Negro Women Inc., this breakfast brings the community together in celebration of Dr. King's work and legacy while promoting programs that advance interracial cooperation. The keynote speaker is Dr. Frederick Douglas Haynes III, minister and civil rights advocate. This event precedes St. Pete's MLK parade. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Mon., Jan. 19, 7:30-9 a.m. The Coliseum, 535 4th Ave N., St Petersburg. mlkbreakfast-stpete.com.
An Evening with Soledad O’Brien — Lecture at USF Former CNN anchor and the originator of CNN’s Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien will speak at USF's Marshall Student Center as part of their Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Week. She is expected to challenge the audience to move beyond obstacles and embrace new frontiers in her lecture. Free and open to the public. Tues., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. USF Marshall Student Center Ballroom. uls.usf.edu.
MLK Dedication Luncheon Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, this annual luncheon will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Seating is limited. RSVP by Jan. 20 for a spot. Fri., Jan. 23, 12:15-2 p.m. USF Marshall Student Center Ballroom. multicultural.usf.edu.
The 27th Annual City of Tampa Black History Celebration This cultural extravaganza seeks to honor Olympians, exemplary athletes, sports advocates and coaches. It's hosted by the City of Tampa Black History Committee, Inc. Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick will be on the bill of speakers. The keynote address will be delivered by Clemmie Perry, Founder and Director of Women of Color Golf. Nationally-acclaimed Kuumba Dancers, jazz saxophonist Caleb Lattimore and multitalented artist Jacob Stevenson will entertain throughout the celebration. Free and open to everyone. Wed., Feb. 18, 11 a.m. Tampa Convention Center, Ballroom C, 333 South Franklin St. cityoftampablackhistorycommittee.org