Two events were incorrectly listed in yesterday's Weekend section. "Black and Blue," songs and poetry from the Harlem Renaissance, will be performed at 1:30 and 3 p.m. today at the National Portrait Gallery. "Curious About Caves" will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday in Potomac Overlook Regional Park.
BLACK HISTORY Month was once Black History Week was once, in 1926, Negro History Week. It was designated by Carter Woodson, a Chicago educator, to fall on the week that covered the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. It's been expanded to a month because, quite simply, there's a whole lot more than a week (or even a month) of things to do. Read on for some of them. On the Talbert Plantation The Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, 2405 Martin Luther King Avenue SE, sits on what was once the plantation of George Talbert. The building itself has been a skating rink and a theater (named for George Washington Carver). Saturday at 1 and 3, a 12-year-old puppeteer introduces some of his friends -- black heroes from the past and present and made-up ones for the future. Historian Chancellor Williams will lecture on the kingdoms of West Africa the next day at 3. A reception follows. Other events going on include a reading by poet Sterling Brown February 10 at a gospel performance by the MacCullough Youth Ensemble February 17 at 3. Call 381-6731. Home at Cedar Hill The house at 14th and W Streets SE is restored in the 19th-century style of its most famous occupant -- Frederick Douglass. It's open daily, 9 to 4, and has a special exhibit this month on National Park Service sites where black Americans lived and worked. Call 889-1736. While in Anacostia "Black history centers around churches and schools," says Louise Hutchinson, who's written a book about Anacosita. Here's one of each to take a look at.
On the northeast corner of Stanton Road and Alabama Avenue SE stands the Garfield School, named for President Garfield.According to Hutchinson, it was designed by Sidney Pittman, the son-in-law of Booker T. Washington, in 1909 and is one of the few early buildings in the city disigned by a black.
One night in 1895, Frederick Douglas was on his way to the Campbell AME Church for a women's suffrage meeting. He had a heart attack on the way and died at the church. The building still stands at 2562 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.
Finally, at the top of Morris Road SE is Fort Stanton, a civil War fort important for its view of the Anacostia River. From this spot, the Union soliders were able to make sure the Navy yards remained safe. On Capitol Hill The Museum of African Art, at 318 A Street NE, will have a series of events throughout the month. There will be an exhibition of works by five 19th-century Afro-American artists, including paintings, drawing and sculpture. On Saturday at 2, a group called Young Strings in Action will perform. They are black kids ages three to ten who'll play classical and spiritual works. For information on other MAA activities, call 547-6222.
There are two statues in Lincoln Park, a small park with benches and a playground at 11th and East Capitol Streets NE, worth meandering by. One is a tribute to Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator and presidential adviser who was born in 1875. The first monoument to Lincoln in the city (yes, long before the big one on the Mall) is also there. Called the Emancipation Monument, it was financed from the contributions of former slaves. The bronze was unveiled in 1874.
You can also stop at Union Station. There'll be a photo exhibit on the District; prints on the theme "The Beauty of the Ghetto" (through February 14); and a display on black history put up by the Government Printing Office (February 19 through 29). I Remember When . . . One of the features of the Martin Luther King Library's observance of Black History Month is a talk on February 20 with three Washington residents who'll reminisce about the city they have known. Many of the branch libraries will be holding contests and films and other programs. For a listing of these, call 727-1186. For some vicarious mind-wandering, you might also consider spending a few hours leafing through some of the books and old news clippings and periodicals in the Washingtoniana and Black Studies divisions of the main branch, at Ninth and G Streets NW.
The National Portrait Gallery nearby, at Eighth and F Streets NW, is sponsoring a series this month called "Portraits in Motion: The Black Experience." Later in the month it'll cover Paul Robeson, Bill Robinson and Harriet Tubman. This Saturday, at 1:30 and 3, a program of music, poetry and theater from the Harlem Renaissance will be held in the Model Hall. It's called "Black and Blue: The Harlem Renaissance." A University Setting Howard University was founded in 1867 and named for General Otis Howard, the head of the Freedmen's Bureau. The first students of what was billed from the start a bi-racial school were the four daughters of the university's founders. Now there are thousands of students in undergraduate and graduate divisions, and things for non-students to do there, too.
You might want to take a walk around the campus first. If you do, and it's a weekday, you can stop in at two museums. A general museum, in Founders Library, has items relating to Howard's history specifically and black history more generally. It includes several objects belonging to Joseph Ramey, the first black congressman. The College of Fine Arts, across the campus from the library, also has a museum. This month there's a special exhibit by black printmakers, the earliest done in 1773. Museum hours: 9 to 4, Monday through Friday. History Around Howard Le Droit Park, a community near Howard, began as a experiment in cooperative living, according to the "Black Guide to Washington" by Ron Powell and Bill Cunningham.It's now registered as a historic area, and a walk around the neighborhood, bounded by Florida Avenue, W Street, Second and Fifth Streets NW, will show you why. Most of the original residences are still standing, including the home of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (a private residence at 321 U Street).
If you walk from Le Droit Park along T Street, you'll pass the Howard Theater at Number 625. It was the first black legitimate theater in the country and has recently been refurbished.
Duke Ellington grew up about six blocks away from the theater, at 1212 T Street. His house is not open to the public, but it's said that if you listen closely, you'll hear his jazz waves wafting on the breeze. Banneker and Streets Washngton wouldn't be Washington without Benjamin Banneker, a black surveyor and mathematician. Pieere L'Enfant first designed the street-and-park system in the late 18th century, but he left his job in a huff. Banneker carried out much of the plan. A visit to Banneker Circle, south of L'Enfant Plaza in Southwest Washington, is a good start to honoring Banneker, who is also credited with designing the first successful clock in America in 1761.
For some bits and pieces of information on Banneker's life, you can check out a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of History and Technology.
For Black History Month, Banneker is getting special recognition from the U.S. Postal Service, which is issuing a stamp commemorating him on February 15. The main postal building, on Massachusetts Avenue NW, is also setting up a display of his correspondence and that of other prominent black Americans. An exact date is not yet set, but it should be later in Feburary. Black Images, Black Reflections During most of the week of February 11th, the Kennedy Center is having school groups in for special programs. But on February 16 there are things happening for the general public. At 10:30 and noon, a musical comdey called "Movin' On Up" in the Terrace Theater traces Afro-American history from the 17th century to the present.
That Saturday, too, the Children's Theater of Howard University will perform another musical-comedy-type show, this one called "Black Images -- Black Reflections." It focuses on some of the contributions blacks have made in science, art and athletics. It's a 10 and 11:30 in the Musical Theater Lab.
Eight black authors from the Washington area will be in the lab at 12:30 to discuss their writings, which range from biography to children's stories. You'll get a chance to talk with them and to see a book display from the Martin Luther King Jr. library.
In the North Gallery, surrounded by artifacts of the music from Louisiana (part of a continuing exhibit there), a jazz group from the University of the District of Columbia will play at 1:30, also on February 16.
Okay, let's say you're busy February 16. No need to miss out on the Kennedy Center completely: Music groups from city high schools will play in the Grand Foyer at 6:15 on the 12th, 13th and 14th.
All these activities are free. Voices of Civil Rights A conference on the civil-rights movement is now under way at the Museum of History and Technology. This past week organizers, ministers, musicians and scholars held seminars on the oral and written history gathered in a two-year study just completed. The contributions of community-based songwriters and freedom singers were an important part of the study, and many of these musicians are now at the Smithsonian. At 7 Saturday and 1 and 3 Sunday, they will lead the audience in songs from the civil-rights movement. Call 381-5395. Through the month, the works of 13 photographers will be up in the special exhibition galleries. The photographs are not only of the media-covered marches, but also of local activities of the rural South behind those more publicized events.
The discovery center of the National Archives will be filled with photographs and documents of black history from the archieve's extensive collections. The show begins Monday and runs through April 30, daily except Sunday from 10 to 4. If you call beforehand, a docent will bring many of the items to life by telling the story behind them. Call 523-3183. To Learn More This is only a start of what's available in this city. If you're interested in a deeper look, the Martin Luther King Jr. library, the Moorland-Spingarn Collection of Howard and the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (1401 14th Street NW) maintain books and periodicals. There are also two books you can use for a tour-on-your-own: "The Black Guide to Washington," by Ron Powell and Bill Cunningham and "The Anacostia Story: 1608 to 1930," by Louise Hutchinson.