The Nassau County Library Fernandina Beach Branch announces two Black History Month events
The Nassau County Library Fernandina Beach Branch announces two Black History Month events: the 26th Annual National African American Read-In on Feb. 2, and a program on the life of civil rights attorney and Fernandina Beach native, Raymond Brown, on February 26. Both programs will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Willie Mae Ashley Auditorium of the Peck Center, 516 South 10th Street, Fernandina Beach. Both events are free, open to the public and sponsored by the Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library and the Association for the Study and Preservation of African American History in Nassau County.
Read-In February 2 Dedicated to Memory of Willie Mae Ashley
This year’s Read-In in which residents read from works by African American authors, is dedicated to the memory of Willie Mae Ashley who passed away in 2014. Mrs. Ashley was a revered local educator, author, missionary, historian, Nassau County citizen and avid supporter of the library and Black History Month programs.
The Read-In is part of a national program now in its 26th year that was developed by the Black Caucus of the National Teachers of English and the National Council of the Teachers of English to promote literacy and the contributions of African American authors. Everyone is invited. If you would like to participate, select a short passage to read from your favorite African American author. For more information or to sign up to read, contact the Fernandina Beach Branch Library at 904-277-7365. All programs are free and open to the public.
Atty. Raymond A. Brown Focus of February 26 Program
Professor Will Guzmán will discuss the life of Raymond A. Brown (1915-2009), noted civil rights attorney and Fernandina Beach native, who has been described as the “best defense attorney in America… Darrow-esque.” Brown was born into a working class family in 1915, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, graduated from Florida A&M College, served in the U.S. Army and graduated from Fordham Law School. After admittance to the New Jersey Bar in 1949, he practiced law for nearly 60-years representing national figures such as poet Amiri Baraka, activists Assata Shakur and H. Rap Brown, and professional boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. He also represented working-class and indigent defendants when no one else would offer legal aid due to lack of funds, political beliefs, or social status.
Guzmán is an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Florida A&M University and Director of Community and Donor Engagement at the Carrie P. Meek—James N. Eaton Southeastern Regional Black Archives, Research Center and Museum. His book, Civil Rights in the Texas Borderlands: Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon and Black Activism is scheduled for release by the University of Illinois Press in June 2015. This program will also take place in the Willie Mae Ashley Auditorium at the Peck Center.
Both events are free, open to the public and sponsored by the Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library and the Association for the Study and Preservation of African American History in Nassau County. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations to participate in these programs should contact the Library at 904-277-7365, or the Florida Relay Service at 1-800-955-8771 at least five days in advance to request accommodations.