New York Botanical Garden honors top African Americans

During the month of February, the New York Botanical Garden will honor the accomplishments of prominent African Americans, including plant scientist extraordinaire George Washington Carver, self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, and revered civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. Through a variety of programs held during the winter break for New York City public schools (February 14 to 22), including theatrical presentations, musical performances, and documentary screenings, visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about the achievements of these figures in Black history.

• The Life and Work of George Washington Carver, through February 22: In this interactive program, children will learn how Dr. George Washington Carver introduced the peanut to southern farmers and helped them get the boll weevil population under control to promote the growth of successful cash crops. Donning white lab coats and armed with magnifying glasses, children will investigate the anatomy of seeds, diagnose and remedy sick plants, make an herbarium specimen, and plant a soybean to chart its growth at home. They can also enter a replica of Dr. Carver’s Jesup wagon. In the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden

• Black History Month/African Heritage Month Celebration, February 12 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: The Botanical Garden celebrates Black History Month/African Heritage Month with a multimedia program featuring poetry, healthy eating, dance, and artwork. Anthony Green of Bronx Historical Society will emcee the event, which includes a poetry recital about the works of George Washington Carver by James Robinson; a presentation “Our Culture…Our Foods” by urban farmer Karen Washington; storytelling by Scottie Davis; and African dance and drumming by Indigo Arts with Caren Calder. In the Arthur and Janet Ross Gallery and Lecture Hall

• Documentary Screening: The Garden as Muse: The Garden of Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer, February 14, 19, 20, and 22 at 1 and 3 p.m.: Through her poetry, interviews with family members, educators and historians, and landscape architects who were involved with the restoration of her garden in the early 1980s, this program tells how Anne Spencer (1882-1975) designed her Lynchburg, Virginia garden as a sanctuary that inspired her poetry and a gathering place for family and friends, including George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King, Jr., and fellow Harlem Renaissance icons such Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and her dear friend, James Weldon Johnson. In the Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall

• Live Performance: Gifts From My Ancestors, February 15 at 3 p.m.: Calvin Earl’s one-man live performance explores the legendary story of how the African people enslaved in America created an original music. In the Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall

• Documentary Screening: A Man Named Pearl, February 15, 18, and 21 at 3 p.m.: The film documentary A Man Named Pearl tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar. Born to a sharecropper, Fryar entered the “Yard of the Month” contest for his home and discovered that he had a passion for tree sculpting. In the Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall

• Hooray for Martin Luther King, February 17 and 18 at 1 p.m.: Hooray for Martin Luther King pays tribute to the civil rights leader’s inspiring messages through lively songs, puppets, and audience participation. In the Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall

• Rosa’s Ride: A Musical Dramatization of the Life of Rosa Parks, February 21 at 1 p.m.: This live performance follows the struggles of a young Rosa Parks, who through the indignities of prejudice discovers her strength of conviction and by a simple act of civil disobedience gives birth to the civil rights movement. In the Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall

For more information call (718) 817-8700.

New York, Botanical Garden

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