“We’ll be having speakers every day except for Friday, and they’re not all African-Americans,“ Curator Joy Hill Watson said. “Our purpose is to expose to the children what kind of careers there are.
“A lot of the kids that come to the [Black History Celebration] are in the afterschool program with the Etowah Housing Authority and they may or may not see anything except for what their parents do or what their teachers do, but this is to expose them to the great possibilities that a lot of people are doing for their livlihood.”
She added, “We have singers, we have producers, some athletes, bakers, cooks, artists — it just varies because there are so many things people can do for a living.”
One of the featured speakers is Rodney Banks, a singer with the Etowah Jazz Society. Banks said he will speak on his favorite jazz artists and the struggles they faced making a career in music.
“I’ll speak on how I take jazz music and [apply] it to my life,” Banks said.
He added, “I think it’s important to educate our youth on the pioneers who came before them and think it’s important to continue to pass the torch and keep our youth educated.”
At the end of the month, the museum will feature an oratorical contest for students in first grade to 12th grade. Students who choose to compete will need to recite, or read, a poem or essay on Black History Month.
The contest will be divided into primary, elementary, middle and high school levels.
The speakers will begin at 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday all month at the museum complex, 129 Aubrey St., Cartersville.
The Heritage Museum is housed inside the former high school, now referred to as the Summer Hill Educational and Recreational Complex. The high school, which sat vacant for about 30 years after closing in the early 1970s, was rebuilt in 2003 by the Etowah Area Consolidated Housing Authority using the original blueprints. The $1.5 million project enabled the Housing Authority to utilize the 10,000-square-foot facility for its after-school and GED programs, in addition to the Heritage Museum.
For more information or to volunteer to speak, call Watson at 770-873-3146.
— Marie Nesmith contributed to this article.