Lawrence High to celebrate Black History Month

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Music, artwork and food will highlight Lawrence High School’s annual Black History Month celebration and also honor five “trailblazers” on Feb. 22.

The event, which is free, runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the high school that is located on Princeton Pike.

It begins in the hallway outside the Lawrence High School auditorium. Visitors can view and buy an assortment of items from more than a dozen black-owned businesses that will have set up shop.

The Lawrence High School Jazz Band will play at 6 p.m. Visitors also will offered a taste of cultural dishes, and also take a pictorial journey through African-American history.

At 7 p.m., the celebration moves into the high school auditorium. The keynote address will be delivered by Rev. Simeon D. Spencer, senior pastor at the Union Baptist Church in Trenton.

The program moves on to feature dance, music, poetry and performances by the Lawrence High School Madrigal, the Lawrence High School Ensemble and Gospel choirs.

But perhaps the highlight of the evening is the presentation of the Trailblazer awards, given to honorees in recognition of their contributions to the Mercer County area.

This year’s honorees include former Lawrence High School Principal Anthony Watson, who led the high school from 1992 to 2000; Alisa McNeese, who broke ground as the Trenton Fire Department’s first woman firefighter; and Darlene Robinson, who is a vice president at PNC Bank.

The Trailblazer award also will be given to entertainment entrepreneur and entertainment guru Nina Dawkins, and to recording artist Lethel “Show Tyme” Brooks, who grew up in Trenton.

Black History Month had its start in 1926, when it began as a week-long celebration under the leadership of its founder, Carter Godwin Woodson. It was held during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially designated February as Black History Month to acknowledge the contributions of African-Americans.