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Kingston hosts Black History Month event Feb. 29 at City Hall – Daily Freeman

KINGSTON, N.Y. — The city will host a Black History Month event featuring a performance by Bard College’s Jazz Ensemble and a talk by Civil Rights Attorney Michael Sussman on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

The event, titled “Honoring the Dream: From Our Ancestors to Us,” will feature the Bard Conservatory Jazz Ensemble, performing Civil Rights-era compositions and a talk by Sussman.

Sussman has argued more than 300 cases in the federal Circuit Courts, mostly in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, according to the city. He has also served as lead counsel in more than 1,000 civil rights, school segregation, housing discrimination and complex criminal cases, the announcement said.

SUNY New Paltz Black History Professor and A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center Executive Director Anthony Dandridge will lead an honors ceremony in memory of national and local trailblazers, the announcement said.

Dandridge is an Afrocentrist who prioritizes the importance of cultural lenses when engaging phenomena and has taught college courses on race, racism and contemplative practices for 20 years, the announcement said.

Dandridge is a founding member of the Black Lives Matter at School Collective at SUNY New Paltz, a Co-Chair of the SUNY Black Faculty and Staff Collective, a New Paltz Faculty Sustainability Fellow, a core member of the New Paltz Eddy, a steering group member for The Sojourner Truth Library Antiracist Campus Read.

“The Jazz at Bard College division is committed to teaching jazz as an integral part of the African musical diaspora and, historically, as a place where European, African, and Native American musical and cultural practices flowed together,” the announcement said.

“We are proud to host this special event at City Hall, and to honor those who have left a legacy of greatness as a part of Black History Month in Kingston,” Mayor Steve Noble said in a prepared statement.

“As our nation’s Poet Laureate once wrote, ‘We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.’ I am proud to work with the City of Kingston honoring the freedom fighters who have gone on before us,” Ulster County Chief Diversity Officer Esi Lewis said in a press release. “We are our ancestor’s wildest dreams and just as they did, we must work hard to ensure that our families, our descendants, our communities will have far better lives.”

The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

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