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Black History Month 2019 is finally here! Join us as we celebrate our heritage and history all month long on Star 94.5!

Local Black History Month Events

Black History Art Showcase

oin us February 15, 2019 at 7pm for the reception of Zoraye Cyrus, Trevon Jakkar, Alejandro Watson, and Christopher Santos.

Witness firsthand of an observation and critique of black culture in America!

Register in advance for a free drink!

Black History Month Arts Inspired Festival

Celebrate Black History Month this February with a dynamic showcase of the Art, Culture and Business Community. Celebrate the beauty of Black History on February 17th 2019 at Orlando Fashion Square Mall!

On February 17th you are invited to A Family Style Celebration of Black History with

  • Music & Cultural Presentations
  • A Walk through Africa through Art
  • Step Show
  • Fashion Show

All presented in the middle of a Business Expo and Art Expo. MORE DETAILS HERE!

Black Heritage Festival

The mission is to increase awareness and appreciation for African American culture, community diversity and history through educational activities, which are designed to interest every one of many cultures and backgrounds. Activities include educational tours through the museum, music, art, cultural exhibits, demonstrations, historical tools, food, dress, storytelling as well as life stories told by seniors from the New Smyrna Beach community. In years past, the attendance for the three-day festival is usually two to three thousand people including locals as well as out of town visitors.

Black History Month Vignettes

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Black History Month Trivia

2019 MLK Parade

2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Parade

2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Parade

A Celebration Of Heritage

Elusive African black leopard caught on camera

A wildlife photographer and biologists working in Kenya have captured images that scientifically document the elusive African black leopard for the first time in more than a century, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Images of the animal were caught on camera traps set up at Kenya’s Laikipia Wilderness Camp by British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, according to The Guardian. He released the images Monday.

“I have never seen a high-quality image of a wild black leopard come out of Africa, even though stories of them being seen are sometimes told… ‘a friend of a friend saw a black leopard crossing the road early one morning,’” Burrard-Lucas wrote in a blog post. “As far as I know, these are the first high-quality camera trap photographs of a wild melanistic leopard ever taken in Africa.”

Black leopards, which have dark coats from a condition opposite of albinism known as melanism, are known in Africa and Asian as black panthers, according to USA Today. The animals have been sighted in the forests of Asia, but they are extremely uncommon in Africa, the newspaper reported.

Burrard-Lucas said he traveled to Laikipia after hearing of black leopard sightings in the area. He said that with the help of locals he was able to determine where leopards were likely to appear and set up camera traps consisting of Camptraptions wireless motion sensors, high-quality DSLR cameras and flashes.

Initially, he caught little more than common hyenas on camera. However, he said that changed after several nights of checking the traps.

“I checked them and by the time I got to the last camera, all I had seen were pictures of hyenas but no leopards,” Burrard-Lucas said. “I had a quick look at the last trap, not expecting to find much. As I scrolled through the images on the back of the camera, I paused and peered at the photograph below in incomprehension… a pair of eyes surrounded by inky darkness… a black leopard! I couldn’t believe it and it took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream.”

Nick Pilfold, a global conservation scientist at the San Diego Zoo and author of an article published in the African Journal of Ecology about the new images, said the photos are the first to show the black leopard in Africa since 1909, The Guardian reported. That year, a photographer caught an image of a black leopard in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to the newspaper.

"We had always heard about black leopards living in this region, but the stories were absent of high quality footage that could confirm their existence," Pilfold told BBC News. "Collectively these are the first confirmed images in nearly 100 years of a black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have a black leopard."

Mystery confines Estebanico, black explorer of US Southwest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A black Moroccan slave who explored present-day Texas, New Mexico and Arizona with Spanish conquistadors is credited with being the first person of African descent to enter the American Southwest, but he's all but absent from the states' histories.

Estebanico guided the shipwrecked Spaniards through Native American communities thanks to his language and healing skills before leading a second expedition, which ended in his disappearance.

But while scholars say the American Southwest likely would not have been settled by Europeans without Estebanico, there are no parks, buildings or malls named in his honor like they are for other Spanish conquistadors. Tourism agencies have informational webpages about Estebanico's past, but there are no tourism sites around his historic journeys.

American literary studies professor Finnie Coleman, from the University of New Mexico, said black people "have never had a place" in New Mexico's official heritage and the heritage of the Southwest.

"To embrace Estebanico," Coleman said, "would be to embrace a new narrative."

Scholars believe Estebanico, who's known by many other names, including Estevanico, Esteban and Esteban the Moor, was born in Morocco around 1500 and likely was sold into slavery in the port city of Azemmour by Portuguese slave traders amid a famine.

Spanish aristocrat Andres Dorantes bought Estebanico and took him along for Panfilo de Narvaez's ill-fated expedition of 1527 to colonize Florida and the Gulf Coast. A series of storms left some of the party in Florida while others sailed across the Gulf of Mexico to seek Spanish settlements.

Estebanico, Dorantes and a handful of other Spaniards landed on present-day Galveston, Texas, and began their eight-year journey to find a Spanish settlement back in present-day Mexico. Estebanico guided the last of three fellow survivors through Texas and northern Mexico as a free man while adopting traditions of the Native American tribes they encountered, according to accounts by two of the survivors.

After being located by Spanish authorities, Estebanico and his surviving party were taken to Mexico City, where authorities persuaded him to help lead another expedition into Arizona and New Mexico in search of cities made of gold. Historians believe Estebanico agreed to join the expedition to escape a life of slavery that awaited him in Mexico City or back in Spain.

During his second expedition, Estebanico, according to historical accounts, was killed at Zuni Pueblo either in confusion or because he angered elders with his mistreatment of Zuni women.

Or was he?

British scholar Robert Goodwin suggested in his 2009 book, "Crossing the Continent 1527-1540: The Story of the First African-American Explorer of the American South," that Estebanico may have staged his death to escape slavery.

Coleman, the professor, said Estebanico "was like an ancient Tupac," referring to the late hip-hop artist, who some fans believe is still alive.

University of New Mexico law professor Kevin Washburn, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, said Estebanico is forgotten in the Southwest's story largely due to racism.

"History can't just be the public relation job done by the victors," Washburn said. "It's got to be everyone's history."

Coleman, who is black and Native American, said some tribes blame Estebanico for hardships they later experienced and that may be another reason he's largely forgotten.

"A Pueblo elder once told me, 'We never forgot it was you who brought them here,'" referring to a black person leading the Spanish into New Mexico and Arizona, Coleman said.

Some anthropologists say a Pueblo tribe spiritual being named Chakwaina, which appears in Hopi, Zuni and Keresan ceremonies, is a representation of Estebanico.

The New Mexico Tourism Department doesn't know of any monuments or anything else named after Estebanico in the state, spokeswoman Bailey Griffith said. But the department had on its website information about him and his effect on the European settlement of New Mexico.

Texas and Arizona also have websites on Estebanico's legacy but don't appear to have any monuments honoring him.

The chair of the Twelve Travelers Memorial of the Southwest, a group that promotes the history of El Paso, Texas, through statues, said sculptor John Sherrill Houser had discussed doing something to honor Estebanico, but Houser died last month in Tucson, Arizona, and currently there are no plans.

"It would be nice to have something on him," group chair Kenna Ramirez said. "He's part of our history."


Associated Press writer Russell Contreras is a member of the AP's race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at

Serena Williams champions issues on _ and off _ tennis court

Moments after Serena Williams won her seventh Wimbledon title, she proudly raised her fist in a black power salute.

It caused a bit of frenzy at the All-England Club in 2016, but Williams' action shouldn't have surprised anyone: She'd already been one of the most vocal supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. She was one of the first major athletes to decry the failure to indict a white officer in the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri - while also condemning violence against police.

"What caused me to speak out? Just life," Williams said. "That's just who I am. I always believe in the greater good and doing what's right."

Williams isn't alone in her activism. Female athletes - especially black women - have long been out there pushing for social change. Wilma Rudolph's victory parade celebrating her three gold medals from the 1960 Olympics in Rome was the first integrated event in Clarksville, Tennessee.

But despite their efforts on the field and off, women athletes have to struggle to get the same attention as men despite having as much to say, said Harry Edwards, a scholar of race and sports who has worked as a consultant for several U.S. pro teams.

"We have this twisted, almost-demented obsession with women's second-class status with their physical inferiority," he said. "It prevents us from appreciating the great athletes that they are ... but it also means that it shuts down a potential forum that these great athletes would have where they're valued for their athletic prowess in the same way that Muhammad Ali was, that Bill Russell was, that Tommy Smith and John Carlos were, that Arthur Ashe was, that Curt Flood was, so that when they speak, people listen."

While Williams has long been an advocate of Black Lives Matter, it was only after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the 2016 season that the country really began to pay attention to black athlete activism. Kaepernick added his voice to a growing national movement, enveloping the entire league and starting an ongoing conversation that ventured outside football arenas.

Similarly, few people acknowledge that after the 2016 deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the killing of Dallas police officers, dozens of WNBA players wore shirts with the men's names and kneeled for the national anthem.

It was a black woman, Knox College basketball player Ariyana Smith, who started the wave of athletic protest about the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

On Nov. 29, 2014, Smith made the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture during the national anthem before a game at Fontbonne University in Clayton, Missouri, before walking toward the American flag and laying prone on the floor for 4 1/2 minutes to symbolize the 4 hours Brown lay in the streets of nearby Ferguson.

"We as black women are often invisible, so we don't get that credit," said Akilah Francique, a former athlete who cofounded the Sista to Sista program to foster a sense of connectedness among black female collegiate athletes.

Williams has been a presence on and off the tennis court, not shying away from opponents en route to winning 23 Grand Slam titles or social and political issues.

She spoke up in 2015, encouraging Black Lives Matter activists not to get discouraged: "To those of you involved in equality movements like Black Lives Matter, I say this: Keep it up. Don't let those trolls stop you. We've been through so much for so many centuries, and we shall overcome this too," she wrote in Wired magazine.

Since then, Williams has become the symbol for other causes affecting people of color, including medical issues. In February, she told Vogue that she dealt with a medical scare after the birth of her daughter. She had to insist on getting extra medical tests, overruling her nurse, before her doctors discovered several small blood clots in her lungs.

Women around the country related to her story, talking about similar difficulties in getting proper medical attention.

Female-led activism can also look different than men's, Francique said, because of the unique positions and pressures women face in sports and in life. She pointed to the criticism black women athletes have to overcome about their body shapes, training regimens, skin color, clothing and even hair when they compete in sports - criticism that Williams has endured.

"For many of them just by merely being there and having a presence is activism," Francique said.

Williams' older sister, Venus, who has advocated for equal pay for professional tennis while winning seven Grand Slam titles, believes it is important to have a voice on these issues.

"I think more than anything, we see ourselves as Americans, and that's what we want to be able to see ourselves as, regardless of color," said Venus Williams. "I think that's what everyone is fighting for, that one day we don't have to see that anymore."


AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee contributed to this report.


Jesse J. Holland covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. Contact him at, on Twitter at or on Facebook at You can read his stories at AP at


EDITOR'S NOTE: African-American athletes have used their sports platforms for more than 100 years to impact social and political change. As part of AP's coverage plans for Black History Month, we will take a multiplatform look at how many have and continue to engage in activism, from Jack Johnson, to Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick.

Black athletes in 1980s, 90s not outspoken, but not silent

By the 1980s, America finally publicly embraced the black athlete, looking past skin color to see athleticism and skill, rewarding stars with multimillion-dollar athletic contracts, movie deals, lucrative shoe endorsements and mansions in all-white enclaves.

Who didn't want to be like Mike?

But those fortunate black athletes like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods did not, for the most part, use their celebrity to speak out. Most were silent on issues like the crack epidemic, apartheid in South Africa, the racial tensions exposed by the O.J. Simpson trial and the police brutality that set off the Rodney King riots.

Of course, there were exceptions - more, perhaps, than are generally remembered. And the times and the media of those times did not necessarily lend themselves to protest. But while Jack Johnson and Muhammad Alionce stood up - and more recently, Colin Kaepernick , Lebron James, Serena Williams and others would not back down - black athletes of the '80s and '90s were known mostly for playing games.

"It seems to me that we need to rethink how we define 'activism' since black athletes certainly were involved in various social causes during that era. Anecdotally, I think about them donating to various scholarship funds and participating in 'say no to drugs" campaigns,'" said Johnny Smith, who is the Julius C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports, Society, and Technology at Georgia Tech. "That's certainly a form of activism. However, on the whole, the most prominent black male athletes were not confrontational or outspoken."

When Harvey Gantt took on conservative Republican Sen. Jesse Helms in 1990, Jordan - the undisputed superstar athlete of his time - refused to support the black Democrat in his native North Carolina, reportedly saying Republicans buy shoes, too.

It took until 2016 for Jordan to finally speak out strongly on a social issue by condemning the killing of black men at the hands of police, writing in a column published by The Undefeated website.

Woods said this week that throughout America's history, blacks have struggled.

"A lot of different races have had struggles, and obviously the African Americans here in this country have had their share of struggles," Woods said. "Obviously has it gotten better, yes, but I still think there's room for more improvement."

The mold of the public activist - the person who is willing to lead but also willing to lose everything for a cause - doesn't fit everyone, said Harry Edwards, a scholar of race and sports who has worked as a consultant for several U.S. pro teams.

Some guys are fine "picking up a paycheck" because they don't want to be bothered, Edwards said.

"But that's fine, because that has always been there," he said. "That was there during slavery. Nat Turner comes and says, 'Hey, let's run away. Let's get some guns. Let's get some machetes, and let's fight for our freedom.' And you always have someone say, 'You kidding me?'"

Dominique Wilkins, an NBA Hall of Famer known as the "Human Highlight Film" for his thunderous, acrobatic dunks during the 1980s and '90s, believes social media have amplified athletes' voices - and the Twitter-less past did not offer sports stars the soap boxes they have now.

"We didn't have a platform because it wasn't that type of media around," Wilkins said. "You had the normal, everyday media, but you didn't have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you didn't have any of that."

Wilkins, 58, said people are completely off base when they say his generation didn't do anything or care about what was happening in their communities and in the world.

"We grew up in a different era. We were born in the civil rights era. I remember when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated," said Wilkins, an NBA analyst for Atlanta Hawks games for Fox SportsSouth. "People who say we didn't care don't know what they're talking about. ... We cared. We were a part of it, so we cared.

"Our parents lived it. Our grandparents lived it. How can we not care?"

The activism of the time was different, said sports historian Victoria Jackson, who works in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.

Behind the scenes, superstar athletes worked in their communities and with schools - without making their activities known or asking for publicity for their time. Millions of dollars went to schools like historically black colleges and universities - as well as other deserving charities including social justice charities - without public acknowledgment, Jackson said.

"While we might have seen a decline in athletes voicing strong opinions publicly about systemic racism, police brutality, criminal justice and education and residential and workplace reform, and perhaps the growth of endorsements contributed to this, I would suspect - if we did a little digging - we'd find countless stories of athletes doing work in the space of social justice and that this is the constant theme in the long historical arc," she said.

There were some who spoke loudly. A dashiki-wearing point guard Craig Hodges, Jordan's teammate on the Chicago Bulls, presented then-President George H. W. Bush with a letter in 1991, urging more concern for African-Americans during one of the Bulls' championship trips to the White House.

During the 1995-96 season, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf began stretching or staying in the locker room during the national anthem. Abdul-Rauf was suspended for one game. But at season's end, despite averaging 19.2 points and 6.8 assists, he was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Sacramento Kings. And when his contract expired two years later, he couldn't get a tryout and was out of the league at age 29.

Those protests, some say, may not represent the most radical actions of black athletes of the time, which were in the boardrooms, not on the streets.

Jordan built a brand that turned him into a Nike powerhouse, where he brought African-American businessmen and women up the ladder with him, before becoming the first black sports billionaire with his NBA team ownership of the Charlotte Hornets.

Magic Johnson, in addition to building a business empire, spoke out passionately about the HIV/AIDS crisis after contracting the disease. The NFL's Man of the Year award was long named for Walter Payton, who pushed organ donation into the public limelight in his native Chicago and around the country through his foundation while advocating for minority ownership in professional football.

Mike Glenn, a 10-year NBA veteran who played from 1977-87 and member of the National Basketball Retired Players Association board of directors, believes how those first black millionaires went about their business helped build the foundation that allows athletes to speak out today.

"I think all of them were aware of backlash," said Glenn, a collector of documents on African American history and culture . "They were aware that if you say certain things it may hurt your brand, or may hurt your ability to do things or that maybe even the league would take a different look at you. I think it was an insecurity of their position regardless of how much success they had."

Jordan and other iconic athletes of that period established the power of individual sports brands, a transitional platform Glenn believes athletes benefit from today.

"LeBron has took what Michael had," Glenn said, "and taken it a step further."


AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower and AP National Writer Errin Haines Whack contributed to this report.


Jesse J. Holland covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. Contact him at, on Twitter at or on Facebook at


EDITOR'S NOTE: African-American athletes have used their sports platforms for more than 100 years to impact social and political change. As part of AP's coverage plans for Black History Month, we will take a multiplatform look at how many have and continue to engage in activism, from Jack Johnson, to Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick.



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