Black History Month Programs at the Ohio County Public Library

The Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling is offering a full slate of programs celebrating Black History Month throughout February. All of the programs are part of the library’s adult series, “Lunch With Books,” and will be offered each Tuesday of the month at noon. “I strongly believe this is the finest and most complete series of Black History Month programs we’ve ever hosted,” said programming director Sean Duffy.

The celebration kicked off on February 1 with a living history presentation sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive program featuring the great blues singer Bessie Smith as portrayed by “West Virginia’s First Lady of Soul,” Doris Fields of Beckley. Smith actually visited Wheeling to perform at the Pythian building on Chapline Street.

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The series will continue on February 8 at noon with Archiving Wheeling Presents: Lesser Known Legends of Wheeling, featuring Eileen Miller, an African American teacher who taught at Lincoln School then at Warwood after school desegregation following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. Presenters will be Dr. Martha Lash of Kent State University and Monica Ratcliffe Cooper of Pittsburgh.

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On February 15 at noon, Rev. Stephen Wright, the first African American graduate of Linsly will be at Lunch With Books along with a panel of other Black Linsly graduates including William Gummer, Dorian Lee, Jeff Potts, and Scott Allyn Thomas, to discuss their experiences. And the series will conclude on February 22 at noon with the third installment of the Ann Thomas Memorial Lecture Series (sponsored by Bordas and Bordas PLLC), featuring Dr. William H. Turner, author of the new book from WVU Press, The Harlan Renaissance: A Memoir of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns.

Lunch with Books is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. Patrons are invited to bring a bag lunch and enjoy presentations by authors, poets, historians, musicians, and a variety of other people. Complimentary beverages are provided. Though the library is now fully opened and our in-person programming has returned, each program is offered as a live streamed broadcast for those who are unable to attend programs at the Library.

Call the library at 304-232-0244 for more information.