U.S. Embassy Celebrates Black History Month Across Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 29, 2015 – February is Black History Month, and the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is celebrating it across Ethiopia with cultural and educational events highlighting the contributions of African Americans, and in particular African American women, have made in the fields of music, art, politics and business.  The month’s celebration will open off with a week-long visit to Ethiopia by Sweet Honey in the Rock, a noted performance ensemble rooted in African American history and culture. The ensemble educates, entertains and empowers its audience and community through the dynamic vehicle of a cappella singing.

Sweet Honey in the Rock’s program will include a performance at a reception at the U.S. Embassy to kick off the month, a concert with the Ethiopian musical group Yegna at the Mulualem Hall in Bahir Dar on February 3, a master class at the Mekaneyesus Jazz School in Addis Ababa on February 4, and a public performance on February 4 at Mama’s Kitchen Restaurant and Night Club in Bole.

Other events planned during the month include the eighth annual Black History Month essay contest for high school students conducted in cooperation with the American Corners located in Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, Harar and Jimma, the inauguration of a garden on the U.S. Embassy compound to honor the contributions of Colonel. John Robinson to both Ethiopian history and African-American history, and an exhibition entitled “Hidden Gems: African American Women Artists” at the National Museum Gallery on February 25 in collaboration with Desta Meghoo and the arts community, among other events.

In honoring the important role of African Americans in U.S. history as well as in Ethiopian-U.S. relations, Ambassador Haslach looks forward to highlighting the life and accomplishments, about whom she has said, “Colonel John Robinson played an important role in both U.S. history and Ethiopian history, as one of the first African-American pilots in the U.S. and who helped establish  the Ethiopian Air Force and Ethiopian Airlines here in Ethiopia.  I am pleased to honor him, along with my fellow Americans, with a garden and plaque on our compound so that everyone who visits the U.S. Embassy can visit it and reflect on his legacy.”

Each year since its creation in 1920 as “Negro History Week” and as a full month in 1976, Americans celebrate Black History Month or African-American History Month as it is also called. The month is marked by educational activities in schools, a Presidential proclamation and a celebration at the White House.  Many American states and cities also organize their own events, and media across the country often feature topics related to black history.