Program Will Highlight Topeka's Black History ; Gospel Music to Share Stage with Author

By Anderson, Phil | The Topeka Capital-Journal, February 14, 2015 | Go to article overview

Program Will Highlight Topeka's Black History ; Gospel Music to Share Stage with Author


Anderson, Phil, The Topeka Capital-Journal


In what may be the first of its kind, a multimedia historical presentation titled "Celebrating African American Topeka" will take place next weekend at a local church.

The program, which coincides with Black History Month, will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Topeka Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2401 S.W. Kingsrow. Admission is free and no offering will be taken.

Sherrita Camp, author of "African American Topeka: A Photohistory," will be the featured speaker. Camp, a 30-year member of the LDS Church, is genealogy librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

Donna Rae Pearson, the local history librarian for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, also will take part in the presentation.

Camp said she has made other presentations on black history in Topeka, but never one quite like this one.

"This will be different," she said. "It will be more of a storyline, as opposed to a PowerPoint presentation."

Archival photos included in her book, which was published in 2013 as part of the "Images of America" series, will be shown on a big screen during her presentation.

Woven into the program will be gospel music furnished by both the St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church men's ensemble and the Topeka Community Mass Choir.

The choirs' presentations will fit in nicely with the program, Camp said, as they will provide a glimpse of what it was like years ago when musical groups from one predominantly black church would travel to sing for another congregation.

For Camp, the event will allow her to delve into the rich history of the early black settlers in Topeka, many of whom arrived around the time of the Civil War. …

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