"People always seem to overemphasize black history in February," said Kenneth Cohen, regional director of the NAACP, based in Flushing. "Black history is a part of American history."Still, there are citywide events, celebrations and speeches planned to celebrate the time of year, he said, and even more are in the works for the future."What we're trying to promote this year is that the movement is still very much alive with the passing of two icons," said Cohen, referring to the recent deaths of civil rights leaders Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. "We're targeting young people to step up and meet the challenges that face the new civil rights movement, which is broad and still targeted at racism."He said the new civil rights movement is attempting to target the younger generation through mediums like their school curriculum.For years the NAACP has been trying to include more black history in American history textbooks."There are a few elements of black history in now, but there are still pieces that are missing," he said. "You have to look a little deeper so it's not as easy to come up with. There's scores of books and information and people who do lectures on this topic. It's not as difficult as you may think and not as hidden as you may think. It's there."In honor of Black History month, the NAACP official said several events were planned around the borough. Feb. 12 was the NAACP Founders Day celebrating the birth of the organization in 1909.In Flushing, a black history presentation at the Flushing House was slated for Feb. 21.A tribute to Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks is also in the works as well as a tribute to powerful women of northeast Queens. Last year the northeast Queens chapter of the NAACP held its first tribute to northeast Queens women where it honored Martha Taylor of Community Board 8 and Monique Dixon and Diana Reyes, whose children inspired the passing of Vasean's Law, which imposes tougher penalties on drunk drivers.The Northeast Queens branch of the NAACP, formerly called the Flushing Branch, was founded in 1943 and has about 250 members.Over the years, the Flushing branch grew and began to attract more members from parts of the borough north and east and in 2001 petitioned to have its name changed to the Northeast Queens Branch of the NAACP.While Cohen said the history of African Americans should be recognized year round, he did say that Black History Month is still a time of year to be celebrated."We're happy there is at least one month," he said. "But we'd like people to remember the history of black people happened in every month. Never forget."For more information about upcoming events or monthly meetings, contact the Northeast Queens Branch at 718-321-2585, or visit the office in the Flushing Mall at 133-31 39th ave., number M89.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@times
©2006 Community News Group
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