African American Heritage Museum to honor past

The Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum in Monroe is honoring Black History Month with guest speakers and exhibits.

From Feb. 1 until May 31, visitors of the museum can view a special collection of African masks and wooden sculptures which come from the Bamileke tribe in Cameroon.

The artifacts are on loan from the ULM Museum of Natural History.

The opening program on Feb. 1 at 11:30 a.m. will feature guest speakers including Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis and West Monroe Mayor Staci Albrittion.

Bettye Kearse, an author, essayist and retired pediatrician will speak on Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. over Zoom. 

Kearse traces her family’s history from the Antebellum South to present-day California and Boston, and investigates long-standing claims that she and her relatives are descended from President James Madison.

Elvin Shields, a twisted-wire sculpture artist and toymaker, will give a presentation on Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. at the museum. 

Shield is a child of sharecroppers from the Cane River plantations who started making toys at five years old. 

From Feb. 1 until March 1, there will also be a quilt exhibition to showcase African American quilt art from Louisiana and the Delta region.