2023 Black History Month

More events and programs coming soon!

In celebration of Black History Month 2023, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to present Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud, a free evening of poetry and music exploring the life and times of the poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes featuring WQXR Radio host Terrence McKnight  on Tuesday, January 31 at 7:00 pm at the Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving Street in Rahway.

Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud is free of charge but seats must be reserved in advance. To reserve online, please use the form below.

“We are very proud to welcome Mr. McKnight back to Union County, to celebrate the beginning of Black History Month 2023 with our community. Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud is an enlightening, enriching experience that reminds us of Union County’s deep connections to the great cultural movements of our past, and informs our understanding of the present,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados.

“Langston Hughes is an important voice in the cultural and social history of the Union County community, having lived in Westfield in the 1930’s. Mr. McKnight provides a unique musical perspective on the creative threads that intertwine music and poetry from different eras, and we encourage everyone to come and enjoy this very special presentation.”

Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud was created by Mr. McKnight, who is the speaker and narrator for the performance. He has paired the poems of Langston Hughes with music by Beethoven, two commanding talents separated by a hundred years’ time and vastly different worlds. Each found inspiration and the spark of creativity in the universality of the other’s art form. The evening will also include works by other composers.

Joining Mr. McKnight on stage forLangston & Beethoven: Black & Proud are pianist Kyle Walker, oboist David Norville and vocalist Chauncy Packer.

Mr. McKnight regularly curates concerts and talks at Merkin Concert Hall, the Billie Holiday Theatre, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Museum of Modern Art. He is also the creator of A Langston Hughes Song Revival.

This will be Mr. McKnight’s fourth time returning to Union County to present high quality programming for Black History Month. A full orchestra version of Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud will be presented at Lincoln Center in New York City in February.

This program is presented through the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, and is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Union County HEART Grant program. 

In honor of the 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the Union County Board of County Commissioners joins the nonprofit organization Moms Helping Moms Foundation to encourage residents to donate diapers, formula, wipes, hygiene supplies and other necessities for mothers with babies and toddlers in need.

Donation bins have been placed at six locations for drop-off during regular business hours from Monday, January 16 to Friday, January 31.

“We know that there are families who are going through financial struggles. Anyone can fall on hard times, and the burden of making ends meet is especially difficult for families with babies and young children. We encourage everyone in the community to support our families, in need, by participating in this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, and contributing a donation of supplies,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “Moms Helping Moms is an organization that provides direct assistance to households with babies and young children up to age five, and we are very proud to support their work.”

 “Every donation will make a big difference in the lives of mothers who struggle to afford basic supplies. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a wonderful opportunity to step up and show your support for those who need a helping hand,” said Vice Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, who is the Commissioner Board Liaison to the Commission on the Status of Women.

The donation bins are located in the following municipalities:

  • Cranford: Cranford Municipal Building, 8 Springfield Avenue
  • Elizabeth: Union County Administration Building lobby, 10 Elizabethtown Plaza
  • Fanwood: Fanwood Municipal Building, 75 North Martine Avenue
  • Roselle: Warinanco Sports Center, 1 Park Drive in Union County’s Warinanco Park
  • Westfield: Westfield Town Hall, 425 East Broad Street
  • Westfield: Ralph G. Froehlich Public Safety Building in the Union County complex, 300 North Avenue East

A wide variety of baby and mother care products are accepted, including but not limited to diapers, wipes, hygiene supplies and menstrual products. All donations must be new and in their original packaging.

Residents who prefer touchless pick-up can make arrangements through the Union County Office on Women, by contacting Jennifer Erdos, Coordinator at 908-527-4216 or jerdos@ucnj.org.

The Office on Women is part of the Union County Department of Economic Development. For more information visit online at ucnj.org/women.

 A group of new mothers launched Moms Helping Moms in 2011, with the goal of ensuring that every baby is provided with life’s basic necessities. Moms Helping Moms partners with community organizations, social workers, homeless shelters, schools, and others to collect and distribute essential items including diapers, clothing, formula, nursing supplies and strollers. More information is available at momshelpingmomsfoundation.org.