Black History Month exhibit at West Orange Arts Center displays local history

Most of the people honored during Black History Month are iconic figures and famous trailblazers.
But an exhibit on display in Essex County brings to the forefront the lessons and memories passed down by local people growing up in New Jersey.
“What are we doing to do for Black History Month?” recalls exhibit curator Carol Black-Lemon. “And that’s all it took for me. I got this.”
The “Sharing Our Stories” exhibit at the West Orange Arts Center features a collection of photographs, artifacts, letters and other memorabilia from the West Orange community. People brought in family quilts, kitchen utensils from the 1950s and even a grandfather’s cane.
“We found a way to display it,” says Black-Lemon,
“And also explore their creative side,” adds West Orange Arts Council chair Patricia Mitrano.
Black-Lemon says that it is all about paying homage to all of those who need to be celebrated.
“Whether you think you know about diversity or not, you still have so much more to learn,” says Mitrano.
The exhibit runs through Feb. 29.