Black History Month Fair brings culture to Columbia - DatelineCarolina

Black History Month Fair brings culture to Columbia

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Fair visitor Marcus works up the courage to touch a snake in the "City of Reptiles" exhibit. Fair visitor Marcus works up the courage to touch a snake in the "City of Reptiles" exhibit.
Allen University professor Dr. Nancy Tolsen explains the importance of sharing culture with children. Allen University professor Dr. Nancy Tolsen explains the importance of sharing culture with children.

 By: Sarah Ferraro


The Richland County Library was filled with more than just books on Saturday. Dancing, masks and even snakes filled the halls during the annual Black History Month fair.

The animals were from the City of Reptiles exhibit, part of the Black History Month Fair. The annual event is organized by the library in partnership with Allen University. At City of Reptiles, kids were able to touch and even hold the snakes, some of which were bigger than they were.

Other exhibitors included Carolina Women for Change, Good Will and Allen University Greek Memorabilia.

Benedict College representatives were also present to teach children how to make traditional African masks using only ripped paper. Allen University professor Dr. Nancy Tolsen explained that so many of the event's activities were focused on children because it is vital to share the culture with young people.

"We want to make sure we start at the foundation, which is our children. And it's very important that our children always know what the culture is, especially black children, because we have been a prominent, established people here for a very long time," Tolsen said.

Children and adults were both captivated by musical acts such as the Allen University students who performed interpretive praise dances. The fair also featured a screening and Q&A session for the film Freedom Isn't Free.

Although it may have taken some visitors a little time to warm up to the reptiles, the seven hours of programming were educational and entertaining for all visitors.

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