Doris Miller book

I'm usually in two minds about Black History Month. I'm uncomfortable with calendar segregation — history is history all the year round — but the month sometimes prove a handy reason for events that might pass unnoticed (or even unproduced).

Here's notice of three upcoming events worth a little attention.

  • Baylor history professor T. Michael Parrish, who with Thomas Cutrer wrote the 2017 biography of Waco Navy hero Doris Miller "Doris Miller, Pearl Harbor and the Birth of the Civil Rights Movement," will talk about Miller's life and impact in the lecture "On Changing Tides," at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Foster 250, Meyer Conference Center in Baylor's Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.

In the book, Parrish and Cutrer tackle head-on the usual discussion of how many Japanese planes Miller, a Navy mess attendant on the U.S.S. West Virginia, shot down during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They note that given the difficulty trained gunners had in hitting moving aircraft, it's probable that Miller didn't shoot down any planes. The authors point out, however, an important part of Miller's story that often is overlooked in the process: how his bravery as a black sailor in a segregated Navy, a hero for all Americans, opened the door for an increase in civil rights advocacy.

Parrish will sign copies of the book during a reception after his talk.

  • Those who like to connect places with the past may want to check out the African-American History tour at the Waco History website. The tour links locations of past and present buildings — A.J. Moore High School, Paul Quinn College, the College View Court-Hotel, the Jockey Club Barbershop, New Hope and Greater Ebenezer Baptist Churches — to stories of Waco blacks, such as scientist James Andrew Harris, singer Jules Bledsoe, Doris Miller and Baylor math professor Vivienne Lucille Malone-Mayes, and general history.

Even if you don't drive or walk by the locations, the listing provides a thumbnail sketch of some highlights in Waco's African-American history

  • History — and inspiration — in song drives the Toliver Chapel Missionary Baptist Church's "An Evening Of Negro Spirituals" from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at the church, 1402 Elm Ave. The church's music ministry is putting on the program.

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