KENSINGTON, Maryland — On three February weekends during the traditional Black History Month celebrations, Black members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) will speak, teach, and perform at the Washington, DC Temple Visitors’ Center in Kensington, Maryland. 

All events are free.

Former NFL Raiders superstar Burgess Owens and his wife, Josie, will share their inspiring experiences with messages for all ages: “Can You Be Spiritual and Succeed in the World.”

Ahmad S. Corbitt, President of the Cherry Hill, New Jersey  Church Stake (diocese) covering South Jersey, will share his experiences as a convert and his rise in leadership in the Church.  He serves as Director of the Church’s New York Office of Public and International Affairs.

Bernard Balibuno, a Hutu/Tutsi, who is program officer, Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, will also speak.

A family history workshop on Afro and African-American research for anyone interested in tracing their genealogical roots will be held.  (See below for times and topics)

Sam Warren, a member of the original “Drifters” musical group and a recent convert to the Church from the DC area, will perform.

Alvin Jackson, bishop of the Kensington, Maryland Ward, formerly a Boeing Company director of legislative affairs, and manager of governmental affairs for the General Aviation Manufacturers’ Association, basketball player and coach, will speak on the topic “Why I Believe” (in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

Also performing is the DC Shiloh Baptist Church’s Wallace Charles Smith Fellowship Ensemble under the direction of Marvin A. Ford and Para Palmore.

The Visitors’ Center will display local, historical and international Black history artifacts and collages.  Movies revealing the lives of some of the original and contemporary Black members, from Gladys Knight to Black Mormon pioneers, will be shown.

Betty Cannon is Coordinator for the Black Heritage Celebration, with the assistance of her husband, Mark Cannon, former Administrative Assistant to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Schedule of Events
February 12, 2006, Sunday
7:00 p.m.

Contemporary Black Pioneer Fireside.
Speakers:  Ahmad Corbitt, a graduate of Rutgers Law School, presently serves as Director of the New York Office of Public and International Affairs, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and President of the Church’s Cherry Hill, NJ Stake (diocese).

Bernard Balibuno (Hutu/Tutsi) (Georgetown University)
Herma Hosang of Fairfax, Virginia; Mormon Church representative to the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington Songs by Sam Warren, of the famous “Drifters” group.(4,000 performances and still going!)

February 18, 2006, Saturday
1:00-4:30 p.m.

Family History Conference:  “Looking Back and Moving Forward.” A family history workshop on Afro, African-American and Caribbean research.  This is open to all cultures interested in learning how to research genealogical roots.  Keynote address:  Carolyn Rowe, National President of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.  In cooperation with the Prince Georges Chapter (AAHGS) and Montgomery County Historical Association.

Family History Conference Agenda:

1:00-1:50 Opening session.
  Keynote Speaker Carolyn Rowe, NationalPresident of the Afro-American Historical andGenealogical Society
2:00-2:50 Land Records;; Oral History
3:00-3:50 Black History outside the US; Cemetery and Funeral Home Records; Preserving
Today for Tomorrow Photos.
4:00-4:30 Round Table Question and Answers, andClosing.

February 19, 2006, Sunday
7:00 p.m.

“Why I Believe” Fireside:  Alvin Jackson, bishop of the Kensington, Maryland Ward (congregation).  Mr. Jackson holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and owns his own business.  He is formerly Boeing Co.’s director of legislative affairs; manager of government affairs for General Aviation Manufacturers’ Association.

February 26, 2006, Sunday
7:00 p.m.

Former University of Miami and NFL-Raiders Super Bowl champion Burgess Owens and his wife Josie Owens.  Topic:  “Can you be spiritual and still succeed in the world?”
Music is by the Wallace Charles Smith Fellowship Ensemble from the District of Columbia’s Shiloh   Baptist Church.

Movies Available: “Lives of Service” (the gospel in action in Africa) 16 minutes
(shown anytime) in “Saints In Africa” (pioneer emphasis) 19 minutes
Addition to    “Ghana Temple Dedication”   
2 minutes
Displays   “Pioneers in Africa”   55 minutes
  “Gladys Knight”   13 minutes
  “Jane Manning James” (Kirtland to SLC Pioneer) 17 minutes

For more information, please contact Myrna Wahlquist, (703) 893-3556.  Email: