Community center to host program about music and the Civil Rights Movement

Tammy L. Kernodle, a nationally-known specialist in African American music and gender studies in music, will present “Everybody Sang Freedom: Music and The Civil Rights Movement” at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center, 621 Lafayette Ave., Middletown.

Kernodle, a professor of musicology at Miami University, was also named in 2012 as a scholarly consultant for the new National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., that is slated to open in 2015.

Celeste R. Didlick-Davis, of the Legacy Youth Enrichment Program that features family and community programming twice a month, said the program will also touch on how music played an integral role for blacks throughout history to eliminate slavery and to ensure that civil rights was enjoyed by all citizens.

In addition to its after-school programming for two hours, twice a week in math, science, language arts, reading and social studies for 40 to 50 children, Didlick-Davis said the twice-a-month family events help engage youths to develop relationships with other community members.

“We want kids to interact with people in the community to help build relationships,” she said. “These relationships will help kids make good decisions and to build self-confidence to handle challenges that come their way.”

Didlick-Davis, who also holds a law degree and who has also been trained at the graduate level in educational leadership at Miami University, said these relationships with community members also help to curb juvenile delinquency, poverty and substance abuse.

The program is an offshoot of the former Carel Cosby free summer lunch program for children. Didlick-Davis, who was working on her master’s degree, said she saw a need to help children.

“I wanted to help work with them with their academics and show kids learning can be fun,” she said. “It doesn’t have to feel like learning.”

Didlick-Davis said the after-school tutoring by volunteers is done in an informal setting at the center, which also provides healthy snacks after school. She said the program survives solely on donations.

In addition to the presentation, a parent information session is also scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the center.

The program is looking for volunteer readers. To volunteer, contact Phoebe Jackson at 513-422-5157 or at

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