story and photos by Ruby Dean
In honor of Black History Month, the Fort Smith Public Library hosted a special celebration of African-American culture and heritage on Saturday (Feb. 22) to a standing room only crowd.
Guests began lining up at 1:30 p.m., and the event began at 2 p.m. at the Fort Smith Main Library Branch and was free and open to all ages.
The program has been held at the library for at least the last twenty years said Jennifer Goodson, executive director of the library.
“This is one of our favorite programs,” she said.
The warm weather brought out a crowd to the event, as Tommy Terrific’s Wacky Magic show headlined the event to a very diverse audience. Children from the audience were able to interact with Tommy during his magic tricks. The magic show focused on jazz musician, Louis Armstrong. Tommy Terrific’s magic tricks related to Armstrong’s songs such as “Hello Dolly,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “What A Wonderful World.”
Tommy Terrific gave a lot of facts about Armstrong as he read along in his Magician’s Book to uncover Armstrong’s nickname. The children in the audience helped Tommy perform using musical instruments and uncovering musical notes to find out the answer to the riddle.
Louis Armstrong was considered one of the most influential artists in jazz history and broke a lot of barriers for African-Americans. Armstrong’s nickname was “Satchmo,” “Pops,” and later “Ambassador Satch.”
This program has been performed in libraries in Kansas City, Memphis, Jonesboro, and Dallas. This is the fifth different Black History Program that Tommy has performed and it is the newest one. It is also his favorite and his favorite place to perform. Tommy has performed for the Fort Smith Library for the past five years. He also does the summer reading program at the Fort Smith Library.
The children and adults were entranced and mesmerized by the magic show. The interactive presentation kept the attention of all while involving the audience by cheering with him after every magic trick.
At the end of the magic show, a reception was held for the guests which was sponsored by Lincoln High School Alumni Association.