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It is February!

Did you know Palm Beach County (PBC) has a very rich black history? And throughout the entire month of February—better known as Black History Month, of course—cocowire will tell those rich stories about our history, both past and present. Present, as in those who are ‘making history’ right now. We will also include ways to learn more about local history, through organizations like AARLCC and the PBC Historical Society, and even, through the state of Florida, which also tells local history in a variety of ways.

But our focus will not be on Florida, nor on America. The focus is Palm Beach County. From S.D. Spady to Cracker Johnson to Bill Holland, from learning which PBC city leads the state with the most black residents to the only place in the world where Obama meets MLK. What black PBC resident was the first to win elective office in the nine-state south after Reconstruction? Where had been the county’s first black-owned bank and what happened to it? Who is that movie producer of Haitian descent who lives here? And more.   

According to the U.S. Census using 2018 data, blacks make up 19.6 percent of PBC’s 1.47 million residents. That means we—African-Americans, Caribbean-Americans, native Africans—total nearly 300,000 county residents. That number is growing—in diversity, in locations, in interest. That’s primarily because of the rich influx of people of Caribbean descent, especially from Haiti.

So, come back to cocowire to learn something new about local history. Just look for our Black History Month logo, above. And if you know of something interesting to share, tell us at news@cocowire.net. go coco!

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…that you can see ‘Black Panther’ for free?

‘Tis true: Black Panther is back in hundreds of theatres for free across the country–including in West Palm Beach–for Black History Month. Beginning today through February 7, the Academy Award-nominated film will be free to view at 250 AMC Theatres, including AMC CityPlace 20. The Walt Disney Co., which distributed the film, announced the package on its website earlier this week. To be sure the movie is accessible to all, according to the Disney website, tickets are free for everyone and there will be two showings per day at each participating theatre. Walt Disney at the same time announced it is also giving $1.5 million to the United Negro College Fund in honor of Black History Month.

Black Panther was a global phenomenon that shattered box office records; it was the most-viewed film of 2018 worldwide, earned an astounding $1.3 billion and has been nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. For free tickets to the showing here (and around the country), click here and scroll down to the state of Florida. The movie will play twice a day at 4 and 7 p.m. in CityPlace today through Thursday, February 7. Get there: ‘Wakanda Forever.’