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Q into July

LYSA ALLMAN-BALDWIN | 6/27/2013, 11:57 a.m.

202-783-5000, www.nmwa.org/exhibitions/american-people-black-light

Through Dec. 29

"Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward" (Birmingham, Ala.)

The work of several of the world's finest contemporary artists, including Theaster Gates, Hank Willis Thomas, Dawoud Bey, Jefferson Pinder and Shinique Smith, will be among the highlights of an unprecedented series of projects that uses contemporary art to tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement in "Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward." Presented at the Birmingham Museum Art, the projects are in commemoration of the nearly 50 years that have passed since a bomb blast ripped through the walls of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four innocent little girls as well as two boys in the resulting violence later that day.

* "Etched in Collective History" runs Aug. 18-Nov. 17.

* "Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project" runs Sept. 8-Dec. 2.

* "Question Bridge: Black Males" runs Oct. 6-Dec. 29.

205-254-2565, http://artsbma.org/artspeaks

CURRENT EVENTS

July 4

The Red, White and Blues Festival (Pleasanton and San Francisco Bay Area, Calif.)

Held at the Alameda County Fair Grounds and free with admission to the fair, the Bay Area Blues Society presents the Red, White and Blues Festival. Outstanding blues and R&B performers appearing this year include 5 Tempting Men, the Caravan of Allstars, Sargent Tucker, the Love Light Blues Band and others.

707-647-3962, 510-836-2227, www.bayareabluessociety.net/RedWhiteBlue.html

July 6-Sept. 16

The National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta, Ga.)

The National Black Arts Festival is "one of the premier national and international presenters of the art, music and culture of people of African descent," with a mission "to engage, cultivate and educate diverse audiences about the arts and culture of the African Diaspora and provide opportunities for artistic and creative expression." The founding organization accomplishes this through year-round programming, education and public programs and a summer festival. The summer festival features a variety of activities, including a gala, an international marketplace, children's education village, classic films, dance, visual arts and artists' receptions, and numerous musical performances by local and international talent.

404-730-7315, http://nbaf.org/2013events

July 13-14

The 14th annual Hayward Russell City Blues Festival (Hayward, Calif.)

This annual favorite was created to highlight the history and influence of blues, jazz and gospel, particularly in the Northern California communities of Hayward-Russell City, Oakland, Richmond, Vallejo and Pittsburg. Each year, fans come from all over the country to enjoy the wealth of activities and fabulous performers, the latter this year including Jamie Blues Boy Powell, Sister Monica, Tumble Weed, Alvon Johnson, Ron Thompson and Mississippi blues man Johnny Rawls, just to name a few.

510-836-2227, 707-647-3962, www.bayareabluessociety.net/HRCBF.html

July 21-27

Reggae SumFest (Montego Bay, Jamaica)

Billed as "The Greatest Reggae Show on Earth," Reggae SumFest is a musical celebration with a lineup of some of the most popular international stars. This year's entertainers include Beenie Man, Baby Tash, Beres Hammond, Damian Marley, Kip Rich, Di and numerous others. In addition to the Jamaican sun and fabulous beaches of Montego Bay, festivalgoers will also enjoy a dance hall night, international nights and a beach party.

876-372-6453, www.reggaesumfest.com

Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website.