Events: Founding Fathers, Civil Rights Activists and Gershwin’s Porgy

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Monday, February 22: Words Between Two Reformers: Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt: Cultures in Motion Performance

In this theatrical piece, learn about the friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune who was a member of the Black Cabinet, a collective of representatives working in New Deal agencies that worked to meet the needs of African Americans. Free, but seating is limited. To reserve your spot, call 202-633-8520 or e-mail [email protected]. National Portrait Gallery, 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, February 23: George Washington and John Adams, Two Founding Fathers

Author and Smithsonian magazine contributor John Ferling will talk about two famous founding fathers, George Washington and John Adams, and why the latter deserves more attention than he's received. (And no, an award-winning HBO miniseries doesn't count.) Tickets are required. Rates are: $25 general admission. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the Resident Associates Program Ticket Window. Please refer to this page for additional ticketing options. Resident Associates Program, 7:00 PM.

Wednesday, February 24: Sukeyasu Shiba’s Gagaku Universe

Composer Sukeyasu Shiba, a long-time member of Japan’s Imperial Household Agency Gagaku Orchestra, leads his eleven-member Reigakusha ensemble of musicians and dancers in a performance of original music and choreography. Shiba’s works revitalize an ancient combination of ritual dance accompanied by mouth organ, lute, flute, double-reed, percussion and other instruments rarely heard in the West. Arrive at 6:45 and enjoy a a pre-performance gallery tour. Free. Freer, 7:30 PM

Thursday, February 25: All-American Music: Behind the Scenes with Porgy and Bess

George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, which tells the love story of a cripple and a woman of ill-repute living in the slums of South Carolina, has a fabulously complicated place in American popular culture. In a special multimedia presentation, learn about the opera, its legacy and enjoy performances from the Washington National Opera's upcoming production of the piece. (Also check out ATM's post on Todd Duncan, who originated the role of Porgy in 1935.) Free. American History Museum, 7:00-9:00 PM.

Friday, February 26: Sit Down. Stand Up!

In this Discovery Theater Presentation, learn about four black college students who fought for fair and equal treatment by sitting down at a whites-only lunch counter on February 1, 1960. Learn the songs they sang and how they spurred the Civil Rights Movement. Tickets are required. Rates are: $6 general admission; $5 children; children ages two and under are free. Tickets may be purchased online (click here for details) or in person at the ticket office in the International Gallery. American History Museum, 10:15 Am. This event repeats today at 11:30.