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Thanksgiving celebration raises money for African-American Historical and Cultural Collection

click to enlarge Clarence and Peggy Shivers, party hosts and philanthropists.
  • Clarence and Peggy Shivers, party hosts and philanthropists.

Clarence Shivers had every right to complain. Nearly 10 years ago, while working on a project about African-American culture, Shivers, a local artist, found the Pikes Peak Library District glaringly deficient in literary resources related to the topic. But rather than make a fuss, Shivers and his wife Peggy saw an opportunity for genuine benevolence. Gathering together funds from anniversary gifts, the Shivers established the African-American Historical and Cultural Collection (AAHCC) at the PPLD, and inaugurated their semi-annual Thanksgiving event: four days of music, art and food for the whole community, with proceeds helping to buy new books and multimedia for the library. As in years past, on Nov. 27-30, the Shivers will host the PPLD Thanksgiving Celebration of the Arts.

The event began a decade ago as an outgrowth of simple generosity, said Peggy. "When my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in 1993, [we] threw a big celebration and decided to use the gifts we received to give a gift." According to Peggy, they have repeated the event every other year "because it's just so much fun for everybody."

Thanks to community support, the Shivers and the library district have watched the AAHCC swell to its current size of over 1,600 items, which include books, DVDs and CDs chronicling the achievements of African-Americans in history, culture and the arts.

"We wanted to make sure that the collection was not sitting apart from the other materials," noted Peggy. "If it's a biography, it belongs with the other biographies. That's the way it should be."

"It is really a glowing act of philanthropy," said Cathy Matthews, PPLD public relations specialist. In addition to the AAHCC, the Shivers Fund, which grants scholarships to deserving young people interested in studying the arts, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, making the festivities all the more special for the family.

The celebration will take place at multiple venues across the Front Range, including a tour of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and a Western dinner and show at the Flying W Ranch. The celebration will also feature numerous musical performances at the Antlers Doubletree Hotel, including concerts by pianist Susan Grace, baritone Richard Taylor, and flute and saxophone player Horace-Alexander Young. Complete with a Sunday church service, a Thanksgiving Day Gala Dinner, and plenty of time for socializing, the event resembles an old-fashioned family get-together.

"Clarence and I keep hosting this because we've made so many friends along the way," said Peggy. "After all this fun, we're just happy to give something back."

-- Joe Kuzma

capsule Thanksgiving Celebration of the Arts to benefit the PPLD

Thurs., Nov. 27 through Sun., Nov. 30

Four-day event pass: $150 Three-day event pass: $120

Tickets also available for individual activities and events.

Call 593-8400 reservations, a full schedule of events, venues and ticket info.

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