Debate hasn’t ceased about the implications of Black History Month, which originated in the 1970s. It’s a well-intentioned nationwide effort to educate Americans about the achievements of a historically marginalized group, yet it arguably segregates black history from the rest of history — as if one can exist without the other — and also implies that the remaining 11 months are for non-black history. Wherever you side on the issue, this event at The Hermitage shouldn’t be missed, as author John F. Baker Jr. discusses his book The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation — an account of his family history that earned him an Oprah’s Book Club nomination in 2010. The idea for the book, which brought favorable comparisons to Alex Haley’s landmark Roots, began when Baker was in seventh grade and saw a photograph of four former slaves in his social studies textbook. Two of them, he would later learn, were his grandmother’s grandparents, Emanuel and Henny Washington. In addition to speaking on his experience, Baker will give a primer on how to begin your own genealogical research. Whether you buy into the notion of Black History Month or not, this is just one example of the high-quality programming that it produces, which is reason enough to celebrate.