February is Black History Month, an annual observance dedicated to celebrating the significant contributions that the African-American community has made to culture and history, especially in the United States. There are numerous events, exhibitions, and parades taking place during the entire month of February virtually all around the country that will give you the opportunity to participate in recognizing and paying tribute to important milestones in black history, culture, and heritage. Here’s a list of a few Black History Month activities that you can take part in with your friends and family.
The National Constitution Center in February offers multiple programs during African American History Month, like the Story of We the People exhibition that allows visitors to discover landmark accomplishments in African-American history and daily interactive programs where people can learn about the lives of African-American leaders, the history behind the fight toward equality, and much more in-depth biographies and lessons.
The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, which was officially established in March 2013, is devoted to memorializing Charles Young, who managed to become a respected military leader despite being born into slavery and having to endure racism and inequality. You will learn about him becoming the third African American graduate of West Point and the highest ranking black officer in the U.S. Army until he passed away in 1922.
New York City
New York City has plenty of options to celebrate Black History Month from church services to free musical performances. Harlem, which was a cultural center with the Harlem Renaissance, has a rich history of being home to prominent black writers, artists, musicians, photographers, poets, and scholars. You can go to events like the Harlem Heritage Tours and the Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
You could also visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, which, as its name suggests, was the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe and the place where she wrote the iconic novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin between 1850 and 1852 that depicts the harsh reality of what it was like for an African-American held under slavery. The center not only creates memorable educational experiences, but it is a wonderful place to witness firsthand and to hold meaningful discussions with others about the author’s fascinating life and her legacy.
Fort Mose, which was founded in 1738 by Spanish colonists, is the location of the first free black settlement in the United States. If you decide to come by, you will see how it provided refuge for slaves running away from the British Colonies and was later one of the original stops of the Underground Railroad.
The nation’s capital played a huge role in the platform of the Civil Rights Movement. Come see the historical Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King delivered his most quoted speech, “I Have A Dream,” and his own memorial constructed in the National Mall, if you decide to stop by to see the first memorial dedicated to a non-president and the first African-American.
The Boston African American National Historic, which is in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, is where the Black Heritage Trail and the 1806 African Meeting House, the oldest standing African-American church in the United States, can be found. If you go to this site, know that it aims to commemorate the Boston African-American community that played a major role in leading the city and the nation in the fight against racial injustice.
Black History Month calls for many lectures, concerts, and exhibitions in Atlanta, and one of the places holding them, The Center for Human and Civil Rights, will put together lectures and a film screening, to name a few of its events. Make sure to visit the national parks and local museums in Atlanta as well, like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.
Another idea is to see “Looking Over the President’s Shoulder” from February 5 to February 21. A familiar face at the Black Theatre Troupe, Walter Belcher, stars in this one-man plays about the true story of Alonzo Fields, who gave up his dream of singing opera to take a job at the White House and eventually become the first African-American head butler.
The Historic Charleston’s Religious and Community Buildings is made up of 43 historic places you could visit, and there will be a Black History Month bazaar that features music, food, and exhibits at The Citadel.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture has been a great visitation site since it opened in 2005. It was designed by well-known African-American architect Philip G. Freelon, and the museum itself is the best resource for information about the lives and struggles of black citizens in Maryland in the past.
This city offers events such as film, music, and health festivals. For instance, the SF Black Film Festival will hold the Blackest History Film Series and there will be a presentation of “The Jim Crow West: Bayview Hunters Point 1965-2016 – 50 Years of Structural and Systemic Inequality.” Programs for children and religious services will be occurring throughout the city, as well as a number of volunteer organizations participating in the celebration.
Birmingham is often remembered for being associated with Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will be open to the public and offer free tours of their gallery until the end of February. Additionally, Hands On Birmingham, a renowned volunteer opportunity organization, will have various service projects in the city with other organizations and corporations.
The WROX Museum is located in the building where WROX, a radio station hosted by the famous radio personality Early Wright and was mostly listened to by a majority African-American audience, was broadcast. The station remains very similar to how it was during the time it was in operation.
About the Author: Sherah, 17, has been homeschooled for three years. “I am passionate about raising awareness about topics such as current events and culture and being able to effectively deliver a message that matters to me. I also enjoy researching and writing in hopes of educating, informing, and inspiring others.”