Photo of the Seneca Village mosaic courtesy of © 6sqft
February is a month dedicated to the celebration of Black culture and achievements in the United States. In New York City, you can commemorate Black History Month with special events and programs at museums, theaters, art galleries, pop-up markets, parks, and more. From listening to the Harlem Chamber Players perform pieces by legendary Black composers to viewing period rooms inspired by homes from Seneca Village at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, here are 20 ways to celebrate Black history throughout February.
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Image courtesy of Si B on Flickr
A new exhibition honoring Black lives lost to racial injustice in the United States will open this month in New York City’s historical Seneca Village, once home to a thriving black community that was displaced by the city to make way for Central Park in the 1850s. Presented by the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA), the Say Their Names Memorial Exhibition is a month-long augmented reality experience debuting on Saturday, September 17 at West 85th Street in Central Park.
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Image of the Schomburg Center via Wiki Commons
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced the state will commit $8 million for upgrades to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. The investment will go toward the refurbishment of the building’s facade, replacement of the roof and windows, and the installation of much-needed safety and energy-efficient features. The state’s announcement comes during Harlem Week, a weeklong celebration of the neighborhood’s history and culture.
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Annual Juneteenth NY Festival in 2018 Photo credit: Juneteenth NY
Although it was recognized as a federal holiday only last year, Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black Americans for more than 150 years. After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, it took more than two years for the order to reach enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. Juneteenth was first observed in Texas as “Jubliee Day” on June 19, 1866. Now an official New York and federal holiday, Juneteenth is a day to commemorate and honor Black Americans, as well as renew the fight for equality. In New York City, there are several Juneteenth events happening this weekend, from panel discussions and a bike tour of Brooklyn to live music and a food festival featuring Black vendors.
All images courtesy of Guernsey’s
Thousands of historical items illustrating the Black experience in America are going up for auction. Compiled over 60 years by former New York City teacher Elizabeth Meaders, the collection is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive, surpassing collections belonging to museums and other private institutions. The Elizabeth Meaders Collection of African American Historical and Cultural Artifacts will be put up for an online auction as a single collection through Guernsey’s on March 15.
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“Renaming Project” Exhibition, Photo Credit: Daniel Avila / NYC Parks
In the United States, February is a month dedicated to the celebration of African American history and culture. Ahead find a variety of events to commemorate Black History Month in New York City, ranging from community service and walking tours to jazz concerts and live performances.
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Credit: NYC Parks /Malcolm Pinckney
New York City this week renamed more than a dozen park spaces in honor of notable Black Americans. In every borough, select green spaces now bear the names of Civil Rights leaders, novelists, educators, LGBTQ+ leaders, and more. Last summer, the city’s Parks Department pledged solidarity with the Black community and announced plans to rename parks across the city to honor Black Americans who have local or national recognition. Since then, 28 park sites have been given a new name.
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Screenshot courtesy of NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday released an interactive story map that explores significant buildings, districts, and sites in New York City that are related to Black history and culture. The project highlights 75 individual landmarks and 33 historic districts associated with African American figures and historical events across the five boroughs dating to before the Civil War up to today, from the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan to the East 25th Street Historic District in Flatbush.
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“Alphas Hold the Line.” Photo by Michael Young.
During the month of February, the nation observes Black History Month as a way to celebrate and honor African American history and culture. While this year’s commemoration will be different because of the pandemic, many New York City organizations and institutions are hosting virtual events, lectures, and exhibitions. Learn about the achievements and influence of Black Americans with an online walking tour featuring Black artists of Greenwich Village, a concert honoring composers of the Harlem Renaissance, a class on Black archaeology in New York City, and much more.
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New York’s famous 369th (Old 15th) Infantry Regiment arrives home from France. From the National Archives via Wikimedia Commons
By the end of World War II, the Croix de Guerre, France’s highest military honor, would be awarded to the 369th Infantry Regiment. Better known as the Harlem Hellfighters, the regiment was an all-black American unit serving under French command in World War I, and they spent a stunning 191 days at the Front, more than any other American unit. In that time, they never lost a trench to the enemy or a man to capture. Instead, they earned the respect of both allies and enemies, helped introduce Jazz to France, and returned home to a grateful city where hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers turned out to welcome home 3,000 Hellfighter heroes in a victory parade that stretched from 23rd Street and 5th Avenue to 145th Street and Lenox.
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