7 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in NYC
Civil rights leaders. Inventors. Authors, actors and actresses. Musicians. Awe-inspiring trailblazers. Black History Month is a time to reflect on all of the amazing contributions African-Americans have made to our society. Their legacies are often glossed over in history books—that is, if they even made it onto those pages. But, seek the knowledge, and you will find it. Despite the pandemic, there are still plenty of safe ways to celebrate and observe the month with various informative in-person and virtual events. So mark your calendars, grab a snack and get ready to immerse yourself in the richness of Black history. And remember: Black history is U.S. history—let’s not limit our learnings and interest to the shortest month of the year.
1. Take a seat for a Broadway treat
Beginning February 5, Flushing Town Hall will virtually present its Black History Trilogy with Broadway stars adding a dash of drama. Alton Fitzgerald, who played Mufasa in the Broadway musical, Lion King, will open the series with a presentation of John Lewis: A Pioneer for Justice with a virtual reading of Lewis’ speech, followed by a virtual Q &A.
Virtual; 718-463-7700; flushingtownhall.org
2. Go on a virtual adventure to Harlem
On February 1, log on and retrace the steps of W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and more icons through the historical landmarks of Harlem. You’ll also learn more about the exciting Harlem Renaissance period of the 1920s. And hey, if you’re feeling more social, you can also take an in-person walking tour on February 13 (while following social distancing protocols, of course).
Virtual; (888) 606-WALK; bigonion.com
3. Learn the truth about Central Park’s past
Did you know that Central Park was once home to Seneca Village? In the early 1800s, the predominantly African-American village—which would have occupied the area between 83rd and 89th streets on the park’s west side— was home to nearly 1,600 settlers. But that all changed when the city took away the land, thanks to eminent domain, and displaced its residents. Thankfully, their stories will not be forgotten. On February 13, NYC Parks will lead a free in-person tour of the area where they’ll educate you on Seneca’s long lost secrets.
81st Street and Central Park West; (212) 360-1444; nycgovparks.org
4. Enjoy storytime with the whole family
On February 25, New York Public Library will host The Woodson Project: Presents Intergenerational Storytime: Black Elders Speak. The family-friendly virtual storytime will focus on the Civil Rights era and include a Q&A. The project is part of a year-round effort to bring Black history education to the community through books, workshops, and more.
5. Discover Brooklyn’s Underground Railroad connection
The Underground Railroad, a network of slavery abolitionists and safehouses for freedom-seeking slaves, ran right through Brooklyn. On February 20, NYC Parks will take you on an hourlong tour through the scenic Brooklyn Bridge Park to discuss how slaves found their freedom and built a brighter future in the borough.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1; (646) 398-1479; nycgovparks.org
6. Catch a Film at The Standard Hotel
The Standard Hotel in Meatpacking has transformed its outdoor plaza into The Forest: a lush, woodland pop-up with heated outdoor seating and movie screenings five times per week. And in celebration of Black History Month, Flix in the Forest will screen films depicting Black stories and made by Black directors, including Do The Right Thing, Dreamgirls a
7. Take a history-packed bike tour
Want the wheel-deal on Black history in New York City? On February 20, you can bundle up, grab your bike and join The Brown Bike Girl for a 15-mile bike ride around Manhattan, where you’ll learn more about eight historic sites.
Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Forsyth Street; eventbrite.com
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