Celebrate Black History Month All Around NYC

Celebrate Black History Month All Around NYC

Patrick Kelly designed dress, Fall/Winter 1986-1987 collection, France. Museum purchase. Part of the Black Fashion Designers exhibit. (Courtesy Museum at FIT)

February is designated as Black History Month in the U.S. and there are ample activities, performances, events and tours going on in celebration of the people who have enriched this country. Here are just some of the standout happenings going on this month that celebrate black history and/or present-day black culture:

Museum at FIT (Chelsea): Through May 16, 2017, guests can explore the Black Fashion Designers exhibit that showcases black designers from the 1950s through the present. At this Fashion & Textiles History Gallery, marvel at the couture—including eveningwear and menswear—that embodies everything from the style of the street to experimental fashion to African influence. Though the Black Fashion Designers Symposium on Feb. 6 (10 am-1 pm, 2-5 pm) is sold out, people can live stream it to watch/hear the designers, journalists, scholars and models discuss African and African-American culture and fashion.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Harlem): This research library of the New York Public Library houses information about people of African descent from all over the world. There are dozens upon dozens of events at this library every year surrounding black culture. Among those taking place during February are a free community preview screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” (Feb. 1, 6:30 pm), a Women’s and Girls’ Lives Matter moderated conversation with several authors (Feb. 9, 9:30 pm) and “Theater Talks: August Wilson Effect,” which is a conversation about celebrated playwright. 

Birthplace of Hip-Hop Tour (Harlem/The Bronx): On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, take one of Hush Tours’ tours that take you around town to hear stories about the pioneers of hip-hop while visiting the art form’s important NYC destinations like the Graffiti Wall of Fame, the Apollo Theater, Yankee Stadium and more. 

Apollo Theater (Harlem): This NYC landmark/music hall is one of the most famous performance venues in the city and has hosted the biggest names and acts in music, comedy and other live entertainment like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jr., James Brown, Prince and many, many more. On the calendar for February, events include a free open house (Feb. 4, 2-6 pm) with a family workshop from the Harlem Swing Dance Society and discussions from filmmakers Stanley Nelson (“Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities”) and Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”), opening night of Amateur Night at the Apollo for 2017 (Feb. 22, 7:30 pm) and “Apollo Uptown Hall – Trial By Jury: The Case of the N-Word” (Feb. 26, 3 pm), a dramatically staged interactive community conversation where the audience serves as jury for a fictional case surrounding the n-word.

African Burial Ground National Monument (Civic Center): This National Park unit is the first National Monument dedicated to early New York Africans and Americans of African descent. The burial ground was used in the 17th and 18th centuries, but then went undiscovered until 1991. The site became a National Historic Landmark in 1993. Though no specific events are going on here in February, guests can go for free to the indoor Visitor Center and exhibitions, Tuesday through Saturday (10 am-4 pm). The outdoor memorial is closed for the winter, but will reopen at the beginning of April (Tu-Sa 10 am-5 pm).

African Burial Ground National Monument (Courtesy NPS)

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