Every February, our country recognizes the achievements of African-Americans with the arrival of Black History Month. Their contributions and culture are celebrated and explored throughout a variety of events across the nation. New York City is one of the world’s enclaves for diversity and the African-American community has added an extraordinary layer of flavor to the city’s character. Here are some of the most note worthy events taking place on the Upper West Side. There’s bound to be something for everyone!
New York Historical Society Museum
New York Historical Society Museum is hosting a special program for Black History Month called “The Underground Railroad: Escaping Slavery”. The experience will be guided by living historian Cheyney McKnight who will explain the treacherous journey many African-Americans had to endure through the Underground Railroad before the Civil War broke out. Many of them escaped from slavery in an attempt to reach the only feasible path to freedom. The educational program will enrich attendees’ knowledge about this specific point in time as McKnight details what the grueling trip entailed for the passengers in a period costume.
For more information, please visit: http://nyhistory.org/programs/
Barnes & Noble on 82nd & Broadway
Barnes & Noble is commemorating Black History Month by hosting an event for the author of “The Color Line” Walker Smith. She will present some scenes from a stage adaptation of her novel alongside select actors. “The Color Line” portrays the story of a man named Serval Rivard who joins the U.S. Army in 1918. Even though segregation is largely present at the time, Rivard sees himself assigned to a French command and they are quickly labeled as “The Harlem Hellfighters” for their courage. Once Serval returns back to the States, he finds that while the war abroad might be over there is still one left to fight at home for people of color. Author Walker Smith will also sign her books to event goers after the performance ends.
For more information, please visit: https://stores.barnesandnoble.
Columbia University offers a packed calendar for the month of February replete with activities that celebrate the significance of black history in our country. Panel discussions will be held discussing contemporary topics of importance such as the inclusion of Ethiopians and Eritreans into Black History Month as well as the recognition of Afro-Latinidad and its meaning for those who are of Caribbean descent. The university will also put on a vibrant fashion show on the 18th in the Roone Auditorium and a special semi formal event on the 26th.
For more information, please visit: http://iraas.columbia.edu
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
To those looking for a kid-friendly event, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is commemorating Black History Month by paying tribute to Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Bill was an energetic tap dancer who became the best known African American entertainer of the first half of the 20th century through his incredible performances. Robinson had to overcome the racial divide that existed at the time in order to achieve fame and is regarded as one of the first fighters of equality amongst the African American community. Kids aged six and up are welcome to join the dancing spectacle by creating tap shoes of their very own and try to move their feet to the rhythm of the beat. A fun time for all is awaiting at the CMOM!
For more information, please visit: http://cmom.org/visit/