We celebrate Black History beyond the shortest month of the year, but if you’re planning to be in New York in February, there are plenty of exhibits and events to check out. Due to the pandemic, some are offered virtually, and for those held in person, you’ll be asked to show proof of vaccination.
This isn’t an exhaustive list; New York is a big place after all. If you’re interested in live music, City Winery and Harlem School of The Arts are just two venues centering Black musicians and composers past and present. Major museums and The New York Public Library have Black history displays. And if you’re in a festive mood, some nightclubs will have evenings dedicated to Black creativity.
Here are some Black history exhibits and events in The Big Apple to check out with family and friends.
1. NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour
For two and a half hours, learn about the history of slavery in New York with a live guide. Go City offers passes for it, as well as a range of other New York events.
The tour passes through lower Manhattan, which has more ties to slavery than some people realize.
You’ll visit Trinity Church, which was linked to slaveholders, merchants and government officials according to The Huffington Post. The church itself was built by slaves.
Long before Wall Street was the booming financial epicenter it is today, it was teeming with slave markets.
You’ll also see the African Burial Ground Memorial and Museum as well as Fraunces Tavern, which was linked to the Revolutionary War.
2. Schomburg Center
The Schomburg Center is a treasure trove of information on Black history and culture in Harlem.
In February, they are hosting a Black History Month Series, which is free to the public, all you have to do is register on the website. All are virtual, except Bigger Than Africa.
February 3: Conversations In Black Freedom Studies.
February 7: Been Seen: The Photography of Zora J. Murff at 6:30 PM EST
February 15: Between the Lines: And the Category Is… by Ricky Tucker at 6:30 PM EST
February 19: Black Women and Theories of the Future at 12:30 PM EST
February 24: Films at the Schomburg: Bigger than Africa at 6:30 PM EST
There are some excellent events on the schedule beyond Black History Month, so be sure to check them out if you can.
3. City Winery
On February 7, head to City Winery to enjoy a candlelit evening of Harlem Jazz.
Seating is first come, first served, and proof of vaccination is required.
Musicians will pay tribute to Black creatives from the past such as Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie and others.
Tickets are $45 for general admission and $60 for stage premier tickets.
4. Bell House
Part nightclub, part comedy club, Bell House in Brooklyn is hosting an event called Drunk Black History on February 25.
The in-person show starts at 9 PM.
It will be hosted by comedians Brandon Collins and Gordon Baker- Bone.
Learn about prominent Black figures throughout history in a comical way.
5. Ailey Extension
On February 5, the Ailey Extension will be hosting an online workshop specifically for Black History Month called Ladies of Hip Hop (LOHH).
LOHH is a nonprofit organization which seeks to educate and empower women and girls within hip-hop culture.
According to the website, dancer Tweet Boogie will be hosting the class. Following a warm up, “the class will challenge every dancer with the dynamics of movement and combinations.”
The cost is $20.
6. New York Public Library
On February 2, the flagship New York Public Library on 5th Avenue will be hosting a talk with Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Frederick Joseph.
The talk focuses on Cullors’ book 12 Steps To Changing Yourself And The World: An Abolitionist’s Handbook.
If you’re looking for an informative, virtual event for kids between the ages of 8 and 13, there’s Black History Month Game Hour.
According to the website, the event will take place over Google Meet, and you’ll be sent a confirmation email the day before.
7. African Pop-Up Festival
On February 19, head to 34th and 9th Avenue for this lively event.
Entry is free for those born in February, and $15 for everyone else.
Enjoy the market place, live performances and DJs spinning Afrobeats. It’s a great opportunity to network while celebrating Black excellence.
The Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA) will be hosting Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.
It starts February 27 and runs through May 31.
MOMA explains, “Reconstructions examines the intersections of anti-Black racism and Blackness within urban spaces as sites of resistance and refusal, attempting to repair what it means to be American.”
9. Harlem School Of The Arts
The Harlem School Of The Arts will host their 14th annual Black History Month Celebration on February 23.
General admission tickets are $20 or you can get a student or senior discount if you purchase online.
The following three performances are courtesy of the Harlem Chamber Players:
William Grant Still: Ennanga for Harp, Strings, and Piano.
Nkeiru Okoye: We Met at the Symphony for Soprano and String Quartet (World Premiere).
David Baker: Through This Vale of Tears for Tenor, Piano, and Strings.