In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month to recognize and celebrate the achievements of African-Americans. Many organizations and groups in Philadelphia are commemorating this month by hosting both free and tickets events throughout the city, including lectures, performances, and special exhibits. Be sure to check out the variety of events to honor the culture and history, as well notable African-Americans, both past and present.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia and Taller Puertorriqueño are teaming up to present Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble’s Wemilere: Parade of the Orishas, a performance focusing on 8 deities from the Yoruba culture: Elegba, Ogun, Ochosi, Oshun, Yemaya, Shango, Oya, and Obatala. After the Afro-Cuban drum performance, there will be a Q&A. Although the event is free, you must reserve your spot in advance.
“Glory” was nominated for five Academy Awards and focuses on the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, the first regiment to consist of all African-Americans. This film is rated R and is best suited for mature audiences.
Head to the Skyline Room for a screening of “Training Day” featuring Halle Berry. In 2002, she won an Oscar for “Best Actress in a Motion Picture.” This made her the first African-American to won this award. Denzel Washington also received an award for “Best Actor in a Motion Picture.” While the event is free, online registration is required.
This documentary depicts the African-American and white women who joined forces to fight slavery. Following the screening is a discussion with Dr. Emma Lapsansky-Werner and Dr. Kate Oxx, which will be facilitated by Nathaniel Popkin. Online registration is required for this event.
128 N. Broad Street (Samuel M. V. Hamilton Building)
Take a trolley ride through the neighborhoods of Philadelphia to experience murals dedicated to notable African-Americans while exploring various themes such as freedom, equality, and civil rights. Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors, and $28 for students and children under the age of 12.
African American Museum in Philadelphia (Galleries 3 & 4)
If you visit this exhibit on Feb. 17, there will be a special lecture called “Cotton in the American Imagination: A Lecture with Dr. Anna Arabindan-Kesson.” This event takes places from 2 pm to 3:30 pm and is free. Registration is required.
Spend a night exploring the question “Who tells your story?” with various speakers, activities, and tours.Guests are also encouraged to bring along an item that conveys their story to be featured in a pop up museum for the night. General Admission is $10.
There are several special events and exhibits to celebrate Black History Month: “Decoding the Document: Emancipation Proclamation Exhibit Station,” an interactive show called “Breaking Barriers,” and African-American History Self-Guided Tour, and an activity where you can test your knowledge about African-American history. Through a special sale, tickets cost $10 for adults and $7.50 for anyone ages 6-18. Use the code WARMUP for a discount when purchasing tickets online.
The panel will feature Dr. Nyasha Junior, Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Temple University and Dr. M. Nzadi Keita, Associate Professor of English, Coordinator of African American Studies at Ursinus College. Be sure to visit the Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River exhibit while you are visiting. Entrance into the discussion is included in the cost of museum admission ($17 for Adults, $12 for Seniors (65 & over) , and $12 for Children (3–12), College Students or Military).
The first annual Black History Challenge will consist of 5 rounds of trivia. Teams of up to 4 people are welcome. Registration is either $25 per person, or $100 for a team. Trivia masters will take home a trophy and the title of champions.
This discussion will feature on Monique Morris’ book titled “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.” and will focus on topics such as schools, the justice system, and race. There will also be a book signing.
This lecture features Feminista Jones, a social worker, speaker, activist, blogger, and author of a novel titled “Push the Button.” She was named in Philadelphia Magazine as one of the “100 most Influential People in Philadelphia.” DaMaris B. Hill has a PhD in English, as well as women and gender studies. She wrote a book titled “The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage, Jim Crow: Staking Claims.”
At the age of 18, Chris Wilson was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. After working on self-improvement while in prison through studying and exercising, Wilson started his own business. In his 30s, he was granted an early release. Now, he is the author of “The Master Plan,” and serves as an entrepreneur, a public speaker, and a mentor.
Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Sullivan Hall (1330 W. Polett Walk, located on Temple University’s Campus)
This discussion will feature Reverend Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Sr., the author of “Black Voters Mattered: A Philadelphia Story.” There will also be a books signing. Registration for this event is requested.
Hosted by the Program in African American History, this lecture with Professor Martha S. Jones, will focus on African-American activists and the battle for their rights. This event is free, but registration is required.
The theme for this year’s symposium is “Perceptions & Complicity in Beauty & Race.” Examples of lectures include “Race, The Black Nation (s), and the Gendering of the Black Aesthetic in the Diaspora” and “The Impact of Afro-Latino Movements in the Andean Region Over the Last Two Decades.” General admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. A continental breakfast and lunch are provided with the cost of admission.
Marquis Bey grew up in Philadelphia and is the author of “Them Goon Rules: Essays on Radical Black Feminism,” which will be released this month. The book combines his personal experiences and the knowledge he gained through studying theorists of African-American studies and Black feminism.