Since 1976, the United States has set aside February as Black History Month. Here’s where to take part in the celebration of African American history, culture and heritage in the Philadelphia area.
African American History Month: Searching for the Life of Harriet Hemings
84 S Pine St
Feb. 8, 2 p.m.
Harriet Hemings is believed to have been one of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’ offspring. She was born in 1801, and in 1822, she appears to have boarded a stagecoach to Philadelphia and “all but disappeared.” This program, presented by Villanova scholar Catherine Kerrison, follows her life from childhood on.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP)
701 Arch St
While the African American museum’s primary focus is, of course, the history and legacy of African Americans, they have some special events planned for February.
On Feb. 22nd, kids can head to the museum for a “crafternoon” celebrating Horace Pippin. Aside from creating their own art, children are invited to listen to a reading of A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, written by Jen Bryant.
Then, on Feb. 28th, the museum will show a screening of the PBS documentary “Slavery By Another Name” as part of the Creating the Criminal program. The film will be followed by a lively discussion initiated by Emahunn Campbell, a PhD student in Afro-American Studies at UMass.
African Roots Series
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
3680 Walnut St
Feb. 21 and Mar. 27
The Annenberg Center’s African Roots series presents a performance from South African freedom fighters and musicians Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela on Feb. 21 followed by two concerts from the African Children’s Choir in March.
Black History Month at the Free Library
Various branches throughout the city
Join the Free Library of Philadelphia for several screenings, concerts and interactive activities honoring Black History Month. Check the website for more information.
Black History Month
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St
Take a look into the lives of extraordinary African-American historical figures during a variety of programs to honor Black History Month. From a giant board game to workshop on the Emancipation Proclamation, there is plenty to do at the NCC this February.
Black History Month Events
Broad & Locust Sts
The Kimmel Center is celebrating Black History Month with a slew of influential Black artists. Highlights include Grammy-winning South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Emmy-winning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, funk/soul luminaries Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and a special Fat Tuesday celebration with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.
Historic Philadelphia’s Black History Month Celebration
PECO Theater at the Historic Philadelphia Center
600 Chestnut St
Feb. 4 & 5, 2 – 5 p.m.
From “Reflections of Black History” featuring an appearance from educator Octavius Catto to stories on African-Americans who have shaped history to arts and crafts, there’s something for everyone in February at the Historic Philadelphia Center.
Independence National Historical Park Tours & “Strike Up The Band: The Life and Music of Francis Johnson”
Independence National Historical Park
Between 5th & 6th Sts
Feb. 1, 7, 8; Feb. 21
Explore the Underground Railroad during these 30-minute tours conducted on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturday, Feb. 21st, there will also be a slideshow on and live performance of the music of historic African-American bandmaster Francis Johnson.
Represent: 200 Years of African American Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Ben Franklin Pkwy
Starting Jan. 10
This ongoing exhibit highlights key pieces from the PMA’s African American art collection from artists including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Horace Pippin, Jacob Lawrence, and Carrie Mae Weems.
World Culture Series: Celebration of African Cultures
3260 South St
Feb. 28, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
With everything from African music and dance to storytelling and art, guests at the Penn Museum can celebrate the cultures of the continent at this event, which is now in its 26th year.