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Commemorate Black History Month with NYC Events

February 23, 2024

Every February, the United States celebrates Black History Month—a time to recognize and honor the invaluable contributions, rich cultural heritage, and sacrifices of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. As we embark on this journey of remembrance and reflection, there’s no better time to explore and appreciate the wealth of knowledge within the various museums, historical sites, and events dedicated to Black history in New York City.

New York City Events

Pictured: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the “Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism” exhibition will showcase the dynamic cultural movements of the early twentieth century. Through 160 works including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and films, the exhibition highlights how Black artists depicted everyday life in Harlem and beyond during the Great Migration. This incredible exhibition marks the first of its kind in New York City since 1987, emphasizing the pivotal role that the Harlem Renaissance played in shaping international modern art. The show will run from February 25th through July 28th. Plan your visit here.

“A Union of Hope: 1869” at the Tenement Museum
Pictured: The Tenement Museum
Photo Credit: Ajay Suresh
  • The Tenement Apartment Tours allow visitors to explore recreated homes from the 19th and 20th centuries, offering a glimpse into the lives of immigrant and migrant families who once called the New York City tenements home. “A Union of Hope: 1869” takes a look at the story of Joseph and Rachel Moore, two Black New Yorkers who called Lower Manhattan home during the 1860s and 1870s. This exhibit provides a glimpse into the vibrant community Joseph and Rachel built and highlights their cultural exchange and resilience. Through personal artifacts, archival documents, and immersive storytelling, this exhibit serves as a compelling narrative that not only highlights the individual stories of Joseph and Rachel, but also offers a broader understanding of the diverse histories that have shaped the city as a whole. Get tickets for this event here.
Pictured: The Paley Museum
Photo Credit: Ajay Suresh
Genius: MLK/X- Two Minds, One Movement” Exhibit at The Paley Museum

From February 1st to March 3rd, the Paley Museum is examining the dynamic legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X through the captivating lens of National Geographic’s acclaimed Genius anthology series, Genius: MLK/X. The exhibition explores the dual narratives of these iconic figures and their pivotal roles in shaping America’s Civil Rights movement and features authentic costumes, props, and set decorations from the series, offering visitors a vivid glimpse into the 1960s era. Get tickets for this event here.

The Free Black Women’s Library
  • The Free Black Women’s Library is a dynamic social art project that showcases a vast collection of over 5,000 books written by Black women and Black non-binary writers. This Brooklyn-based spot serves as a literary haven, offering virtual reading clubs, weekly book swaps, and an array of public programs held in their reading room. Throughout February, they’re hosting a variety of events, including a game night for single Black adults, a book release for Black Women Taught Us by Jenn Jackson, and a conversation with author Ebony Janice regarding her book, All The Black Girls Are Activists, and her campaign “All The Black Girls Are Bestsellers.”  Check out their events here.  

“The Ways of Langston Hughes” Exhibition at the Schomburg Center
  • From February 1st to July 8th, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presents “The Ways of Langston Hughes: Griff Davus and Black Artists in the Making.” This exhibition celebrates the enduring friendship between Langston Hughes, the iconic poet of Harlem, and Griffith J. Davis, a pioneering photographer, filmmaker, and U.S. Foreign Service Officer. Featuring Davis’s photography, personal correspondence between Hughes and Davis, and archival collections from the Schomburg Center, this exhibition offers a glimpse into the dynamic world of Hughes and his influence on Black artistry across generations. Plan your visit here.

For those outside of NYC, we encourage you to explore the incredible resources available on the Smithsonian Museum website and check out local events in your community to deepen your understanding of Black history.