New York’s rich and diverse cultural history makes it an outstanding place to celebrate Black History Month. From its roots in the Harlem Renaissance, an artistic and intellectual movement of the 1920’s, to its influence on the birth of Hip-Hop, today’s New York offers meaningful opportunities for natives and visitors alike to learn about and participate in Black History Month.
For many first-time visitors, Harlem isn’t always included on the touring itinerary. Black History Month provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about this vibrant and historic neighborhood. Taste Harlem specializes in historic food and cultural experiences. Their non-tourist approach allows their guests to see, hear and taste the neighborhood like a local - a great way to get a first-hand look at the eclectic food, music, architecture and art of Harlem. For more specialized tours, check out the Hush Hip Hop Harlem Tour or the gospel and jazz themed Harlem Spiritual Tours.
This February, the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture is hosting two film screenings in honor of Black History Month: Mississippi Burning and Forgiveness Makes You Free. The former film was nominated for seven academy awards in 1989 and is based on the true story of two Jewish and one African American civil rights workers who were abducted and murdered in 1964. The screening on February 4th celebrates the 30th anniversary of the film and will be followed by a discussion panel with the film’s producer. Later in the month, the center will premiere the documentary Forgiveness Makes You Free, a look at efforts to bring peace to post-genocide Rwanda, which will also include a post-screening panel with the film’s director and other special guests.
For a more educational experience, attend one of the five themed events at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Learn about the pivotal court case Plessy v. Ferguson, which kept the racist notion of ‘separate but equal’ legal prior to the infamous Brown v. Board of Education case, with Washington Post editor Steve Luxenberg. Or, see the exhibit Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom which explores the unsung heroes of Brooklyn's anti-slavery movement.