With the current state of affairs in America, it’s especially important to recognize and appreciate all that Black History Month entails. It’s impossible to overstate the significance of black culture to New York City, and year-round it offers plenty of opportunities to experience and support Black art, culture, and history. That said, we’ve picked out a handful of our favorite events and experiences that are unique to Black History Month, that aim to inform, inspire, and remind us that there’s still work to be done.
Located along Harlem’s famed 125th Street, the Apollo Theater has for decades played an important role in introducing the rest of the world to some of the city’s most talented and electrifying performers. Amateur Night at the Apollo’s season opener takes place on Wednesday, February 22nd. And while we can’t guarantee you’ll witness the second coming of past winners like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, James Brown or Lauryn Hill, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be in for a fun night.
For most folks visiting New York City, a trip out to Corona, Queens may be a bit of a hike. But for fans of jazz music and its fascinating and powerful history, it’s worth the trek to visit the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The house remains nearly unchanged from when Satchmo and his wife Lucille Wilson last inhabited it, giving visitors an unparalleled insight into the private life of one of music’s most significant figures. Beginning this month, you can also explore a new exhibit chronicling the history of Armstrong’s backing band, known as His Hot Five.
Though far from the literal battlefield, Brooklyn and its residents played a major role in the Civil War. Take a tour of two distinct locales with great historical relevance to the period through Green-Wood Cemetery’s Trolley Tour of Green-Wood Cemetery and the Weeksville Heritage Site, on Saturday, February 25th. Pay your respects to the countless abolitionists and prominent Civil War-era Black New Yorkers who were laid to rest in Brooklyn’s famed cemetery, and learn about Weeksville, located in what is today Crown Heights, but was once the largest Free Black community in America preceding the Civil War.
For a similarly historical rendezvous with a longstanding Manhattan landmark, head uptown to the famed Morris-Jumel Mansion. Located in Washington Heights — a neighborhood rich in history even independent of the Mansion — it is the oldest standing house on the island of Manhattan. On February 25th you can partake in a guided tour of the house and its grounds, to learn about the slaves who lived there, as well as the prominent African-Americans who have called the surrounding neighborhood home, like Duke Ellington, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall.
As an added bonus, by patronizing any of these events or spaces, you’re supporting institutions that give back to the communities they serve.
Interested in any of these places? Let us customize a tour for you. Contact us for more info.