NYC & COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS EVENTS TAKING PLACE IN FEBRUARY IN HONOR OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

New York City (February 1, 2016) — NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, encourages visitors and locals to honor African-American history in New York City as part of this month’s Black History Month. Commemorating key moments, movements and figures in African-American history, organizations across the five boroughs will be hosting a number of Black History Month–inspired events, including informational discussions, museum and cultural tours, live entertainment, documentary screenings and interactive kid-friendly activities.

“New York City has long been a center of diversity and inclusion, embracing people from all walks of life. It is the birthplace of many ground-breaking historical moments in African-American history and has continued to be positively shaped by African-American people and culture,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “Each year the City organizes world-class events to honor African-American history, and we encourage visitors and locals alike to take part in these activities throughout the month.”

New York City holds significant ties to African-American history and culture. It is the city where the Harlem Renaissance challenged cultural norms, Jackie Robinson broke down baseball’s color barrier and Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress.

A list of Black History Month events taking place across the five boroughs can be found at nycgo.com/blackhistorymonth. Highlights follow, organized by borough:

Bronx

Bronx: Africa presented by the Longwood Arts Project: From February 3 through March 4, the Longwood Arts Project encourages visitors to explore the Bronx: Africa exhibition. Located on the campus of Hostos Community College in the Bronx, the exhibition will feature art celebrating the tradition and impact of contemporary African cultures on New York City. For more information, including the list of artists on display at the gallery, visit bronxarts.org.

Brooklyn

Black History Month Trolley Tour at Green-Wood Cemetery: The Black History Month Trolley Tour February 27 at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn provides tour goers with the opportunity to explore the graves of notable New York African-Americans. Visitors can recount the lives of these individuals, with stops including the graves of Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first female black doctor in New York, and Jeremiah Hamilton, New York City’s first African-American millionaire. Visit green-wood.com for more information.

Brooklyn Abolitionists, In Pursuit of Freedom at the Brooklyn Historical Society: Brooklyn Abolitionists shines a light on the unsung heroes of Brooklyn’s anti-slavery movement, offering an inside look at how influential residents helped shape Brooklyn and New York City as a whole. The show is part of the larger In Pursuit of Freedom project, which will run through the winter of 2018. Visit brooklynhistory.org for additional information.

Brooklyn Historical Society: Visitors can learn about slavery’s role in the historical development of Long Island through the Why New York? Slavery on Long Island panel. Moderated by Jennifer Anderson, the event takes place on February 4. On February 18 Calvin Alexander Ramsey will screen parts of his documentary titled The Green Book Chronicles, which delves into the life of Victor H. Green, a postal worker and civil rights hero. For more information about both events, visit brooklynhistory.org.

Brooklyn Museum: Visitors can join the Brooklyn Museum on February 6 for a night of free music, film and entertainment. Part of the museum’s monthly First Saturday program, the festivities will carry a Black History Month theme. Among the events scheduled to take place that night are a screening of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution; a Romare Bearden–inspired interactive art activity; and performances by Tai Allen, Latasha Alcindor and Charles Perry. For the full itinerary, please visit brooklynmuseum.org.

Manhattan

America: The Legacy of African American Public Service at the Central Park Arsenal: Through February 26, the Central Park Arsenal invites visitors to check out the exhibition America: The Legacy of African American Public Service, featuring art celebrating African-Americans who have overcome slavery, segregation and prejudice to become elected US public officials. For more information, visit nycgovparks.org.

Apollo Theater: Since its inception, the world famous Apollo Theater has served as a center of innovation and creative stimulus for Harlem and the City of New York. With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, performance art and spoken word initiatives. The Apollo will celebrate Black History Month with a series of artistic and community programs, highlighted by the return of the theater’s signature talent competition, Amateur Night. The Apollo’s 2016 Black History Month programming lineup also includes the annual Apollo Open House Weekend, a night of comedy commencing with an Apollo Live Wire discussion on the history of comedy, and followed by Apollo Comedy Club featuring comedians Me Me Simpson, Kareem Green and John Laster. Visit apollotheater.org for the full lineup of programming. 

Black History Month at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Black History Month kicks off at the Schomburg Center on February 1 with a discussion on Haitian-American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Guests can join the Harlem-based Center on February 8 for a talk on the musical The Color Purple and on February 23 for a guest appearance by music producer LA Reid. Visit schomburgcenter.org for more information.

National Museum of the American Indian: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Latino Center will host a concert on February 6 for a celebration of Afro-Indigenous heritage in conjunction with Black History Month. The Manhattan-based museum presents Native Sounds Downtown with Garifuna artist and cultural activist James Lovell. Lovell will team up with Garifuna percussionists and dancers to produce a dynamic performance. The concert is followed by a discussion, where attendees can learn about the history and cultural legacy of the Garifuna people, a mixed ancestry community (Carib, Arawak and African) that has called New York City its home since the 1950s. This concert is presented as part of the Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed exhibition. Visit nmai.si.edu for event details.

Queens

George Washington Carver Workshop at Queens Botanical Garden: George Washington Carver was known for his innovative research in cultivation and alternative uses for crops like sweet potatoes, soybeans and peanuts. The Queens Botanical Garden workshop February 16 is a kid-friendly activity, where children can learn about Carver’s achievements, paint with plant dyes and plant their own peanut seed. For registration information, visit queensbotanical.org.

Louis Armstrong House Museum: The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens will be honoring the iconic jazz musician all month long with its newly opened Hotter Than That exhibition. The exhibition will take an inside look at Armstrong’s music legacy, in addition to His Hot Five, one of the most influential bands in jazz history. Visitors can also take a general tour of the museum, learning about Armstrong’s contributions to music and his role as a civil rights activist. Additional details are provided at louisarmstronghouse.org.

Staten Island

Sandy Ground Historical Society Library Museum: As the oldest continuously inhabited free black settlement in the United States, Staten Island’s Sandy Ground holds historical significance with respect to the Civil Rights movement. Established in the early 19th century, the community became a safe haven on the Underground Railroad for African-Americans escaping slavery. Today, the Staten Island property is home to 10 families who are descendants of the original Sandy Ground settlers. The museum, which contains photographs and art documenting the history of Sandy Ground and these families, is a great learning experience for people of all ages. For more information, including museum hours, visit sandygroundmuseum.org.  

Ongoing Tours

In addition, New York City offers specialty tours year-round showcasing African-American culture.

Harlem Heritage Tours: From music and food to shopping, Harlem Heritage Tours is your guide to all things Harlem culture. Learn about the history of jazz, hip-hop and gospel music, dine on delicious soul food and shop Harlem’s stores. Tours are guided by individuals who were born and raised in the community, providing first-hand insight into the rich legacy and culture that has emerged in this historic Manhattan neighborhood. Call 212-280-7888 for more information and visit harlemheritage.com to browse the full list of February tours.

Harlem Spiritual Tours: Known for its gospel, jazz and soul food themed tours, Harlem Spiritual Tours is a can’t-miss experience. Visit historic Harlem musical landmarks like the original Cotton Club and the Apollo, as tour guides showcase all that Harlem has to offer. For more information, visit harlemspirituals.com.

Hush Tours’ Birthplace of Hip Hop Tour: Hush Tours leads a four-hour journey through Harlem and the “Boogie Down” Bronx, two areas instrumental to the development of hip-hop and its rich culture. The tour, which begins in Midtown Manhattan, makes stops at famous landmarks Yankee Stadium, Harlem World, the Graffiti Wall of Fame and the Apollo Theater. Let professional hip-hop hosts entertain you with exclusive freestyles, and join in on the fun with the “Show your Skills” segment. Tour the site of the first-ever hip-hop party, in addition to historic clubs and famous music video and movie locations. Advanced purchase is required. Purchase tickets at hushtours.com, or call 212-714-3544.

About NYC & Company:
NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For more information, visit nycgo.com.

 

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Contact: NYC & Company / Chris Heywood 212-484-1270
          NYC & Company / Britt Hijkoop 212-484-1270