BLACK HISTORY MONTH: CELEBRATING DIVERSITY IN THE MULTICULTURAL METROPOLIS OF NEW YORK CITY
—From Surveying History-Rich Landmarks to Enjoying the Many Exhibits, Performances, Lectures and Musical Celebrations, New York City Offers Unlimited Options for Both Young and Old—
New York City (January 28, 2010) — Experience the richness of the City's diversity all while learning about the extraordinary accomplishments of African-Americans as New York City honors Black History Month. A place where 3 million of its residents are foreign-born, New York City is truly an international metropolis. It is also the site of many landmark events in black history, including the home of the nation’s first school for the children of slaves, the passing of a law banning housing discrimination on the basis of race as well as the birthplace of both hip-hop and the NAACP.
"African-American culture thrives in all five boroughs," said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company, the City’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization. "We encourage visitors and locals alike to visit one of the many events taking place in celebration of Black History Month, showcasing the incredible contributions African-Americans have made to this country and this City in particular."
Read on for a sampling of Black History Month events:
Transport yourself to the tumultuous '60s with Harlem Heritage Tours' Harlem Civil Rights Walking Tour (harlemheritage.com). Music aficionados will glean a lot from the Harlem Spirituals' Gospel and Jazz Tours, which focus on the prominence and influence of these genres on the neighborhood and beyond (harlemspirituals.com). The tours even include performances at clubs and churches. Foodies on the prowl for authentic soul food need look no further than A Taste of Harlem Food Tour, which guides visitors to delicious Harlem restaurants (tasteharlem.com).
Learn more about the origins of hip-hop through Hush Hip Hop Tours, which wends its way through Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, all while spotlighting important hip-hop artists of the past and present (hushhiphoptours.com). Or get involved in one of the many community-focused events at the Hip Hop Culture Center at the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem (globalartistscoalition.org).
When in Harlem, don't miss out on one of the City's most popular ongoing events, Amateur Night at the Apollo, which takes place every Wednesday at 7:30pm (apollotheater.org).
Watch hip-hop producers and beat-makers compete in a beat battle at "First Fridays! Looking for the Perfect Beat: A Tribute to J Dilla," on February 5, from 6– 10pm at The Bronx Museum of the Arts. Admission is free (bronxmuseum.org).
The New York Public Library is featuring the exhibit Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience, which examines the challenges faced by African-American baseball players as they sought equal opportunities in their sport over the past 150 years. The exhibition is on display through March 6 at the library's Countee Cullen branch in Harlem (nypl.org).
Watch the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis bring the blues to life at the concert Basie & the Blues at the Rose Theater, from February 11– 13 at 8pm. Prices range from $30–$120 (jalc.org). Or take in a heartfelt tribute to Billie Holiday at Dee Dee Bridgewater: To Billie with Love—A Celebration of Lady Day, part of Lincoln Center's American Songbook series, on February 17 at 8pm (lincolncenter.org).
Now through March 25, The New-York Historical Society is presenting Lincoln and New York, an exhibit about how New York influenced the Great Emancipator, and John Brown: The Abolitionist and His Legacy, an exploration of this controversial figure and his failed raid of the Harper's Ferry arsenal. Admission is free from February 13–21; otherwise, admission is $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens and educators, and $7 for students (nyhistory.org).
Throughout the month of February, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is presenting Black History Month Films, including Bananas: The Josephine Baker Story. Registration is required. From February 5–April 18, the Schomburg Center also will be featuring President Barack Obama: The First Year—Photographs by Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer, a special exhibition offering an inside view of the first year of his historic presidency (nypl.org).
Join Adam Mansbach, author of The End of the Jews and the best-selling Angry Black White Boy, and journalist Joan Morgan on February 21 at 2:30pm at the Museum of Jewish Heritage for a discussion on hip-hop, race, identity and black–Jewish relations. And on exhibition through February 21, Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges tells the little-known tale of numerous Jewish professors, escaped from Nazi Germany, who taught at historically black colleges in the South during the times of Jim Crow legislation. The exhibition explores the impact that these scholars and students had on one another, the Civil Rights movement and American society (mjhnyc.org).
Every weekend in February, the Brooklyn Children's Museum is offering Celebrate Black History: Heritage, Culture and Traditions, a collection of programs about African and African-American leaders. Also, don't miss their new traveling exhibit from the Children's Museum of Houston, Tales From the Land of Gullah, which runs through May 2. Step into the world of the Gullah people, former slaves who settled the low country and islands of Georgia and South Carolina in the 17th century. Discover how they have preserved their songs, stories, customs and more (brooklynkids.org).
Visit one of the many public programs being offered at the Museum of the City of New York. On February 20 at 3pm, join Harlem's Keith "The Captain" Gamble in From the Root to the Fruit, a journey through the history of the blues, from the rural South to New York City, which is free with museum admission. On February 22 at 6pm, groove to Monk's Move, the T.K. Blue Quartet's tribute to the legendary Thelonious Monk, who started his illustrious and influential jazz career in the clubs of New York City. Admission is free, but reservations are required (mcny.org).
Whether you're writing a research paper or simply want to learn more about black history, New York City has a wealth of resources. Visit the Black Heritage Reference Center at the Queens Library's Langston Hughes branch, in Corona, which includes the Schomburg Clipping File, an extensive microfiche collection. Or go to the library's central branch in Jamaica to access the Carter G. Woodson Collection, a 4,000 plus–volume assemblage on the African-American experience, with an emphasis on slavery, contemporary African-American life and collected and subject biographies (queenslibrary.org).
For more information on Black History Month, visit nycgo.com.
For more information about what to see and do in New York City, visit nycgo.com. When in NYC, stop by the Official NYC Information Center at 810 Seventh Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets, in Midtown Manhattan.
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 on visiting NYC, visit nycgo.com.