By continuing your visit to the site you accept the use of cookies in order to make visit statistics. Read more about our Cookie Policy

Honoring the Legacy: Celebrating Black History Month in NYC

February 21, 2020 | 5 min Read

While its roots date back to the 1920s, President Gerald Ford formally recognized Black History Month during the U.S. Bicentennial. He urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” February is an inspiring month dedicated to just that, and New York has no shortage of events celebrating Black History Month.

New York has long been a heavy-hitting cultural center for African Americans, and this legacy and history are on full display this month. We’ve comprised a list of historical sites, tours and more that celebrate the contributions, acknowledge the struggles, and leave the visitor more aware of both the past and present experiences of African Americans and blacks. While some events are date-specific, many are available year-round.

Namesakes: African Americans in NYC Parks

The Arsenal Gallery hosting a photo exhibit titled, Namesakes: African Americans in NYC Parks (through February 27). The work showcases photos of some of the men and women whose accomplishments are honored and commemorated in the names of the City’s green spaces, as well as images of daily life in the namesake parks. From Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan to Hattie Carthan Community Garden in Brooklyn, the images are an arresting window into the past.

9 am – 5 pm Mon-Fri 

Free Admission

64th Street and Fifth Avenue inside Central Park 

Third Floor of the Arsenal Building

New York, NY 

(212) 360-8163

Phenomenal Black Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is hosting an event, Phenomenal Black Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in conjunction with Black History Month to help contribute content about black history and culture to the user-populated, online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. In particular, this event will focus on black women who have been marginalized and whose contributions are missing or are incomplete on the site. Bring your laptop to this event!

February 22, 2020

12-6 pm

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

515 Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave)

New York, NY 10037

Jamaica Performing Arts Center

Queens’ Jamaica Performing Arts Center marks Black History Month with a plethora of activities this February, including an evening of movies at the first-ever Black History Month Film Festival (February 22); an intimate conversation with choreographer Paige Stewart plus a tribal-inspired performance by her Kingdom Dance Company (February 23). February at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center concludes with the 13th annual Black History Month Cultural Gala Weekend featuring the Fanike African Dance Troupe whose mission is to “to perpetuate the survival of African & African Diaspora culture & arts through dance & percussion presentation.”

(February 29 and March 1).

Jamaica Performing Arts Center

153-10 Jamaica Avenue

Jamaica, NY 11432

UN Black History Tours

Every weekday in February, the United Nations is offering a Black History themed tour at its offices. The tour invites visitors to explore the UN through an African lens. The tour also includes a unique look at the Ark of Return, a permanent memorial that honors victims of slavery. In addition, visitors will learn about the contributions of people of African descent in fields such as peace and human rights, with a special emphasis on decolonization.

February 2020 

2:30pm Mon-Fri

United Nations

First Ave. at 46th St.

Manhattan, NY 10017

Harlem Heritage Tours

Harlem Heritage Tours offers walking tours that capture the rich cultural history of the Harlem neighborhood. All tour guides are local to Harlem and welcome the opportunity to share their cultural history and continuing legacy within the African American community of Harlem. Harlem Heritage Tours has several on-going tours, including the Harlem Civil Rights Multimedia tour where participants visit places associated with the civil rights movement of 1950’s and 1960’s. The experience is amplified by audio and visual aids. There’s also the Harlem Renaissance Multimedia Walking Tour that visits sights that tell the history of the 1920s arts and culture explosion that came out of Harlem, redefining what it meant to be African American. This tour takes you in the footsteps of larger-than-life figures such as Billie Holiday, Langston Highs, Duke Ellington and more. For more information on times and tours, see the link below.

Harlem Heritage Tourism & Cultural Center 

104 Malcolm X Blvd

New York, NY 10026

Apollo Theater- Shaft with Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber

Harlem heavy-hitter, the Apollo Theater, is celebrating the iconic 1971 film Shaft on February 29. The screening will take place alongside a live concert performance of the film’s score. Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber and conductor Greg Tate will play “Theme from Shaft,” which won a Grammy award and also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 40 charts, among other funk tunes from the film. The movie was originally filmed in Harlem and other New York City locations and its genre was among the first to portray black actors and communities as heroes and principal characters of a film.

Feb 29, 2020

8 pm

Apollo Theater

253 W 125th St, 

New York, NY 10027

Staying in New York City – About The Lombardy Hotel

The Lombardy Hotel is just as iconic to Midtown Manhattan as many of the other historic and cultural attractions in the area. Not only are our rooms comfortable and tasteful, we provide amenities such as a full salon, coffee shop, and exercise room. We also host the American Cut Midtown steakhouse, perfect for a business lunch or dinner on a special occasion. We look forward to hosting you.

If this article was useful