We’re halfway through the month, but there are still plenty of opportunities to Black History Month. Celebrated since 1976, February also marks the births of social reformer Frederick Douglass and emancipator Abraham Lincoln. The commemoration is not only recognized here, but also in Canada and the UK. Best of all, you needn’t travel far! The East End has much to offer families looking to honor the struggles and triumphs of African Americans who helped shape our nation throughout history.
Take a hike!
On Saturdays, Lone Star Lakes Park at 401 Kings Highway in Suffolk County is hosting “Celebrate Black Joy in the Outdoors,” featuring a beginner-level two-mile hike, archery, and cycling activities. Space is limited to 10 per session, so be sure to register in advance to save your spot.
If sessions book up, you might consider bundling up to check out one of these NYC parks honoring the Black experience. Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale is hosting two Black History Month events: Art by Basquiat self-portrait making (2/18) and Planet Explorers planetary activities and stargazing (2/25). Follow the link to register in advance.
Explore a museum!
The Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum in Washington DC are offering “Joyful Fridays,” a free virtual event geared toward ages 4-8. Each Friday, kids will learn about an important figure or topic related to Black culture through art projects and lessons. Parents are encouraged to register in advance to receive a live Zoom link for 11am-12pm and a list of supplies needed for the project. Upcoming topics include Granville T. Woods & The Roller Coaster (2/18) and Black Creativity & Abstract Art (2/25).
If you prefer the in-person museum experience, the African American Museum of Nassau County in Hempstead displays themed exhibits highlighting historical figures, events, music, and art around the world. Currently, they’re showcasing “The Women of NASA” and “The Black Royals.”
Visit a library!
Check your local library’s calendar for Black History Month themed events or try one of these:
- 2/17: Art of Romare Bearden collage craft at Huntington Public Library Station Branch
- 2/22: Gee’s Bend quilt-making craft at Hempstead Public Library
- 2/22: Whaler’s Wanted grades 3-6 wooden ship-building craft at Longwood Public Library
These events are free, but advance registration is required.
Grab a bite!
Local Black-owned food businesses will satisfy every craving. Sample six generations of Southern BBQ in Freeport at Bobby Q’s, with cheeseburger sliders for the kids. Follow it up with delectable desserts from The Sweet Love Company on Long Island.
Jazz it up!
The John and Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills invites jazz fans to a world of memorabilia, exhibits, and meditation spaces. Kids 5+ can learn about music improv by attending one of the family workshops. Call or email to inquire about upcoming tours and events.
The Black-owned Dera Ebele’s Nail Boutique offers a bounty of mani/pedi/facial treatments for adults, as well as “Little Empress” manicures and pedicures specifically for kids. The velvet thrones, gold mirrors, and chandeliers create a posh atmosphere fit for royalty.
If you’d like to partake in more cultural activities, come visit the new Shine studio, where we embrace every color, culture, and creed, celebrating the beauty of our diversity through song, dance, art, storytelling, and culinary delights.