Black History Month encourages us to consider the many achievements of African-Americans throughout history. The commemoration dates back to a week-long event pioneered by scholar Carter G. Woodson, which transformed into a month-long celebration in 1970. If you feel comfortable wearing a mask, we encourage you to check out the Brooklyn Children Museum’s Black Future Festival this weekend. Otherwise, there are plenty of convenient and unique ways to dive into cultural history online, without leaving your home.
Black History Month at the New York Public Library (NYPL)
NYPL offers a treasure trove of Black History Month activities for families, including:
- Picture Books Reading List – Request a physical copy or e-book, or access online instantly, using Digital Books or Bookshare accounts. Featured books cover famous personalities like Martin Luther King Jr and Duke Ellington, but also everyday experiences like running a bookstore, coping with the grief of loss, and working cotton fields as a young child in California.
- Be sure to check out the Schomberg Center’s curated list of “Black Liberation List for Young Readers,”accommodating physical copy requests and free checkout of e-books on Overdrive.
- Watch NYPL Story Time – Librarians read their favorite books featuring black characters or written by African-American authors about the black experience. Stories include “Sulwe,” “Black Girl Magic,” and “My Rainy Day Rocket Ship.”
- Black History Month Kids Events – Every day features different virtual events, from a chat and draw for ages 8-12 with black cartoonists and Black History Month Jeopardy, to read-aloud craft-alongs and book discussions.
Poe Park Visitor Center’s Black History Month Exposition
- Documentary photography: Michael Young; Trevon Blondet.
- Mixed-media: Terrenceo Hammonds; Betty J. Murray; Gloria Zapata; Gregorio Velez.
- Paintings: James Deliard; Josipa Kecman.
- Wood prints: Joan Barnes.
- Digital collage: Patrice J. Payne.
The New Museum’s Jordan Casteel Exhibit, “Within Reach”
Painter Jordan Casteel seeks to tell the stories of the overlooked people of color who bring the city to life, from Harlem street musicians and a little boy on a lap, to art students at Rutgers University and merch sellers. The virtual tour features 40 colorful, oversized portraits.
New York Botanical Garden’s Black History Month at Home
You’ll be missing the sweet smells of the blooms this year, but you can expect the same high-quality, family-friendly programming, such as:
- A welcome message from NY State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey.
- A performance, “Let Us Pull Together,” by the Harambee Dance Company.
- A “Tree Time” read-aloud, education segment, and activity for children ages 4-8.
National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits of African-Americans
This comprehensive collection of famous faces is a national treasure, featuring brief bios and photographs, sketches, and paintings of everyone from Frederick Douglas and Jackie Robinson, to Shirley Chisholm and former President Barack Obama.
- View the portraits on Google Arts & Culture.
- Take a Black History Month virtual field trip at US museums on Google Arts & Culture.
National Museum of African-American History & Culture’s Joyful Fridays
Though the NMAAHC is closed during the pandemic, they’re offering webinar-style Zoom classes featuring literature, discussion, and art, geared toward kids ages 4-8, taking inspiration from the Joyful ABC Activity Book series. On the 26th, they’ll be creating protest word paintings. Past activities include hat-making, portrait art, and sculpting from recycled materials.
- Register for the live class, Fridays 11-11:45 – it’s free.
- OR collect your resources and watch the videos on-demand.
We celebrate Black History Month as part of embracing a multicultural world and an important step in raising children who are wiser and kinder. If you liked this list, be sure to check out Shine’s “How To Raise a Culturally Sensitive Kid.” You will find a diverse and inclusive atmosphere at any of our upcoming classes, camps, parties, and workshops. We are open and operating under all the CDC and local COVID-19 protocols.