Since Philadelphia’s earliest days, African-American culture has played an influential role in shaping the city’s personality.
This February, Philadelphia celebrates that heritage and Black History Month with special events, exhibitions, film screenings and other activities.
- African American Museum in Philadelphia: All month long, The African American Museum in Philadelphia in Old City buzzes with activity. Events kick off with a screening and discussion of documentaryThe Contradictions of Fair Hope on Saturday, February 1, a work produced by S. Epatha Merkerson (of Law & Order fame) and Rockell Metcalf, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and accompanied by a Christian McBride score. On Saturday, February 8, Zulu native Godfrey Sithole invites people to Step Into South Africa! with a program that delves into South African languages, music, religions and rites of passage. Through Saturday, February 22, guests get an intimate look at the museum’s current art exhibition, The Unflinching Eye: Works of the Tiberino Family Circle, through gallery tours led by members of the Tiberino family and a mural workshop for children.
- National Constitution Center: At the National Constitution Center, visitors can pick up a special “African-American History Month” guide outlining daily events and activities and artifacts related to African-American history or the struggles African Americans have faced to gain equality as citizens. Highlights includeDecoding the Document, a workshop that examines the museum’s own rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln, and the interactive Breaking Barriers show, spotlighting the lives of Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson and other barrier-breaking African-Americans.
- Independence National Historical Park: Among the ongoing activities this February at Independence National Historical Park: 30-minute, ranger-led programs on The Underground Railroad in Philadelphia, taking place every Saturday and Sunday in the Second Bank’s Portrait Gallery; a wreath-laying ceremony at the Liberty Bell marking National Freedom Day, when President Lincoln signed a resolution from Congress that proposed the Thirteenth Amendment, outlawing slavery; and ongoing programming at The President’s House, the commemorative site where the first president and nine enslaved Africans lived.
Compiled from uwishunu