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Black History Month at the New-York Historical Society

Black History Month


Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow
September 7, 2018 – March 2, 2019
In the fifty years following the Civil War, efforts to create an interracial society were met with a harsh backlash. Learn how black Americans fought for their own rights during the tumultuous Jim Crow era.

Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean
November 2, 2018 – May 27, 2019
Get up close with Saar’s moving work on washboards that reclaim derogatory images such as Aunt Jemimas, Uncle Toms, sambos, and mammies and create representations of strength and perseverance.


Witnesses to History: African American Voting Rights
November 15, 2018 – April 28, 2019
Examine documents, photographs, and other materials that trace the history of African American voting rights, including letters written by Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr.

Remembering Slavery in New York: A Special Installation
February 1–28, 2019
Originally on view in New-York Historical’s landmark 2005 exhibition Slavery in New York, Brooklyn artist Deryck Fraser’s innovative wire figure sculptures evoke the earliest Africans in New York, brought to the Dutch colony in 1627 as the city’s first enslaved people.

Betye Saar Installation


Docent Led Gallery Tour—Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean
Tuesday, February 5
Explore Saar’s work on washboards, blending the personal and the political to confront the continued racism in America.

The Lincoln Legacy
Tuesday, February 12
Historian Harold Holzer looks at the Great Emancipator’s enduring presence within the American consciousness.

Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America
Wednesday, February 13
Historians Martha S. Jones and Eric Foner  uncover the history of how free African American activists fought for their status as citizens before the Civil War.

Back in Class: History of Black Citizenship
Saturday, February 16
Take an interactive tour of our exhibition Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow then work collaboratively and get hands-on with historical images, documents, and artifacts.

Docent Led Gallery Tour—Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow
Wednesday, February 20
Discover how did African Americans organized to overcome the hardships of Jim Crow in the 50 years following the Civil War.

Ragtime to Jazz: Harlem's Black and Jewish Music Culture, 1890-1930
Wednesday, February 20
Harlem historian John Reddick takes a riveting look at how the neighborhood’s African American and Jewish musicians expressed their outsider feelings at the dawn of the 20th century.

Women’s History Salon—Hearing Black History Live and Out Loud
Friday, February 22
Dandy Wellington and His Band bring to life the sounds of 1930s and ‘40s Big Band Jazz, featuring songs associated with women who have been vital to Jazz and the African American experience.  

Minstrelsy from Jim Crow to Digital Blackface
Monday, February 25
Dr. Eric Lott and New-York Historical’s Dominique Jean-Louis explore the history—and modern legacy—of minstrelsy and blackface.

Civil Rights in the Age of Trump
Tuesday, February 26
Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad discusses how the legacy of Jim Crow continues to reverberate throughout American society today.

Women’s History Salon—Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence
Wednesday, February 27
Historian Kellie Carter Jackson and NYU professor Steven Hahn look at antebellum history to examine the perennial question: Is violence a valid means of producing social change?  

Nerdy Thursdays: Black Citizenship Historic Remix Night
Thursday, February 28
At this signature event from the Black Gotham Experience, enjoy cocktails, listen to music, hear from experts, tour our exhibitions, and explore how history is a process—that sometimes needs a remix.

Living History Image


Living History: Founding Black Harlem
Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3, 12–4 pm
Meet Madam C.J. Walker—America’s first black woman millionaire!—and the women she trained at her salon.

Living History: Schools in Reconstruction
Saturday, February 9 and Sunday, February 10, 12–4 pm
Chat with African American school teachers from the Reconstruction era and try your hand at lettering and other 19th-century school exercises!

Reading into History Family Book Club—Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl
Sunday, February 10, 2–4 pm
Join author Tonya Bolden to discuss this captivating story about a young girl living in NYC before, during, and after the Civil War.

Living History: The First Black Elected Officials
Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17, 12–4 pm
Meet Hiram Revels—the first black senator—and other black officials elected after the Civil War. Plus cast your vote to learn about elections in the late 19th-century.

February School Vacation Week: Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow
Saturday, February 16 – Sunday, February 24, 1–3 pm
Explore our exhibition and try your hand at special crafts and activities that celebrate African American heroes!

Living History: Investigative Reporting and Jim Crow
Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24, 12–4 pm
Meet the formidable late-19th century journalist Ida B. Wells, who reported on lynching during the Jim Crow era.




Creative: Tronvig Group