Initiated in February 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month highlights the achievements of the descendants of the African diaspora. From a research center in Harlem to the historic black community of Weeksville, Brooklyn, there are scores of New York City cultural organizations that focus year-round on African-American art, films, research, history and culture.

During the month of February, provocative talks, exhibits and exciting performances going on throughout the city take a look at black leaders, activists, artists and authors who have made their mark in American history.

    Private: African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde

    Metropolitan Museum of Art


    Tue, Nov 27, 2012 - Sun, Apr 14, 2013

    This exhibition highlights the specific African artifacts acquired by the New York avant-garde and its most influential patrons during the 1910s and 1920s. Reflecting on the dynamism of New York's art scene during the years that followed the 1913 Armory Show, the exhibition brings together African works from the collections of many key individuals of the period.

    African Burial Ground National Monument

    In May 1991, the General Services Administration unearthed the skeletal remains of nearly 400 individuals of predominantly African ancestry while preparing to erect a building in Lower Manhattan. The building was stopped, but these remains are on view in an interpretative center exploring the history of African-Americans in colonial New York.

    Apollo Club Harlem

    Apollo Theater


    Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 8:30 pm

    Harlem was home to New York’s hottest clubs in the '30s and '40s, where the music of Billie, Ella, Dinah, Sarah, Duke and Dizzy became legend. Now the glamour, electricity and elegance of the Harlem Club environment is back in an all-new, nightclub-style show, staged as only the world-famous Apollo Theater could do it.

    Black Angels Over Tuskegee

    Actors’ Temple



    You don't need to see the film 'Red Tails' by George Lucas to get the Tuskegee Airmen story. This play follows six of the airmen as they become pilots in the United States Army Air Force in World War II. The play explores the men's collective struggle with Jim Crow and their intelligence, patriotism, dreams of an inclusive society.

    Private: Black Stars of the Great White Way

    Queensborough Performing Arts Center


    Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

    Broadway choral director/arranger Chapman Roberts has created this blockbuster evening of Broadway show stoppers delivered by an all-male cast featuring Norm Lewis, Tony Award nominee for "Porgy and Bess," and original cast members of such stellar Broadway hits as Eubie Blake's "Eubie," Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies," Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin," Leiber and Stoller's Grammy Winner "Smokey Joe's Café" and "Dreamgirls."

    Private: Blues For Smoke

    Whitney Museum of American Art


    Thu, Feb 07, 2013 - Sun, Apr 28, 2013

    Featuring the work of visual artists such as David Hammons, Zoe Leonard and Jean-Michel Basquiat alongside the music of jazz, blues and hip-hop legends, the exhibition considers how the blues might help us understand themes of place, performance and identity in recent art.

    Private: Detroit ’67

    Public Theater


    Tue, Feb 26, 2013 - Sun, Mar 17, 2013

    It's 1967 in Detroit. Motown music is getting the party started, and Chelle and her brother Lank are making ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours joint. But when a mysterious woman finds her way into their lives, the siblings clash over more much more than the family business.

    Private: Dreamgirls


    Fri, Jan 18, 2013 - Sun, Feb 03, 2013

    "Dreamgirls" is a musical based on the show-business aspirations and successes of renowned R&B acts: The Supremes, The Shirelles, James Brown and others. The musical is a classic, "rags to riches" tale of three young African American female singers who begin as innocents and ultimately triumph over jealousies, deceptions and a ruthless music industry.

    Faith Ringgold: Flying Home: Harlem Heroes and Heroines

    MTA Subway: 125th Street



    "Flying Home" is a mosaic mural that honors Harlem notables and makes them fly. The mural on one platform depicts performers, painters and sports figures like Dinah Washington, Sugar Ray Robinson and Josephine Baker. The opposite platform shows leaders like Malcolm X and writer Zora Neale Hurston, brought to life in mosaics that recall the cultural zenith of Harlem. The title is based on a Lionel Hampton song which Faith Ringgold heard as a child. ...

    Private: Fore

    Studio Museum in Harlem


    Sun, Nov 11, 2012 - Sun, Mar 10, 2013

    "Fore" presents 29 emerging artists of African descent who live and work across the United States. Born between 1971 and 1987, the artists in "Fore" work in diverse media, often blending artistic practices in new and innovative ways.

    Making Roots, and Making TV History

    Museum of the Moving Image


    Mon, Feb 04, 2013, 7:00 pm

    A discussion with "Roots" stars Ben Vereen, Lou Gossett Jr., LeVar Burton, and Leslie Uggams, moderated by Donald Thoms. Presented in collaboration with Pioneers of Television, the PBS series on WNET/Thirteen.

    Private: Medgar Evers Black History Month Art Exhibit

    Medgar Evers College


    Tue, Feb 12, 2013 - Wed, Mar 06, 2013

    The Medgar Evers College Black History Month Committee in conjunction with the College's Council on Visual Arts presents its annual Black History Month art exhibit. The theme is: From the Emancipation Proclamation to Obama's Affirmation: A Visual Art exhibit of the Black struggle and Black Consciousness in America. 

    New York Public Library‚ Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

    One of the most important locations outside of Africa for the study of the history and culture of peoples of African descent, the center boasts five million volumes, including rarities like a handwritten prayer by Phillis Wheatley, one of the first known African-American poets, and the original typescript of Richard Wright's novel Native Son.

    Private: Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980

    MoMA PS1


    Sun, Oct 21, 2012 - Mon, Mar 11, 2013

    Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 chronicles the vital legacy of the African American arts community in Los Angeles, examining a pioneering group of black artists whose work and connections with other artists of varied ethnic backgrounds helped shape the creative output of Southern California.

    Private: Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken and Latkes

    Actors’ Temple


    Sat, Jan 19, 2013 - Sun, Jul 21, 2013

    "Fried Chicken and Latkes," written and conceived by Rain Pryor, is a hero’s journey from the standpoint of a person born into a world of “Us vs. Them” – but not quite an “us” and not quite a “them”.

    Roundtable ’63

    Kumble Theater of the Performing Arts


    Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 7:30 pm

    Roundtable '63 is an inter-generational modern day civil rights round table dialogue re-examining the relevance of the moral, social, political, educational and human rights issues of 1963 versus 2013.

    Private: Show Way

    McGinn/Cazale Theatre


    Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - Sun, Mar 03, 2013

    In Show Way, 11-year old Toshi Georgiana has lost a beloved family heirloom. As she searches for it, she is led by generations of women who came before her, from slaves who sewed paths to freedom to civil rights marchers. Come join Toshi as she tries to find her special connection to the past and celebrates the possibilities of the future!

    Private: Tar Baby

    DR2 Theatre


    Sat, Jan 05, 2013 - Sat, Jan 19, 2013

    The celebrated Huffington Post and NY Magazine comedian Desiree Burch presents Tar Baby, the tale of America’s black-and-white love affair from shotgun wedding to “post-racial” relationship. Speaking to a growing majority of minority experiences in America, Tar Baby effortlessly weaves games, audiences, laughter and insight in an interactive carnival of race and capitalism -- where no one's a winner, but everyone's still playing!

    Weeksville Heritage Center

    This historic museum preserves the history of the free and intentional 19th century African-American community of Weeksville. In addition to tours of the Hunterfly Road houses, there are a variety of events, workshops and classes.

    Private: Words are Freedom

    Dwyer Cultural Center


    Sun, Feb 03, 2013 - Sun, Feb 24, 2013

    The Words are Freedom series take place every Sunday through February for Black History Month. Each program takes a look at notable American slaves and their stories.