Black History Month Events in Boston 2017
It’s time to celebrate Black History Month, the Boston way. Across the city, various organizations and programs feature performances, walking tours, gallery exhibits and more. More of a homebody? Grab a title from the Boston Public Library’s annual “Black Is…” booklist, including Senator Cory Booker’s United or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Writings on the Wall to kick it off.
African American Patriots Tour
Step back in time—to the 1800s, to be exact—and walk the Freedom Trail with guides dressed in era-appropriate gear and hear tales of bravery, poetry, and defiance from black Bostonians such as Crispus Attucks, the first person killed in the Boston Massacre, and Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet.
$12, through February 28, Saturdays and Sundays 12:45 p.m. Boston Common Visitor Information Center, 139 Tremont St., Boston, 617-357-8300, the freedomtrail.org.
Picturing Frederick Douglass
Featuring over 90 historic newspapers, photographs and books, explore the history of 19th century race and photography at the Boston Museum of African American History. Containing handwritten letters by abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the exhibit sheds light on an exciting time in history and includes previously unpublished materials.
Free, On display through July 2017, Mondays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Boston Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St., Boston, 617-720-2991, maah.org.
Wrestling with Freedom
Jacqui Parker’s three one-act plays tell the story of three separate time periods to highlight the connection of African American history of the 18th and 19th centuries, with historical icons such as Harriet Tubman and John Brown, with present-day turmoil. The final act takes place in the year 2020 as a modern day civil war looms in the distance.
$25, February 10-February 26, Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 4 p.m., Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St., Roxbury, 617-541-3900, madison-park.org.
Boston Black at the Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum exhibits Boston Black, an experience designed to take guests through a variety of Boston neighborhoods and explore the diversity and communities within the greater city. The exhibit is designed to help families find new ways to talk about race and identity.
$16, Saturday-Thursday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston, bostonchildrensmuseum.org.
Black History at the MFA
The Museum of Fine Arts hosts a gallery talk with graduate student lecturer, Laura Heath-Stout, who considers the representation of African American and Afro-Latino people in the collections within the museum. Exploring the work in the Americas Wing and the Contemporary Art collections, Heath-Stout focuses on artists like painter John Singer and contemporary artist Andrew Bowers.
$25 (price of museum admission), Saturday, February 11 and 19, noon, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org
Cambridge Jazz Festival
Dance the night away listening to renowned vocalist Gabrielle Goodman and saxophonist Walter Beasley. Paying tribute to Johnny Hodges, a Cambridge native best known for his role as a solo saxophonist in Duke Ellington’s Big Band, Beasley will keep the memory alive with soulful sounds.
$40, Sunday, February 19, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Abundant Life Church, 47 Howard St., Cambridge, cambridgejazzfestival.org.
City of Cambridge hosts author Bernice L. McFadden
Sponsored by Mayor E. Denise Simmons, the Cambridge Public Library will host author Bernice L. McFadden for a book reading and signing. She will read from her most recent novel, The Book of Harlan, which was nominated for the 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction.
Free, Thursday, February 23, 6 p.m., Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, cambridgema.gov.
Breaking Thru: A Celebration of Queer Black Women
The Theater Offensive’s Out’Hood Series honors queer black female artists and their contributions to Boston’s culture. The theater itself strives to break through personal isolation and challenge the status quo. The show features performances by Rebecca Mwase, Black Venus, and Dominique Coley, with spoken words, music, poetry and more.
Free, Friday, February 24, 7 p.m.-10 p.m., The Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road, Boston, thetheateroffensive.org.
The Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the “past, present and to our future” achievements of African Americans through this soul-stirring mixture of song and dance.
$30, Saturday, February 25, 5 p.m., The Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Rd, Boston, rcpaboston.org.