Baltimore is an epicenter of African American culture and heritage, with a wealth of organizations honoring our unique cultural legacy year-round, but with particular emphasis on events in January surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day and throughout February, Black History Month. Below is more information about special events.
Winter in America: The Revolutionary Words and Music of Gil Scott Heron
January 28 | 8 p.m. | The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.
Lifelong funkateer Joe Keyes "The Late Bloomer", along with a guest appearance from Gia Scott Heron, daughter of Gil Scott Heron, celebrate the words and music of the late Gil Scott Heron.
National Aquarium's Black History Month Celebration
February 3 | 5-8 p.m. | Half-price Friday night admission | National Aquarium, 501 Pratt St.
Celebrate the roles African Americans have played within the Chesapeake Bay's maritime and seafood industries with a special evening of music, performances and interactive activities such as exploring skipjack artifacts and trying the fading art of oyster tonging.
Bob Marley’s Birthday Soul Shakedown
February 4 | 8 p.m. | The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.
Reggae artists Thievery Corporation, See-I, with their 10-piece band will headline the annual dance party celebrating Bob Marley.
Picturing Frederick Douglass with John Stauffer, Ph.D., Harvard University
February 4 (Snow date: February 25) | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
As the most photographed American in the 19th century, the landmark work “Picturing Frederick Douglass” by Dr. John Stauffer examines how Douglass embraced photography and its influence in shaping public opinion.
To Catch a Thief Tour
February 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 | 3 p.m. | USS Constellation historic ship, 301 E. Pratt St.
Every Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. during Black History Month, Historic Ships in Baltimore will offer its To Catch a Thief Tour aboard the USS Constellation. These tours focus on the ship's capture of the slave ship CORA and general role in the fight against the international slave trade.
Free Tours at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum
February 4, 11, 18, 25 | Noon to 4 p.m. | Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum
Throughout the month of February, in celebration of Black History Month, the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum will be open every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. for tours at no charge.
Baltimore Black Memorabilia Fine Art & Crafts Show
February 11 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
Spend the day acquiring black memorabilia, fine art and crafts. Meet Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Al-Shabazz, for a book signing.
Creativity Exchange: Intersections Between Black Artists & Black-Owned Businesses
February 11 | 12-5 p.m. | The Baltimore Museum of Art
Participate in a lively discussion with Baltimore-based artists and entrepreneurs about the unique ways they collaborate on innovative projects. Chat with the panelists, network with each other during the reception and vendor fair, and join in a free workshop to creatively strengthen your business skills. Space in the workshop is limited. Reserve your ticket at artbma.org. This event has been generously co-sponsored by the Joshua Johnson Council.
“The Ground on Which We Stand: An Exploration of Black Excellence”
February 12 | 4 p.m. | Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St.
A performance of music, dance, art film and projection technology will highlight breakthrough moments in history and celebrate luminaries such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, Billie Holiday and others. The event is sponsored in partnership with the Baltimore Chapter of Jack and Jill and Baltimore Center Stage. Proceeds will benefit the Jack and Jill Foundation of America and Franklin Square Elementary Middle School in Baltimore.
Frederick Douglass Week Tours
Join BBH Tours to celebrate the life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass with lectures, re-enactments, tours and discussions. Contact Contact Lou Fields, 443-983-7974 or email@example.com.
Screening of “Awake Zion” Film
February 16 | 7:30 p.m. | The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.
The film explores how the Crown Heights race riots in the summer of '91 set the tone for an urban battleground between Jewish and Black communities in Brooklyn and inspired a vibrant and unique music scene with a hybrid of Rasta and Jewish influences.
“What Does It Mean to Be Black” Discussion
February 16 | 7:30 p.m. | The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.
Activists SHAN, Leila Rghioui and Aurelio Martinez will lead a discussion about what it means to be Black, with performances by Shalanda Hansboro and DJ Pierre. The event will be hosted by Linnea Poole and L. Gerald Leavell II.
Third Thursday Late Admission and Music
February 16 | 5-8 p.m. | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
$8 members/$10 non-members
Enjoy late-night admission to the galleries and a live musical performance. Doors open at 5 p.m., with performances beginning at 6 p.m. Sponsored by WEAA.
“Never Caught: Ona Judge, The Washingtons, and the Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave” Book Talk and Reception
February 16 | 5 p.m. reception followed by talk | Mason Hall Auditorium, 3101 Wyman Park Drive
Free, advance registration requested
Historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar, the Blue and Gold Professor of Black Studies and History at the University of Delaware, discusses her new book recounting the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked it all to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom. The event is hosted by Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Museum, the 1801 National Historic Landmark property built by Maryland’s Carroll family. Call: 410-516-5589
Garifuna Soul: Aurelio Martinez
February 17 | 8 p.m. | The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.
Singer-songwriter Aurelio Martinez, brings his danceable sounds influenced by the Garifuna’s West African and Amerindian ancestry to the Creative Alliance. Martinez is a native Garifuna of the Caribbean Coast of Central America in the Bay Islands of Honduras.
Baltimore’s Legends & Legacies Jubilee
February 18 | Noon-4 p.m. | Baltimore Visitor Center, 401 Light St.
In celebration of Black History Month, Visit Baltimore and GreiBo Entertainment will present an afternoon of free, interactive and family-friendly activities from the city’s top attractions to celebrate Baltimore’s rich African American heritage and culture, while encouraging inclusivity and community engagement. The event will also feature the Morgan State University Choir and storytelling grios, as well as food demonstrations and samples. Exhibitors hosting interactive activities include Baltimore Heritage Tours, Baltimore National Heritage Area, Greater Baltimore History Alliance, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, The Maryland Historical Society, The Maryland Zoo, the National Aquarium, The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum and The Walters Art Museum.
The Gigi Gumspoon Show
February 18 | 2 p.m. | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
Sing along with early childhood teaching artist Gigi Gumspoon as she promotes the African philosophy of “Ubuntu”, a sense of community and humanity.
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice”
February 19 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
Follow the 18 African American athletes who defied Adolf Hitler and Jim Crow to win hearts and medals at the 1936 Olympics. A post-film discussion with filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper and local Olympians will follow.
Artist Talk: “Seventeen Men: Portraits of Black Civil War Soldiers”
February 22 | 6:30 p.m. | Evergreen Museum & Library, 4545 N. Charles St.
Free, Advance registration is requested by calling 410-516-0341, or by email. Walk-in registration is based on seating availability. Michigan artist Shayne Davidson discusses her exhibition “Seventeen Men: Portraits of Black Civil War Soldiers,” on view through June 4, 2017 at Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum & Library.
Free Verizon Open House at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
February 25 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
Verizon sponsors the annual event and provides some programming and information tables related to black organizations.
Walter Wolfman Washington Mardis Gras Blues Party
February 23 | 8 p.m. | The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.
Celebrate Fat Tuesday a few days early with one of the masters of New Orleans rhythm and blues, the great Walter “Wolfman” Washington.
Tea and Tour with American Girl Doll Addy Walker
February 25 | 2 p.m. | Mount Clare Museum House, 1500 Washington Blvd.
$6 members/$10 non-members
American Girl Doll Addy Walker was an enslaved girl who sought freedom with her mother in Philadelphia. Learn about the difficult decisions Addy had to make and her adjustment from slavery to freedom during this tea for children ages 4 to 12. The event includes tea, conversation, crafting a wooden spool doll like Addy’s, and a tour of Mount Clare that explains the history of slavery at Mount Clare and in Baltimore.
Black History Month Lunch Cruise
February 25 | 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. | Spirit of Baltimore, 561 Light St.
Cruise will include a lunch buffet and feature a special narration highlighting moments of Black History across Baltimore’s waterfront. A DJ will play a set list in tribute to notable African-American artists, such as Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Diana Ross, Prince and others.
“Makers of the Railroad: African Americans on the B&O”
Through February 28 | The B&O Railroad Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate
The exhibition includes rare images from the B&O Railroad photograph collection, uniform pieces of dining car porters, baggage and equipment used by African American workers for passenger service, and history of African Americans on the railroad, serving as porters, waiters, chefs, and innovators.
“Sons: Seeing the Modern African American Male”
Through December 31, 2017 | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
“Sons” is more than a photographic study of the modern African American male. It is also an examination of how African American men are perceived. The exhibition asks visitors to compare their perceptions to reality, journeying through four parts of the gallery. The exhibition asks visitors to compare their perceptions to reality, journeying through four parts of the gallery. From this microcosm of African American males, visitors can learn of some of the realities and challenges facing African American men.
7th Annual Johns Hopkins Black History Month Student Competition
February 24-March 11| The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.
In collaboration with Johns Hopkins, the Creative Alliance hosts a Black History Month Competition featuring works by Baltimore public school students that depict the history of African Americans in Baltimore.
The Eubie Blake Cultural Center
Through Feb. 28
One Baltimore family, three generations of photographers, documenting the strength, beauty and pride of the African American community during 1940's-’60s segregation and the Civil Rights Movement.
The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
Celebrate Black History Month throughout the entire month of February at The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. The museum hosts an assortment of events including roundtables, documentaries, panel discussions and more.