From performances and lectures to cultural events and community discussions, Baltimore honors the history, heritage and heart of the African American experience.
Baltimore is a hub 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.
MLK Day of Service
January 14 | 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Creative Alliance at The Patterson
Come to Creative Alliance to create relief kits with Heart to Heart. This organization distributes much-needed supplies to refugee communities around the world. Lite fare provided. Musical performance to following service event.
MLK Day Celebration 2018
January 15 | Noon - 4 p.m. | Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
Join the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for live performances, community discussions, films, and crafts that reflect on, and honor, the civil rights leader. The Celebration includes the musical concert, “Man of Peace: The 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.” featuring choral presentations and spoken texts from Martin Luther King, Jr. set to chamber music written by music composer Benny Russell and performed by Peabody's Tuned In Orchestra. Additional activities include: MLK STEP Salute by the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women Step Team
A Guide to Visionary Artists of color
January 15 - December 20, 2019 | 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. | American Visionary Art Musuem
With museum admission, pick up a free copy of a Guide to Visionary Artists of Color. The guide takes you on a self-guided through the permanent collection of a rich legacy of African American and other artists of color.
Black Restaurant Challenge
February 2 - 25 | Various Restaurants
We Challenge you to take a friend or a family member, and dine at two African American Owned restaurants a week during the month of February.
February 2 - 15 | 8 - 10 p.m. | Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
A history-making production of Othello in 1833 will shock London audiences and reverberate through history to influence theatre today. Red Velvet, by Lolita Chakrabarti, takes audiences backstage to witness the London debut of the trailblazing African-American actor Ira Aldridge as Shakespeare’s tragic Venetian general. He was the first man of color to play the role at an influential European theatre. Based on a true story.
Bob Marley’s Birthday Soul Shakedown
February 3 | 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.
Booklovers’ Breakfast Featuring April Ryan
February 3 | 8:30 a.m. - Noon | Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel
White House correspondent April Ryan headlines the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Booklovers' Breakfast. Ryan is the author of The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America.
To Catch a Thief: Constellation Fights the Slave Trade
February 3, 10, 17 and 24 | 1 p.m. | USS Constellation
Join the USS CONSTELLATION educators as they retell the narrative of the USS CONSTELLATION's role in fighting against the international slave trade and her capture of the slave ship CORA.
Frederick Douglass at 200
February 7 | 6:30 p.m. | Maryland Historical Society
Noted scholar and professor of history at Yale University, David Blight, Ph.D., will bring his expertise to discuss importance of Frederick Douglass's life and thought as part of our recognition of Black History month at the Maryland Historical Society.
Opening Reception: Ira's Shakespeare Dream
February 7 | 6:30 - 8 p.m. | Enoch Pratt Free Library
Ira's Shakespeare Dream is a book for children about Ira Aldridge, the celebrated African American Shakespearean actor. Written by Glenda Armand, the book is illustrated by the award-winning artist Floyd Cooper. Meet and talk with Glenda Armand and Floyd Cooper at this opening reception for the special exhibit of Cooper's illustrations from Ira's Shakespeare Dream.
200th Anniversary Celebration - Frederick Douglass Day @ the Lewis
February 10 | Noon - 4 p.m. | Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt St.
Celebrate the 200th birthday of Maryland abolitionist Frederick Douglass at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum with an array of activities honoring this iconic statesman. John Stauffer, a professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University will present a lecture on Frederick Douglass’ America. Other activities will include readings of Douglass’s speeches by living history re-enactors and a children’s art and story hour with illustrator London Ladd on his recent book, Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass.
A Shakespeare Connection: Frederick Douglass, Ira Aldridge, and Othello
February 13 | 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. | Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
February’s monthly lunchtime open house in downtown's landmark Chesapeake Shakespeare theatre commemorates the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass' birth. Did you know that Douglass participated in a Shakespeare reading club? He sometimes quoted from Othello in his own writing. Admission is free for our drop-in, casual open house. Bring your lunch. Concessions will be open, selling beverages and snacks.
An Evening with Tayari Jones
February 14 | 6:30 - 8 p.m. | Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library
Join the Enoch Pratt Free Library for a Valentine's Day evening with novelist Tayari Jones who will read and discuss her new book "An American Marriage," followed by a book signing and heart-theme refreshments.
Happy Birthday Frederick Douglass
February 15 - March 2 | Johns Hopkins University
This small exhibition of some of Douglass's many publications--including two of his memoirs, an 1851 newspaper, and signature speeches printed as pamphlets--shows the depth and range of Douglass' intellectual brand of activism. Special Collections Reading Room, Brody Learning Commons M-Level, Homewood campus, Johns Hopkins University
Underground Railroad for Kids
February 17 | 1 - 3 p.m. | Mount Clare Museum House
Learn about the Underground Railroad and how enslaved persons escaped using the stars as their guides. During this interactive program, participants will read Follow the Drinking Gourd, develop our own secret code, and make a constellation scope to take home. Pre-paid reservations are required. Space is limited. Tour is included. Email [email protected] for additional information.
Phoebe and Eubie: The Odd Couple
February 18 | 1-2 p.m. | Jewish Musuem of Maryland
Phoebe Jacobs saved the careers of almost all early African American jazz pioneers, including Baltimorean Eubie Blake. Throughout her career, Jacobs was the publicist, manager, producer and ‘fixer for such trailblazers as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Surah Vaughan and Wynton Marsalis. Jacobs was also an avowed feminist and civil rights activist, who would eventually take on the mafia and the political establishment to bring about a semblance of equality for all jazz musicians.
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Book Fair
February 24 | 12-4 p.m. | Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum & Park
the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Literary Forum & Book Fair will be held at the Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum & Park. Featuring authors, publishers, publicists, literary agents, vendors, exhibitors, spoken word artists, performers. Children books, Christian books, poetry, inspirational, educational, historical and other positive literary works. Free and open to the public. RSVP: [email protected].
Frederick Douglass Week Tours
Through September 3, 2018
Join BBH Tours to celebrate the life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass with lectures, re-enactments, tours and discussions. Contact Lou Fields, 443-983-7974 or [email protected].
Black History Month Gospel Cruise
February 24 | 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Spirit Cruises Baltimore
Celebrate Black History Month aboard Spirit of Baltimore, during a special narrated lunch cruise, highlighting important moments in Black History on the Inner Harbor. This year, we're also partnering with Heaven 600 to bring you a live gospel performance.
Baltimore’s Legends & Legacies Jubilee
February 17 | Noon-4 p.m. | Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park
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.
Exhibit: Ira's Shakespeare Dream, Illustrations by Floyd Cooper
February 5 - May 27 | Enoch Pratt Library
Ira's Shakespeare Dream is a book for children written about Ira Aldridge, the celebrated African American Shakespearean actor. Written by Glenda Armand, the book is illustrated by award-winning artists Floyd Cooper. See the exhibit of Cooper's work at the Enoch Pratt Central Library
Black Box: Kara Walker & Hank Willis Thomas
Through March 18 | 12-5 p.m. | The Baltimore Museum of Art
Walker’s Salvation, 2000, is a complex consideration of African American and female identity within the tragic history of American slavery. The central silhouetted female figure is characteristic of Walker’s work, which collides racial stereotypes and violent scenes with the genteel tradition of cut paper silhouettes.
Celebrate Black History Month at the B&O
February 1-28 | The B&O Railroad Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate
The B&O Railroad Museum celebrates the contribution of African Americans to the railroad industry. Learn about these mena dn women who filled vital jobs along the B&O Railroad's line and understand how significant social issues, such as segragation, affected railroading.
7th Annual Johns Hopkins Black History Month Student Competition
February 24-March 3| 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.
Meet Frederick Douglass During the Civil War
February 17 - April 18 | 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. | Baltimore Civil War Museum
Steve Cole aka Frederick Douglass will Greet Visitors at 12:00 Noon about the USCT Volunteers and the Civil War at the Frederick Douglass - Isaac Myers Museum for the Frederick Douglass Jubilee February 17, 2018. Also Mr. Cole will reappear Saturday April 14, 2018 at the Baltimore Civil War Museum from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
Frederick Douglass Visitor Center Exhibit
February 1 - 28 | Baltimore Visitor Center
Baltimore celebrates the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass this year. The celebration will commence with a major kick-off at Baltimore’s City Hall on February 1st at noon. In honor of the Great orator, abolitionist and women’s suffrage advocate, the Baltimore National Heritage Area installed an exhibit at the Baltimore Visitor Center to commemorate Black History month and Frederick Douglass’ life as a native Marylander. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a reproduction of an oil pastel mural created in collaboration in 2016 by Baltimore City Public School - Highlandtown Elementary/Middle #215, 6th and 7th graders.