Organizations across Philadelphia are commemorating Black History Month with a variety of events and activities in February.
The La Salle University community can immerse in Black history, past and present, through art exhibitions, live theater, forum discussions, and more. La Salle’s home in Philadelphia provides access and opportunity for learning—whether on or off campus.
Check out what’s happening this month to celebrate Black History Month:
La Salle’s chapter of the African American Student League hosts the first of several Black History Month programs on Thursday, Feb. 3. This table-talk event, available via Zoom, begins at 6 p.m. and features student-led breakout sessions on topics like mental health and financial literacy.
There’s also a campus beautification project scheduled for Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. (Details to follow. Check AASL’s Instagram account for more information.)
On the library’s first floor is a mini-exhibition exploring the theme of protest, including items from the university’s Special Collections. The exhibition’s wide-variety of material documents dissent against racial injustice and oppression over the last two centuries, from abolitionism to Black Lives Matter.
In Connelly’s new acquisitions section, located on the first floor, is also a display of books related to Black history, art, and literature.
Cultural coffee hour
Visit the Multicultural and International Center for a cultural coffee hour to discuss Black history in Philadelphia and elsewhere. The Feb. 24 event, held from 12:30–2 p.m., is open to all.
Influential artists on display
The La Salle Art Museum will feature a digital slideshow showcasing influential Black American artists. The display will be available to all on Feb. 16, from 4–5:30 p.m.
This institution is the first of its kind in a major U.S. city to tell the stories of African Americans. Explore heritage and culture through four exhibition galleries ranging in topics from history to art. The newest exhibition, Portals+Revelations: Richard J. Watson Beyond Realities, displays the work of Richard J. Warson, an artist and civil rights activist. It is on display through March 6. (Ticket prices vary. Student discounts are available.)
The Besty Ross House is hosting special programming on February weekends to spotlight Black Americans’ contributions to the nation’s history. Events include the retelling of Rev. Richard Allen’s life, a minister and abolitionist who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent Black denomination in the U.S, and Once Upon a Nation Storytelling, stories of Black Americans that are not recounted enough. (This programming is free.)
Located at City Hall, the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy is hosting Harriet Tubman – The Journey to Freedom by Wofford Sculpture Studio. The monument tells the story of Tubman’s travels to free hundreds of enslaved people. The piece is on display in Philadelphia through March 31. (This programming is free.)
From Feb. 11-12, watch two one-act plays written and directed by Shav’on Smith. Life in Three Dresses discusses the life of Elizabeth Keckley, a woman born into slavery who becomes the dressmaker and friend of Mary Todd Lincoln. Following is Tea with Frederick Douglass, which takes viewers into the abolitionist’s world as he works on his speech What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? while revisiting parts of his life. (Tickets are $30. Tickets for residents in the 19144 ZIP code are $20.)
The Free Library is putting on a variety of programming at various locations or virtually during the month of February. Events include guest lecturers, readings of prominent Black authors’ work, and various opportunities to create a paper quilt square commemorating Black authors, books, and quotes. (This programming is free.)
The Kimmel Cultural Campus commemorates Black History Month in collaboration with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Resident Companies Philadelphia Ballet, The Philly POPS, and Opera Philadelphia through a variety of programming. Events include soprano Angel Blue performing Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 from Feb. 3-5, Opera Philadelphia’s Save The Boys streaming event from Feb. 11-12 and The Philly POPS performing Dancin’ in the Streets: The Music of Motown from Feb. 18-20. (Ticket prices vary. Student discounts are available.)
Visit various neighborhoods in Philadelphia through a virtual tour of murals that represent well-known African American figures and civic heroes of the past and present. This one-hour program includes a live tour guide accompanied by special guests to view the murals and hear the stories behind each piece. (Tickets are $20.)
Along with the museum’s exhibitions, there will be a variety of special events to attend this month. Watch a first-person theatrical performance telling the story of James Forten, a free Black Philadelphian, Revolutionary War privateer, and abolitionist, along with a forum discussing racial understanding, and more. (Student discounts are available.)
As a part of the center’s All Together Now programming, visitors can attend a variety of exhibitions and events honoring the history and achievements of African Americans. Items include The Road to Freedom: The Story of Slavery in America, an interactive program discussing slavery through a constitutional view, and Four Harriets, sharing the impacts of Harriet Robinson Scott, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. (Ticket prices vary.)
The Letters: Marian and Orpheus A Love Story tells the story of Marian Anderson, the first Black woman to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera, and Orpheus “King” Fisher, the well-known African American architect, and their 70-year courtship. The performance is a reading of their love letters. This event is in collaboration with the Penn Museum. (Ticket prices vary.)