10 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Newark
February is Black History Month! In 1976, President Gerald Ford urged all Americans to recognize Black History Month as an "opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Celebrate and honor the rich history of African-Americans all month long with these 10 ideas and events that recognize the heritage, accomplishments, and culture of Black Americans in the United States.
1. Second Sundays: Black History x Black Future -
On the Second Sunday of each month, the Newark Museum of Art hosts hands-on activities designed for the entire family, inspired by the Museum's global collections. On Sunday, February 9, 2020, programming will honor the legacy of Black icons and build creative visions for the future. Join the fun and witness great performances from contemporary talent.
2. Mzizi Eats Black History Month Game Night -
On Saturday, February 1, 2020, Mzizi Eats will kick off Black History Month with a free game night. Check out a new restaurant in the Lower Broadway section of the city while learning how to play Mancala, an ancient East African game, and Black Card Revoked. On the menu? Small chops (appetizers), wine, and spirits.
3. Khem Animation Film Festival -
Celebrate Black History Month at Khem Animation Film Festival (KAFF), which acknowledges the outstanding creative contributions of Black Americans in Animation, VFX, and gaming. Watch seven animated short films and take part in a post-screening panel discussion on February 20th at Citiplex.
4. Samara McLendon: Bethany Jazz Vespers -
On Saturday, February 1st, Bethany Baptist Church, in collaboration with NJPAC, will hold its monthly jazz program, Jazz Vespers. As a special Black History Month treat, Jazz Vespers will feature Samara McLendon, the winner of the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition at NJPAC. Don’t miss this free event!
5. Arts of Global Africa -
Newark Museum of Art has an ongoing installation which is one of the country's most comprehensive African art collections. Spend a few hours exploring a curated collection of ritual, ceremonial and daily-use objects from an array of African countries and time periods, along with historical and contemporary African artwork, textiles, jewelry, and decorative objects.
6. See the Krueger-Scott Mansion -
At the top of Court Street sits an abandoned mansion once owned by Louise Scott, a self-made Newark millionaire, and iconic Black female entrepreneur. In 1958, Scott bought the mansion, formerly owned by a Newark beer baron, and used the space as the center of her beauty empire, Scott College of Beauty Culture. While in operation, it housed a dentist’s office, a restaurant, a charm school, an ice cream parlor, and a salon. Although it has since fallen into disrepair, the mansion was recently approved for redevelopment.
7. Black History Month Programs at Newark Public Library -
All month long at the Springfield Branch of the Newark Public Library, Councilwoman LaMonica R. McIver will host Black History Month programming in collaboration with the Newark Public Library, The Newark Museum of Art, and Newark Arts. Enjoy children’s arts and crafts, Black history movies, and an African drum circle!
8. The Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series -
Founded in 1981, the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series at Rutgers-Newark brings leading scholars of African-American history to Newark to explore the past and look to the future. The series’ fortieth iteration, which takes place on February 15th with the theme “Black Futures: What Seems to Be, Need Not Be,” will traverse multiple futures – of the series itself, the field of African-American Studies, and of Black America as a whole.
9. A Botanical Walk Through Black History -
On Saturday, February 29, 2020, the Newark Museum of Art will host a presentation by Dr. Abdul-Salim, a plant systematist. The presentation will examine how the histories of Black people in the Western Hemisphere are intimately linked to plants and plant-based resources. Bring the whole family to learn about botanical knowledge, conservation, and science.
10. See a Statue of Newark’s First Black Mayor -
Black History Month is a great time to visit the statue of Newark’s first black mayor, Kenneth Gibson. Unveiled in 2019, the statue sits in Lincoln Park and depicts Mayor Gibson giving the victory speech from his first inauguration in 1970. Gibson made history by becoming the first black mayor of a major Northeastern city.