The best Black History Month events in NYC

Get inspired by African-American culture during these epic and educational Black History Month events
Jumaane Williams, New York City Council Member (Brooklyn 45th District) - The Drum Major Instinct
Photograph: Courtesy David Andrako

One of the best things to do in February is celebrate Black History Month. NYC offers many ways you can show your appreciation for African-American culture. Take a tour through the historic neighborhood of Harlem followed by dininig at one of the best Harlem restaurants. You can also take a trolley tour through Green-Wood Cemetery where notables like Susan Smith McKinney Steward (the first female black doctor in New York State) are buried. From music and spoken word performances to parties and movie screenings, here's where to celebrate the month-long event.

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Best Black History Month events in NYC

Toshi Reagon
Photograph: Kevin Yatarola
Things to do, Exhibitions

Target First Saturdays

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Museum | Brooklyn, NY, Prospect Park

Every month, Brooklyn Museum opens its doors for a free evening of talks, music, art workshops and curator-led tours of exhibitions. This "Soul if a Nation" installment features live performances from percussionist Winard Harper and singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon, talks with prominent artists, pop-up poetry readings, a screening of the 2018 film Mr. Soul and more.

Harlem Courthouse
Photograph: Laura Gallant
Things to do, Walks and tours

Harlem's Historic Faces and Places

icon-location-pin Various locations,

Taste Harlem offers food and cultural tours of one of New York’s most celebrated nabes. The History & Architectural Landscape Tour explores the most spectacular features of notable theaters, religious buildings and residential homes, as well as the history of Harlem’s transformation from one of the largest Jewish neighborhoods in the world to the home of its current mixed population. Location disclosed after ticket purchase.

Things to do

Black in Brooklyn

icon-location-pin Green-Wood Cemetery, Greenwood

Take a trolley tour through Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, where notables like Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first female black doctor in New York State, Jeremiah Hamilton, New York City’s first black millionaire, and Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat have been laid to rest.

Barkley Hendricks, Blood (Donald Formey), 1975
Photograph: Jonathan Dorado, Brooklyn Museum, Courtesy Dr. Kenneth Montague|The Wedge Collection, Toronto, the artist’s estate and Jack Shainman Gallery, © Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks.
Art, Contemporary art

“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power”

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Museum Shop, Prospect Park

Works by 60 contributors recall an era in the 1970s when African-American artists grappled with the cultural changes wrought by the Civil Rights movement.

Photograph: Courtesy Harlem Fine Arts Show
Things to do

Harlem Fine Arts Show

icon-location-pin The Riverside Church, Morningside Heights

The 10th annual Harlem Fine Arts Show, which includes a fine-arts exhibition and sale, celebrates African-American art in all its forms. The opening reception hosted by Madison Square Boys & Girls Club salutes African-Americans in Technology with a champagne toast and live jazz, Friday and Saturday focuses on youth empowerment among other outstanding events throughout the weekend. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta being greeted by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (left) and labor leader A. Philip Randolph (right) at the Pan American World Airways terminal, in New York City
Photograph: Courtesy Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Things to do, Exhibitions

"Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr."

icon-location-pin Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Harlem

This exhibition at the Schomburg Center features intimate, lesser-known photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including photos of his pilgrimage to India, his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance in Norway and other moments of travel, rest and celebration throughout his life. The exhibit marks the 60th anniversary of the first biography of King, Dr. L.D. Reddick's Crusader Without Violence.

Want to go to a museum this month?