All month long, Boston will join the rest of the nation in celebrating the culture and achievements of African Americans throughout history. From exhibitions of conceptual artists to the debut of a PEN-award winning author’s first play, here’s how the city is commemorating Black History Month this year.
African American Patriots Tour
See American history through a new lens with this walking tour ofthe Freedom Trail. You’ll hear stories of people like Crispus Attucks, who was the first person killed in the Boston Massacre, and Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet.
Saturdays and Sundays in Feb., Freedom Trail, 139 Tremont St., Boston, $12, thefreedomtrail.org
Named after a word that means “to go back and get it,” this annual dance performance is a tribute to African Americans through movement and spoken word. The dancers will be interpreting eras of slavery and civil injustice.
Feb. 17, Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Rd., Dorchester, $20+, bostondancealliance.org
“The White Card”
Famed author of ”Citizen: An American Lyric,” Claudia Rankine, has bestowed upon Boston the world premiere of her first play. Through a conversation of an elite white couple, Rankine illuminates racism against black bodies in artist scenes.
Feb. 24 – April 1, Emerson Paramount, 559 Washington St., Boston, $25+, americanrepertorytheater.org
“Monuments to Us”
Sculpturesand paintings tell often stories that don’t fit in your textbooks. With last year’s removal of Confederate monuments in mind, this exhibition uses pieces from the Museum of Fine Arts to assert art’s powerful role in recalling violent moments in U.S. history.
Through April 8, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, $25, mfa.org
Underground Railroad Tour
Bundle up for a self-guided walking tour around New Bedford, a former asylumfor hundreds of escaped slaves. Visit the homes of the families who housed them, and explore the town where abolitionist Frederick Douglass once lived.
New Bedford Historical Society Inc., 21 Seventh St., New Bedford, free, nbhistoricalsociety.org
“Legacy of the Cool”
Want to elevate your art palate? Check out this exhibit featuring the late African American conceptual artist, Barkley L. Hendricks, who painted ordinary Black americans in his life-size portraits. His art peaked during the Black Power movement — in one painting, a woman stands in front of a gold god-like altar with her afro fully present.
Through March 3, MassArt Bakalar and Paine galleries, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston, free, massart.edu
No surprise here,the Boston Public Library wants you to read more. Their list provides an assortment of books about the African American experience through cookbooks, memoirs and novels. It includes names like comedian Kevin Hart and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an author whose book “Americanah” will be turned into a movie starring Lupita Nyong’o.
Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston, free, bpl.org
Boston Children’s Museum
Kids can celebrate with a weekend centered on African American history with music, a dance party and crafts. While you’re there, visit their exhibit “Boston Black: A City Connects,” a child-sized re-creation of an American Afro-Caribbean neighborhood.
Feb. 26 – 27, Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston, $17, bostonchildrensmuseum.org
“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf”
When Ntozake Shange screened this productionin 1976, she became the second black woman to produce a play on Broadway. Later that year, she was nominated for a Tony for this marathon of a show, which comprises of 21 poems alongside 1960s R&B and jazz.
Feb. 16 – 25, Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St., Roxbury, $20, madison-park.org
“Breaking Thru: A Celebration of Black Queer Women”
For more of Shange, stop by this event put on by The Theatre Offensive. The performance artist, Black Venus, cities Shange as one of their inspiration. “Breaking Thru” highlights queer black women living in Boston.
Feb. 24, Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Rd., Dorchester, free, thetheateroffensive.org