Few cities have as rich an African-American history as Baltimore. Before the Civil War, it had the largest population of free blacks in the country. Frederick Douglass and Eubie Blake both lived here, and Oprah Winfrey honed her broadcast skills at a local TV station.
During Black History Month, many venues will recognize the contributions of African-Americans. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (www.rflewismuseum.org) presents “For Whom it Stands: The Flag and the American People.” Historical and contemporary documents, art, and artifacts examine the role of the flag’s symbolism in society.
At the B&O Railroad Museum (www.borail.org), a new exhibit details the contributions of African Americans to the development of the railroads and how social issues affected people, the economy, and social and labor movements.
The James E. Lewis Museum of Art (www.jelmamuseum.org) at Morgan State University opens “Celebrating Our Common Heritage in the African Diaspora – Featuring the Art of Januwa Moja and Uzikee Nelson” on Feb. 8. It will also host the African-Cuban Film Festival from Feb. 28.
At the Baltimore Museum of Art (www.artbma.org), the African-American Collection showcases often overlooked artists. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum (www.greatblacksinwax.org) honors Africans and African Americans in history, politics, science, the military, and the arts. The Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards (www.baberuthmuseum.org) tells the inspiring story of The Negro Baseball League.
At the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum (www.douglassmyers.org), visitors learn about the role African-Americans played in Baltimore’s vital shipbuilding industry through interactive exhibits. More history is found at the Maryland Historical Society (www.mdhs.org), where Baltimore’s Civil Rights era is documented in the photographs of Paul Henderson. Sections of its Civil War exhibit, “Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War,” cover the lives of free and enslaved blacks. On weekends, actors present vignettes of life in Baltimore during the war.
The Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass, available from the Baltimore Visitor Center and www.baltimore.org, gives discounted admission to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.