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Friday, March 1, 2024
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Singers at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in historic Anacostia.

Eight events to celebrate Black History Month before February ends

Enjoy activities around the district

Black History Month originated from a week-long celebration in February known as “Negro History Week.” It was established by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1925, according to Time Magazine. Now, Black History Month spans the entire month of February. Throughout Metro D.C., you can celebrate the rest of the month with theater, dance, music, visual arts and the spoken word.

I AM Frederick Douglass: Life and Legacy

I AM Frederick Douglass commemorates the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass. It’ll include excerpts of the film “Enslavement to Emancipation,” a panel discussion on Douglass’s legacy, musical performances by the National Symphony Orchestra and a Douglass actor portrayal by LeCount Holmes, Jr. The house opens at 6 p.m. at the historic Lincoln Theatre, with free admission on a first-come, first-served basis.

When: Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.

Where: Historic Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW

Metro: U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo

The Moses of African American Music: James Reese Europe

As a jazz music supporter, World War I veteran James Reese Europe has been called "the Moses of African-American Music." He also supports fellow African-American artists. Join Loras Schissel, music division specialist of both the Virginia Grand Military Band and the Cleveland Orchestra's Blossom Festival Band, for a conversation about Europe at 11 a.m. inside the “Echoes of Great War” exhibition at the Library of Congress about Europe’s contribution to African-American Music.

When: Friday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m.

Where: Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave SE

Metro: Capitol South

1619 and the Making of America

This symposium will explore the encounters of Africans, Europeans and Native peoples during the early 17th century. The Kluge Center program explain the importance of 1619 and aims to lay the groundwork for a national dialogue in understanding major events that began 400 years ago. Tickets are not required for this event, which is free and open to the public.

When: Friday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

Where: Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave SE

Metro: Capitol South

Gershwin's Porgy and Bess

National Philharmonic presents Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the Strathmore. “Since its premiere with an all African-American cast of classically trained singers, the opera has become a potent symbol of race relations in America, and a work that forever changed the boundaries of opera,” according to Conductor Piotr Gajewski. Tickets range between $25-$85.

When: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.

Where: Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane

Metro: Grosvenor/Strathmore 

Portrait Story Days-- Rosa Parks

This Portrait Story Day is a free event presented by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The event invites attendees to, create a story inspired by the narration of the life of Rosa Park whose portrait will also be included in this event. Attendees can listen to her life story while creating their own portraits of Parks.

When: Saturday Feb. 24 and Sunday, Feb. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: National Portrait Gallery, 8th St. NW & F St. NW

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown

Suffering, Struggle, Survival: The Activism, Artistry, and Authorship of Frederick Douglass

Celeste-Marie Bernier -- co-editor-in-chief of Journal of American Studies --marks the bicentenary of Frederick Douglass’s birth with an event about his work and legacy. The National Gallery of Art will be hosting this free event in their East Building auditorium followed by a book signing.

When: Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

Where: National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, 6th & Constitution Ave, NW

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown

Celebrate Black History Month - Toni Morrison

A four-week series exploring the life and works of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison will be presented by the Montpelier Arts Center. Her trilogy: “Beloved,” “Jazz,” and “Paradise” takes place from the 1800s to the 1970s. These discussions will be led by Dr. Karen Arnold, former poet-in-residence at Montpelier Arts Center and discussion moderator for multiple literature groups in Baltimore.

When: Ends March 7

Where: Montpelier Arts Center, 9652 Muirkirk Rd, Laurel, Maryland

Metro: Greenbelt

Harmony Hall Arts Center's Black History Month Exhibition: “We Return Fighting: World War I and the African American Experience”

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I, this exhibit explores the experiences of African-Americans both at home and abroad during this conflict and the years surrounding it. Despite the oppressive racial climate in America during the early 20th century, African-Americans staunchly supported the war effort in many ways according to historians nationwide. This exhibit highlights the experiences of black men and women during this era, with a special focus on the African-American soldiers from Prince George’s County and their families. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

When: Ends Mar. 9

Where: Harmony Halls Arts Center, 10701 Livingston Road, Fort Washington, Maryland

Metro: Greenbelt

 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 

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