The history and accomplishments of Black people are too often lost in the mainstream conversation. Thankfully, Black History Month offers us plentiful opportunities to learn more about these neglected stories – and think about ways we can better acknowledge and respect them all year long.
With that goal in mind, we’ve collected five places to start your education – and celebration – of Black history on the North Shore.
1. The Cabot, Beverly
The historic theater will be hosting an inaugural Black History Month event, Amplifying Voices: A Celebration of Diversity in Film. The two-day celebration of diversity in film will screen movies curated by the Roxbury International Film Festival and CineFest Latino Boston, including two documentary features and a collection of shorts interrogating aspects of Black history. Question-and-answer sessions with academics, actors, and filmmakers will follow the screenings.
Then, on February 16, Race and Song: A Musical Conversation brings together friends and musicians Alastair Moock and Reggie Harris – one Black and one white – for a performance that explores issues of race, class, gender and history.
2. Lynn City Hall
Throughout the month, Lynn City Hall will be hosting the North Shore Juneteenth Association’s Local Black Excellence display, honoring notable local Black community members for their accomplishments and contributions. To meet some of the honorees, join in the opening night event on February 7.
3. Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts
The Lynn Museum and LynnArts are great places to learn about local Black History all year long. Current exhibitions include Lynn Hip Hop, which examines the history of hip hop music in the city (including a recording booth so visitors can drop a beat of their own), and the museum’s popular Untold Stories exhibit, which looks at the lesser-know history of Black people in Lynn, will be re-opening toward the end of the month. Starting February 3, LynnArts will be displaying Reflecting the Times, a collection of works by local Black artists.
The organization also has several events lined up for Black History Month. On February 8, artist Christle Rawlins-Jackson will share the story of seven Black brothers who became local celebrity horse-racers a century ago. From February 20 to 22, a Black History Month celebration will include art-making activities, children’s story times, and a hip hop history workshop.
On February 19, LynnArts will open its doors to the North Shore Juneteenth Association for its annual family-friendly paint event, which invites people to paint the Juneteenth flag and learn about the symbolism behind the flag.
Check out the full schedule online for details.
4. Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester
Gloucester’s Cape Ann Museum has planned events for children and adults alike in observation of Black History Month. On February 18, local researcher Lise Breen and Professor Kabria Baumgartner will give a talk sharing the stories of three local African-descended women with Gloucester ties and talk about how to unearth and reinterpret the often-neglected histories of Black people. On February 25, educator and community justice organizer Toni Waldron will lead a conversation exploring the nuances, complications, and impacts of the question “Where are you from?“
For children and families, the museum has organized a week of activities during school vacation (February 21 to 24), including free admission for children and their guardians, a quilting art project inspired by Black artist Doris Prouty, displays about the history of Juneteenth, and chances to hear the stories of local Black community members.
5. Old Town Hall, Salem
Throughout February, Salem United will be hosting a variety of events at Old Town Hall as part of its inaugural Black Diaspora History Month celebration. Kicking off February 4, a monthlong expo will feature historical exhibits, video tours, live entertainment, trivia, and educational workshops. Game nights every Wednesday are family-friendly opportunities to connect over board games and puzzles. On February 24 and 25, a pop-up marketplace will spotlight the work and wares of Black-owned businesses.