Black History Month events in the Baltimore area

In celebration of Black History Month, museums, playhouses and other cultural institutions throughout the Baltimore area have prepared exhibits, lectures, plays, musical performances and other events touching on the African-American experience in the Free State. From the Buffalo Soldiers at Lexington Market to an African-American Heritage Tour of Annapolis to a play at Theatre Project about a young Martin Luther King Jr., February presents scores of opportunities for Baltimoreans to sample the depth of black history Maryland offers.

Ongoing: 'From Banneker to Douglass: The Quests for Freedom and Equality' exhibit at Banneker Historical Park


Original works of art, inspired by the early struggle for freedom and equality by Maryland African-Americans and their allies, will be on display at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum, 300 Oella Ave. in Catonsville, through February. Includes a Feb. 7 presentation on the Baltimore-born abolitionist and author Frances E.W. Harper ($3-$5). benjaminbanneker.wordpress.com.

Now-Feb. 15: 'One Night in Miami' at Center Stage

On the night of Feb. 25, 1964, Cassius Clay, fresh off wresting the heavyweight boxing crown from Sonny Liston (and a day before changing his name to Muhammad Ali), celebrated in his hotel room with friends Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown. Kemp Powers' play imagines what might have been said. At Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. $19-$64. centerstage.org.

Now-March 25: 'A Stirring Song Sung Heroic'

Eighty black and white silver gelatin prints by photographer William Earle Williams depict key — if often little-known — places in the struggle for freedom in the New World. At the Albin O. Kuhn Library on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle. Free. Williams will deliver a lecture on his work at 4 p.m. Feb. 24. umbc.edu.

Monthlong: Music, Dance, Poetry and Art at the Market

Throughout February at the Lexington Market Arcade, 400 W. Lexington St., performances by school groups from throughout the city will be featured from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays and noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Other highlights: an exhibit on and appearance by representatives of the Buffalo Soldiers is set for Feb. 7 and a Visual Arts Week commemoration from Feb. 16-28 will feature jewelry, crafting and tie-dying. lexingtonmarket.com.

Monthlong: Celebrate Black History Month


Ongoing exhibits at the B&O Railroad Museum celebrating African-Americans' contributions to the railroad industry include the Civil War exhibit "The War Came by Train," "African-American Inventors & Leaders," "Working for the Railroad" and "Labor & Service." On exhibit daily. 901 W. Pratt St. borail.org.

Feb. 1: Black History Month Concert at the U.S. Naval Academy

Director Karla Scott and the U.S. Naval Academy Concert Choir present their annual Black History Month concert. 3 p.m. Feb. 1 at the academy's Main Chapel, 108 Blake Road. $19. navyperforms.showare.com.

Feb. 2: 'The Peacemaker'

Arnold Pinnix's play traces the development of Martin Luther King Jr. from young boy to inspirational leader. Produced by Community Theater, directed by Daniel Wynne. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 (other performances sold out) at Gallery CA, 440 E. Oliver St. Free. galleryca.org.

Feb. 2, 9, 23: Music on the Avenue, Pratt Library Pennsylvania Avenue Branch


Local musicians perform jazz, gospel and spirituals in honor of Black History Month. Free. Kicks off Feb. 2 with the Rose Gold Experience. Pratt Library Pennsylvania Avenue Branch lobby, 1531 W. North Ave. For a complete performance schedule, go to prattlibrary.org.

Feb. 2-March 13: "You and I. Henry: Three Generations of Photographers, a Retrospective'

Photographs by three generations of the Phillips family — I. Henry Phillips Sr., who shot for the Afro-American; Irving H. Phillips Jr., a photojournalist for The Baltimore Sun from 1969 to 1993; and Webster Phillips III, whose work was recently featured at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture — will be on display through March 13 at Baltimore City Hall, 100 N. Holliday St. An opening reception is set for 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Monday.

Feb. 2: 'Slavery By Another Name'

Even after slavery was abolished, some black men were still forced to work for free as "convict laborers" after being accused of minor crimes. This documentary, based on Douglas Blackmon's Pulitzer Prize winning book, exposes this often unknown history. UMBC hosts screenings at noon Feb. 2 and 4 in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, 1000 Hilltop Circle. umbc.edu.

Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25: African-American Movie of the Week, Pratt Library Forest Park Branch

This series of free documentary screenings includes "Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance" (Feb. 4), "Malcolm X: A Search for Identity" (Feb. 11), "Mississippi, America" (Feb. 18) and "Hieroglyphs," from the series, "Mummies and the Wonders of Ancient Egypt" (Feb. 25). 4 p.m. at the Pratt Library Forest Park branch, 3023 Garrison Blvd. prattlibrary.org.

Feb. 5: Gallery Talk: Images of the African Diaspora in the Walters' Collection

Works of art from the past can carry themes about race and identity that are still relevant today. Join the Walters Art Museum and Jackie Copeland, the museum's special adviser on strategic partnerships, for a free tour and discussion about these topics and more, spurred by the wonderful pieces in its collection. From 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 600 N. Charles St. thewalters.org.

Feb. 5: April Ryan: 'The Presidency in Black and White'

Baltimorean April Ryan has covered the White House for American Urban Radio Networks since 1997, which means she has seen up close how three presidents have handled a wide range of issues and events — from Hurricane Katrina to Ferguson, Mo. In her new book, she gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at race relations from the highest office in the country. Talk at Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St., as part of the Brown Lecture Series. The free event begins at 7 p.m., and copies will be available for sale at a book signing afterward. prattlibrary.org.


Feb. 7: Freedom's Diaries

Come hear about the lives of an African-American girl living in the free black community of Philadelphia during the Civil War, and an escaped slave from Maryland who developed quite the green thumb. The best part: Their stories are told in their words, from their diaries. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture hosts two scholars that have documented the writings of these 19th-century African-Americans, Karsonya Whitehead and Myra Young Armstead, for a discussion at 1 p.m. Museum admission is $6-$8. The Lewis Museum, at 830 E. Pratt St., also celebrates Black History Month with The Griot's Eye Youth Film and Culture Festival on Feb. 14. And there's more — the museum's other February events include: WJZ-TV's Black History Month Oratory Contest on Feb. 15 at noon; a hands-on children's program on African-American art at 3 p.m. Feb. 21; and a free open house starting at noon Feb. 28. A complete schedule is at rflewismuseum.org.

Feb. 7-March 7: 'Paul Rucker: Rewind'

Musician and visual artist Paul Rucker explores our country's "uncomfortable history regarding social justice," including issues of race, culture, gender and equality in an exhibit at the Creative Alliance. It opens Feb. 7 with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and runs through March 7. In correlation with the exhibit, the Creative Alliance (3134 Eastern Ave.) will host a discussion event with Rucker and MacArthur fellow Liz Lerman from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 21, as well as two yoga sessions with Rucker in conjunction with Charm City Yoga from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 14 and Feb. 28. Plus, the yoga events will feature live music from Rucker, an accomplished cellist. A $10 donation is suggested for the yoga and discussion events. creativealliance.org.

Feb. 7-March 28: 'Untold Stories: Athletes of Maryland's Historically Black Colleges and Universities'

Maryland's historically black colleges and universities, from Morgan State to University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, have seen some stellar athletes. This exhibit at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, 84 Franklin St. in Annapolis, explores their history, and gives them the much-deserved recognition many didn't get in their time. It's also a companion to a touring Smithsonian exhibit that examines the way sports have shaped Maryland's history and identity. Both are free. And don't miss the opening reception from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 7. mdstories.com/hometown-teams/annapolis.

Feb. 8-28: Hampton National Historic Site events

Who better to share stories of slavery and the escape to freedom than Harriet Tubman. Lucky for us, she's decided to stop by Hampton National Historic Site to share the harrowing history from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 8. Of course, Hampton once had slaves itself. You can get an idea of what life was like for the ones who worked in the mansion during the Servitude in Hampton tour at 2 p.m. Feb. 21. The On the Hampton Plantation tour will bring to life the experiences of the slaves who worked in the fields, beginning at 2 p.m. Feb. 28. All events are free and at 535 Hampton Lane in Towson. nps.gov/hamp/.

Feb. 8-April 16: 'Celebrating Our Common Heritage in the African Diaspora'

Januwa Moja, a Maryland Institute College of Art grad, and her husband, sculptor Uzikee Nelson, team up for what they call a "living exhibit" inspired by their travels through the African diaspora. Moja's wearable art and Nelson's life-sized sculptures should make for a compelling display at the James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University, 2201 Argonne Drive. The opening reception from 4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Feb. 8 will feature an artist talk. Free. jelmamuseum.org.

Feb. 11: Diversity Speaker Series: Michael Eric Dyson

Author Michael Eric Dyson, a sociology professor at Georgetown University, will speak at 7 p.m. in the West Village Commons Ballrooms at Towson University, 8000 York Road. Dyson's currently working on a book about President Barack Obama and race, so that should make for some good speech fodder. Free. towson.edu/diversity.

Feb. 13-22: 'Slave Ship' and 'Divergent' at Arena Players

The Arena Players tell the story of African-Americans beginning with the slave ships and spanning the civil rights movement. Expect to hear lots of music incorporated throughout this Rosiland Cauthen-directed performance. 801 McCulloh St. $12-$18. arenaplayersinc.com.

Feb. 15: Benjamin Banneker Lecture at the Baltimore Museum of Industry

If you missed Spencer Crew, the George Mason professor, at the "Slavery By Another Name" panel, here's another chance to hear his expertise. This time, he'll tell us about Benjamin Banneker, the free African-American from the 18th-century Baltimore area who was a self-taught mathematician and scientist. The lecture is at 1 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1415 Key Highway. Museum admission is $7-$12, children 6 and under are free. thebmi.org.

Feb. 18-21: 'African American Innovation'


This family-friendly concert conducted by Ken Lam celebrates jazz innovator Duke Ellington, but also the nonmusical accomplishments of Elijah McCoy and Harriet Tubman. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the Baltimore City College Choir and narrator Shannan E. Johnson. Some break dancing is promised, too. Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Shows are at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Feb. 18 and 20, plus 11 a.m. Feb. 21. $6.50-$20. bsomusic.org.

Feb. 18: Nina Simone: Social Justice Through Song at Towson University

The Center for Student Diversity at Towson pays tribute to the late jazz and blues legend, who in addition to being a singer, songwriter and pianist, was an avid civil rights advocate. Perfect timing to go along with the documentary on Simone's life that recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival. The free event starts at 7 p.m. at the West Village Commons Ballrooms, 8000 York Road in Towson. towson.edu/diversity.

Feb. 18: African-American Artists Collection tour

A docent will lead you on a free tour of the works at the Baltimore Museum of Art made by African-Americans. Starts at 2 p.m. at 10 Art Museum Drive. artbma.org.

Feb. 19: 'La Permission: The Story of a Three-Day Pass' screening and Q&A

This 1968 film tells the story of a black American soldier stationed in France who has a whirlwind romance with a Parisian woman. Their relationship is made more complicated by racism. The Creative Alliance, at 3134 Eastern Ave., hosts a screening at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A session with the film's writer and director, Melvin Van Peebles. $10-$12. creativealliance.org.

Feb. 20: Ebb & Flow party

The aquarium, at 501 E. Pratt St., celebrates black history in Maryland with music, dance and theatrical performances. Plus, the place will be decorated as one of Baltimore's old jazz clubs of lore. Admission is $12 after 5 p.m., and the event runs until 9 p.m. aqua.org.

Feb. 20-22 and Feb. 26-28: 'Rhapsody' and 'The Meeting' at Theatre Project

Vincent E. Thomas and his dance company, VTDance, explore profound poetry and other writings by African-Americans in "Rhapsody" at Theatre Project, focusing specifically on how space, place and time contributed to those works. Performances are 8 p.m. Feb. 20-21 and 3 p.m. Feb. 22; tickets are $12-$22. Then at Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., Evolutionary Art Works presents "The Meeting," a play that imagines a discussion between America's two biggest civil rights leaders: Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Shows are 8 p.m. Feb. 26-28 and 3 p.m. March 1. Tickets are $22. theatreproject.org.

Feb. 26: James McGrath Morris: 'Eye On The Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady Of The Black Press'

Ethel Payne broke racial barriers as a journalist and brought civil rights issues into the forefront with her coverage of events such as the Montgomery bus boycott, school desegregation in Little Rock, Ark., and black troops serving in Vietnam. James McGrath Morris discusses his book on this influential figure at 6:30 p.m. at Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St. Book copies will be available for purchase during a book signing event afterward. Free. prattlibrary.org.

Feb. 27 and March 1: 'This Little Light of Mine' at the Engineers Club

Baltimore Concert Opera presents a one-woman show written and performed by Adrienne Danrich that pays tribute to two African-American opera groundbreaking greats: Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and 3 p.m. March 1 at the Engineers Club, 11 W. Mount Vernon Place. $25-$65. baltimoreconcertopera.com.

Feb. 28: African-American History Tour in Annapolis

The state capital is full of history, and African-Americans comprise a large part of it. In fact, Annapolis was where Kunta Kinte of Alex Haley's "Roots" arrived on a slave ship. See a memorial to this event plus many other sites on this tour from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 28. A period guide will lead the excursion, beginning at the City Dock information booth, 1 Dock St. $10-$18 (children 2 and younger are free). 410-268-7601, annapolistours.com.