February is Black History Month, and institutions across Philadelphia are pitching in to make it both educational and entertaining. Already, at the Free Library of Philadelphia, there have been two author events in celebration. And venues from the African American Museum, to the National Museum of American Jewish History, to the Independence Seaport Museum are all contributing.
For Philadelphians looking to get into the spirit, it is not too late. The National Constitution Center and the Philadelphia History Museum both offer exhibitions that continue all month; the Mercer Museum is featuring the stories of Negro League Baseball; and the Ethical Society of Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center both feature dramatic and musical performances.
What follows is a list of six enlightening and celebratory ways to spend the rest of February — to take advantage of all that Black History Month in Philadelphia has to offer.
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Black History Month at the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is offering attendees daily interactive programs detailing the lives of well-known African American leaders, slavery and Emancipation, black history in the first two decades of the twentieth century, and more.
The National Constitution Center is located at 525 Arch Street, on Independence Mall. General admission is $14.50 for adults, and $8 for children under 12.
The African American Experience in Philadelphia
Offering more than 200 objects of interest from the collection of the Philadelphia History Museum, this — the museum’s first online exhibition — invites viewers to explore more than five centuries of African American History in the City of Brotherly Love, covering themes of community, work, leisure, and twentieth-century political life.
The exhibition itself can be found by clicking here. The Philadelphia History Museum is located at 15 South 7th Street. General admission is $10 for adults, and $6 for students and teens.
American Theater Arts for Youth: ‘Black Journey’
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts presents “Black Journey” at the Perelman Theater. This fast-paced musical takes audiences through black history, culture, and heritage, celebrating the influence of African Americans in science to education, literature, arts, and national service.
The Kimmel Center is located at 300 South Broad Street. Performances run from February 13-15. General admission is $13.50 per seat for individuals, with special group rates available.
‘The Souls of Black Baseball: Barnstorming the Keystone State’
The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA is offering a lecture by Robert Allen, writer and editor for African American Sports Magazine, on the history, myth, and mystique of African American baseball in Pennsylvania. Discussing teams from the Philadelphia stars to the Harrisburg Giants, and players from Gus Greenlee to Eddie Bolden, Allen explores the flourishing of sport under the long shadow of Jim Crow.
‘The Souls of Black Baseball’ is on February 17th, beginning at 2 p.m. For information about tickets and directions, see the Mercer Museum website.
‘Mr. President, I’m Frederick Douglass’
The Ethical Society of Philadelphia hosts a one act play, “Mr. President, I’m Fredrick Douglass,” followed by a roundtable discussion. The play runs about 35 minutes, and explores the personalities of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, as exposed by each man’s writings.
The Philadelphia Ethical Society is located at 1906 Rittenhouse Square. ‘Mr. President, I’m Frederick Douglass’ will run on February 18 at 7 p.m. Admission is free or charge.
Beyond the Proclamation: Interpreting Emancipation for Today’s Youth
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the African American Museum of Philadelphia presents a symposium for primary- and secondary-school educators focused on developing techniques to help students think about emancipation. The symposium will include input from scholars in a number of disciplines, as well as extended discussion.
Beyond the Proclamation will take place on Saturday, February 23, and is offered in conjunction with Friends of Independence National Historic Park. For tickets and information, please visit Friends of Independence National Historic Park.