Despite its less than 30 days, February packs a punch. With Winter winding down and the anticipation of Spring lifting its sun-shiny head, it is also the time of year to shed light on past adversity and future opportunity. Black History Month brings reflection, learning, and fun for families all over the DMV from aviation to baseball, and stories of escape and accomplishment. Listen for exclamations of “wow, I didn’t know that,“ as you scroll through our calendar, and inject a special kind of awakening into your family adventures this month.
Photo: Colonial Williamsburg
Feb. 1 -28: Visit Colonial Williamsburg.
Head South to historic Williamsburg this month and get a dose of the regular immersive programs, plus unique interpretations of African slave life in 18th century Virginia. Find parallels in contemporary life through presentations such as A Gathering of Hair.
101 Visitor Center Dr. (Williamsburg, Va)
Feb. 1 – 28: Experience life on the rails.
Take a day up North for a trip to the B & O Railroad Museum where all month long, exhibits feature the contributions of African Americans to the railroad industry, as well as the divisiveness of segregation.
901 W. Pratt St. (Baltimore, Md)
Feb. 1: Make puppets.
Sign your K – 5th grader up for Kid’s Club at Arlington County Public Library (Cherrydale) featuring a puppet workshop and discussion of Ashley Bryan, an award-winning African American artist and author. His children’s titles include a historical fiction account, My Freedom: The Story of 11 Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life.
2190 North Military Rd. (Arlington, Va)
Feb. 3: Fly high.
Visit the College Park Aviation Museum where you can try flight simulators from different eras, and learn about the flight path of African American aviators, forced to persevere through many obstacles before they could take to the skies. Come back on the President’s Day holiday, Feb. 19, and learn about the African American inventor of the hinged mailbox.
1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr. (College Park, Md)
Feb. 3-4: Swing with the Duke.
Remember, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, and we’re not talking about at the playground. Swing to a jazz filled afternoon at the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Story Days featuring native Washingtonian, Duke Ellington, the first of four Black History Month themed profiles. Next up is Mohammed Ali, followed by Wilma Rudolph and Rosa Parks. Dates on link below.
8th and F Sts., N.W.
Photo: Discovery Theater
Feb. 6 – 9: Get inspired.
Demonstrate courage and conviction, no matter your age, and you can make a difference. In the first in a series of Discovery Theater offerings, “How Old is a Hero?” we meet six year old Ruby Bridges, first to desegregate an all White public school in New Orleans, and Ernest Green of Little Rock, first to graduate from an integrated high school.
1100 Jefferson Dr., S.W.
Feb. 9: Have a family date night.
Don’t rush home to make dinner. For just $12/person, join other families at the P.G. County Sports and Learning Complex for dinner and a movie (Hidden Figures in honor of Black History Month).
8001 Sheriff Rd. (Landover, Md)
Feb. 10: Learn about Harriet Tubman.
Discover “The Legacy of Harriet Tubman” at D.C. Public Library (Shaw) with re-enactor Cortenia Smith. Born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, “Moses” as Tubman was known on the Underground Railroad, made her biggest mark on history near her birthplace where at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Vistor Center Black History Month events also take place.
Feb. 10: Listen to stories (by a master storyteller).
Trek to Sandy Spring, Md.’s Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park for “A Long Way from Home,” with hands on activities and storytelling by The Honorable Baba-C. Click on the link below for information about other events at Montgomery Co. Park’s Woodlawn and Josiah Henson Park.
16501 Norwood Rd. (Sandy Spring , Md)
Feb. 10: Look up to African Americans in aviation.
Learn about some of the African American pioneers in aviation and space. Enjoy guest speakers, hands-on activities, and hear inspiring stories of African Americans who have overcome challenges.
14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy. (Chantilly, Va)
Photo: Culture Queen
Feb. 11: Explore the arts.
Grab a seat for popular children’s performers Culture Queen (Jessica Smith), a “royal tower of power,” and storyteller Baba-C, on hand for the Expression of a People festival staged by P.G. County Parks and Rec at the Harmony Hall Regional Center in Fort Washington.
10701 Livingston Rd. (Fort Washington, Md)
Feb. 15- 16: Have a jam session.
Drum up instant smiles with local children’s entertainer, percussionist Uncle Devin. For his show at Discovery Theater, the creator of Drum Tales, sneaks in early math and numbers learning with a whole lot of noise and fun.
1100 Jefferson Dr., SW
Feb. 17-18: Celebrate Frederick Douglass.
Celebrate famous local hero Frederick Douglass’s birthday at his Anacostia home, Cedar Hill. While the actual birthdate is unknown, this year marks his 200th, so the National Historic Site plans a big bash with plenty to entertain and interest the kiddos, including open house tours.
1411 W St., SE
Feb. 20-23: Calling all sport enthusiasts!
Learn about baseball’s pioneering African American players in Discovery Theater’s Black Diamond, about the history of the Negro League, an updated hit from Adventure Theatre’s Artistic Director, Michael J Bobbitt and tunesmith John Cornelius.
1100 Jefferson Dr., SW
Photo: Elvert Barnes via flickr
Feb. 24: Have fun at a festival.
Attend a family festival and celebrate a collective history with African dance, movies, workshops, food and crafts and more sponsored by P.G. County at the Sports and Learning Complex.
8001 Sheriff Rd. (Landover, Md)
Feb. 24: Learn about the historical contributions of black women.
Join the ladies of FREED (Female RE-Enactors of Distinction) at D.C. Public Library (Tenleytown), as they depict the lives and contributions of black women of the Civil War era. FREED is an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum.
4450 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Feb. 25: Experience the Underground Railroad through song.
Listen to the songs of slaves running away to freedom as they “Follow the Drinking Gourd” or the Big Dipper to the North, making their way towards Canada. This show at the Kentland Community Center welcomes all-ages.
2413 Pinebrook Ave. (Landover, Md)
Did we miss any awesome Black History Month events? Tell us in the comments.
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Parents Guide to the National Museum of African American History and Culture