Enter the home of Harriet Tubman, walk the Underground Railroad, experience dance performances, storytelling, films and more
Albany, N.Y. - New York State is celebrating its rich African American heritage in February during Black History Month with an array of special events and cultural discovery opportunities across its 11 vacation regions. A sampling of events happening across the Empire State this February includes:
Step into Black History Month, Albany
This annual event showcases the historical traditions of African American and Latino fraternities and sororities, revolving around the “Divine Nine,” the nine traditionally Black Greek organizations. The Divine Nine is made up of four sororities and five fraternities with each performing their own “Step” routine that dates back to their creation in the early 1900s. The well choreographed movements originated from their ancestors who, when brought to the mainland from Africa, used Stepping to recognize the four seasons and later to demonstrate solidarity and strength in the face of overwhelming odds. The event will be held on February 11 at 7pm at the Palace Theatre (http://www.palacealbany.com/) located at19 Clinton Avenue, Albany, NY. Advance tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for children and students. Tickets are $22 for everyone the day of the show. Please contact (518) 465-3334 for more information.
Black History Month at Nassau Community College
During February, the Nassau Community College Black History Month Committee will present a month of programs and events in tribute to African American achievements in America. All programs, except for the play The Wreckin’ Ball, will take place in the College Center Building, and are free, open to the public and accessible to the disabled. (One Education Drive, Garden City; 516/572-7376; www.ncc.edu)
African-Americans in the Battles of Saratoga
Black History Month will be celebrated on Sunday, February 13 at 1:30 in the Saratoga National Historic Park Battlefield Visitors Center in Stillwater. Did you know that between 400 and 500 black soldiers fought at the Battles of Saratoga? Park Ranger Eric Schnitzer unveils new information about these freed and enslaved soldiers, while dispelling common myths about their service.
Flight to Freedom: Rochester’s Underground Railroad
“Flight to Freedom” explores the paths of courageous freedom seekers through Rochester’s Underground Railroad in this dramatic, interactive exhibition. Walk in the footsteps of Austin Steward, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs and Reverend Thomas James as they overcome huge obstacles to build free lives. Learn how they joined Rochester activists in the fight to abolish slavery and help others seeking freedom. Young visitors can follow their own child-level “Songs of Freedom” story as little “Imani” makes the dangerous journey north with her family. The exhibit is included with museum admission and open Monday-Saturday from 9am-5pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm. (657 East Avenue, Rochester; 585/271-1880; www.rmsc.org/).
Harriet Tubman Home, Auburn, NY
Harriet Tubman was deemed “The Moses of her People” and moved to Auburn in 1857. This 25-acre parcel of land honors her legacy and contains four buildings, two of which were home to Ms. Tubman. The home is open Tuesday-Friday from 10am-4pm and Saturday from 10am-3pm. For more information visit http://www.harriethouse.org/.
African-American Museum, Hempstead
Discover African-American art, history and culture at the African-American Museum in Hempstead on Long Island. The museum tells the story of African-Americans on Long Island and the African-American contributions to the social and cultural development of American society. Opened in 1970, at the height of the black power movement, as the Black History Exhibit Center, the museum is the only African American history museum on Long Island and is a multi-disciplinary cultural institution providing art installations, historical exhibitions, film programs, community service events, and educational programming. (516/572-0730; http://www.aamoflongisland.org/)
Black History Month at Your Long Island State Parks
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation presents “Black History Month at Your Long Island State Parks.” The month-long celebration includes exhibits of paintings from some of America’s great black artists, as well as posters saluting black abolitionists, pioneers, scientists, educators, horticulturists, and ecologists. Exhibits will be on display for the entire month of February at several Long Island state parks. Admission is free. For park locations and additional information, please call (631) 321-3510, weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (http://nysparks.state.ny.us/)
The Dryden Theater Celebrates Black History Month
Spencer Williams, best known as Andy from TV’s Amos and Andy, also directed a series of searing, down-to-earth “race films” for black audiences in segregated theaters. His debut, The Blood of Jesus, follows a dying Southern woman on a cosmic journey with plenty of earthly temptations along the way, not least a pickup-truck-driving devil and his jug-band hellions. Then, in the comedy Dirty Gertie, a nightclub performer leaves a trail of jilted men in her wake on the island of Rinidad (with various Texas locations standing in for the South Seas). The Blood of Jesus has recently been restored by the Jones Film and Video Collection at Southern Methodist University, with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation; Dirty Gertie was preserved by the George Eastman House. Both films are being presented in a double feature starting at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at the George Eastman House’s Dryden Theater in Rochester. For more information call 585/271-3361 or visit http://www.dryden.eastmanhouse.org/ . (900 East Avenue, Rochester)
Black History Month Family Day at the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester
Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery presents Black History Month Family Day on Feb. 27 from noon-5 p.m. All ages are invited to celebrate Black History Month with family art activities, music and dance performances, tours and storytelling. Free admission to this event is funded in part by the Robert and Madeleine S. Heilbrunn Memorial Fund. (500 University Ave, Rochester; 585/276-8900; wwwmag.rochester.edu)
About New York State
New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York’s attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls, to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Whether it’s wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like fishing, hiking and boating, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse activities for all travelers. For more information visit http://www.iloveny.com/. Media can find press releases and more at http://www.thebeat.iloveny.com/ .
I LOVE NEW YORK is currently ranked number one on social media’s Twitter platform out of all Destination Marketing Organizations in North America. To follow I LOVE NEW YORK on its social media accounts, visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/ILOVENY, Twitter at www.twitter.com/I_LOVE_NY, YouTube at www.YouTube.com/OFFICIALILOVENY, and Flickr at www.Flickr.com/officialiloveny.
Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency, committed to being recognized on a global scale as the economic development engine driving job growth, strategic investment and prosperity in New York State. ESD also oversees the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information, visit http://www.esd.ny.gov/.
Eric Scheffel (ESD)
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