During February, institutions across North Jersey will celebrate Black History Month.
Within those 29 days — one extra because 2024 is a leap year — people will recognize the accomplishments of African Americans known or unheralded through a variety of events from concerts to movie screenings, museum exhibits and a formal ball and art auction.
The following events are free unless noted otherwise.
Story continues after gallery.
- The Fair Lawn Black Culture Festival will be held on Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Maurice M. Pine Free Public Library, 10-01 Fair Lawn Ave. The festival will feature speakers, including the town's mayor and the assistant principal of Fair Lawn High School, along with the high school's Step Team and a storyteller on the journeys of African Americans.
- The Bergenfield Public Library will hold its Black History Month celebration on Feb. 4 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the town library, 50 W. Clinton Ave. Storytellers Vicki Bryan and Shirley Johnson will share a collection of stories that highlight the history and accomplishments of African Americans in their "And I Still Rise" performance. Songs and African drumming and percussion will be part of the program.
- Bergen County celebrates Black History Month with an event on Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Technology Education Center at Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road in Paramus. It is advertised as a celebration to "highlight the impact African Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements and more."
- The Jamaica Organization of New Jersey's Bergen County chapter will hold its annual community Black History Month celebration on Feb. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the World of Wisdom Church, 1013 Teaneck Road in Teaneck. Admission is by donation. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.
- The Clairidge, the nonprofit cinema in Montclair, will celebrate Black History Month on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. with a discussion of the new book "Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras: A History of Blaxploitation Cinema." The author, Odie Henderson, will be on hand, followed by a screening of the 1971 film "Shaft." Tickets are available at the Clairidge website for $38 for the screening, the Q&A and a copy of the book, which Henderson will sign after the post-screening Q&A. The screening and Q&A alone cost $17.
- Black History Month Story Time at the Montclair Public Library will take place on Feb. 10 from 2 to 2:45 p.m. at the Main Library, 50 South Fullerton Ave. Native Swahili speaker Sabina Wasonga-Gitau returns with her unique Swahili Storytime. It is for children ages 5 to 12. Registration is required at the library website.
- Montclair Early Music will hold a special musical celebration of Black History Month on Feb. 10 from 3 to 4: 30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, 67 Church St. The concert, Jubilee 2024, features selections by renowned Black composers and performances by jazz pianist Michael David Cochrane, bass player Michael Logan, tenor soloist Jeremy Watson and Montclair Early Music's new artistic director, Louisa Valentin, as a soprano soloist. Proceeds will benefit Friends of the Howe House, a Montclair nonprofit group committed to preserving the historic house of James Howe, a formerly enslaved man who was freed in 1817. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $10 for students ages 12 and older and free for younger children. They are available at Montclair Early Music's website.
- Akwaaba Gallery in Newark will mark Black History Month with its third annual Kente Ball & Art Auction on Feb. 24 from 6 to 11 p.m. The event will be held at the gallery, 509 South Orange Ave., and will feature African cuisine and music. Tickets for the adults-only event (semi-formal African or evening attire is recommended) are $150 and are available at Eventbrite.
The Morris County Library, 30 East Hanover Ave. in Whippany, will celebrate Black History Month with several events:
- "Passing the Torch: The Legacy of Florence Price and Margaret Bonds" on Feb. 6 from 7 to 8 p.m. is a music program celebrating Price and Bonds, two African American composers and performers. Singer GaDa Lambert and pianist Basia Thomas will perform their works. No registration is required.
- "Freedom Songs: The Music of Black History", on Feb. 15 from 4 to 4:45 p.m. The program from the Bright Star Theater Company is for children ages 5 and up. Registration is required by calling (973) 285-6980 or emailing email@example.com.
- “Frederick Douglass, Advocate for Equality” is an exhibit that looks at the impact of the famed abolitionist and writer through his words and through various photographs and documents. It will run through Feb. 24. Call (973) 285-6930 for more information.
The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown will present "Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad" on Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. and Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. This field trip presentation for students in grades 3 to 12 tells the story of the legendary abolitionist, Civil War spy and suffragist. Schools interested in reserving tickets or who have questions can call (973) 539-0345, ext. 6556, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drew University, in collaboration with the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, will celebrate Black History Month with “Patchwork of Connections,” an exhibit at the museum showcasing works in various mediums by student and alumni artists of Drew University and West Orange High School. The exhibit at the museum, at 9 Main St. in Madison, runs throughout February and spotlights culture, traditions, significant figures and Black History Month themes. Call (973) 377-2982 for more information.
- Paterson will honor and recognize African American members of the Paterson community for their contributions in a flag-raising and recognition ceremony on Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. at City Hall, 155 Market St. in Paterson. The theme for this year's celebration is "African Americans and the Arts: Our Legacy, Our Lineage, Our Life."
- Church Made WithOut Hands Ministries in Paterson will host its annual Black History Month program on Saturday, Feb. 24, at the church, located at 122 Belmont Ave.. The guest speaker will be Newark activist Lawrence Hamm.
Ricardo Kaulessar covers race, immigration, and culture for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.t
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Black History Month
Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States and Canada that takes place in February. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout history. The month-long celebration includes various events, such as concerts, movie screenings, museum exhibits, and cultural performances, that highlight the history and accomplishments of African Americans.
Events and Celebrations
The article mentions several events and celebrations taking place in different counties during Black History Month. Here are some of the events mentioned:
Fair Lawn Black Culture Festival: This festival features speakers, including the town's mayor and the assistant principal of Fair Lawn High School, along with performances by the high school's Step Team and a storyteller on the journeys of African Americans.
Bergenfield Public Library Black History Month Celebration: This celebration includes storytellers Vicki Bryan and Shirley Johnson sharing stories that highlight the history and accomplishments of African Americans, along with songs and African drumming.
Bergen Community College Event: This event aims to highlight the impact African Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more.
Jamaica Organization of New Jersey's Bergen County Chapter Celebration: This community celebration includes various activities and can be attended by purchasing tickets through Eventbrite.
Clairidge Cinema in Montclair: This cinema will host a discussion of the book "Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras: A History of Blaxploitation Cinema" followed by a screening of the film "Shaft."
Montclair Public Library Black History Month Story Time: This event features Sabina Wasonga-Gitau, a native Swahili speaker, sharing Swahili stories with children aged 5 to 12.
Montclair Early Music Black History Month Celebration: This musical celebration features performances by renowned Black composers and musicians, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of the Howe House, a Montclair nonprofit group.
Akwaaba Gallery Kente Ball & Art Auction: This event includes African cuisine, music, and an art auction. It is a ticketed event held at the Akwaaba Gallery in Newark.
Morris County Library Events: The Morris County Library will host several events, including a music program celebrating African American composers, a program on the music of Black history, and an exhibit on Frederick Douglass.
Mayo Performing Arts Center Presentation: The Mayo Performing Arts Center will present a field trip presentation for students on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Drew University and Museum of Early Trades & Crafts Exhibit: This exhibit showcases works by student and alumni artists of Drew University and West Orange High School, highlighting culture, traditions, significant figures, and Black History Month themes.
Paterson Flag-Raising and Recognition Ceremony: Paterson will honor and recognize African American members of the community for their contributions in a flag-raising and recognition ceremony.
Church Made WithOut Hands Ministries Black History Month Program: This program includes a guest speaker and is hosted by Church Made WithOut Hands Ministries in Paterson.
These events and celebrations provide opportunities for people to learn, engage, and celebrate the rich history and contributions of African Americans.
Please note that the information provided above is based on this article, and additional details may be available through further research.