Alexandria Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual recognition and celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of African Americans and persons of African descent in U.S. history. The City of Alexandria invites the public to celebrate Black History Month through special events and activities throughout February.

Page updated on Jan 22, 2020 at 2:05 PM

Events

February 1 Story Time for Little Historians
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
11:00 am 
$3 per person includes museum admission 
Bring your little learners to the Alexandria Black History Museum for cultural stories and creative craft activities that introduce world history and folklore. Story time will take place every first Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. Explore the museum exhibits afterwards to learn about local Black history. All ages are welcome, but most suitable for children 3 – 6 years old. Admission is $3 per person. RSVP at https://shop.alexandriava.gov/Events.aspx.

An adult must accompany all children. For a group of 10 or more, please contact the museum to reserve a program. 


February 8 Film Screening and Discussion - The Rape of Recy Taylor  
11:00 am  
Alexandria’s History Museum at the Lyceum - (Note location) 201 South Washington Street  
$10 
In 1944, African American wife and mother Recy Taylor is gang raped by six white men in Alabama. She has the courage to speak out against her attackers, but by doing so puts herself and her family in danger. This film examines the dangers faced by African American women in the South and the role Rosa Parks played in this story. 


February 22: A Complicated Hospitality 
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal Street  
10 a.m. - noon 
$15 per person; $12 GTMS/Volunteer 
Through the stories, experiences, and archival traces of those enslaved by John Gadsby, consider how the nuances of urban slavery expand our understanding of slavery and Alexandria.  Purchase tickets at alexandriava.gov/shop


February 29 Rethinking Rufus: Sexual Violations of Enslaved Men: A Lecture with Dr. Thomas Foster, Howard University 
Alexandria’s History Museum at the Lyceum - (Note location)  201 South Washington Street  
11:00 am  
* Free  
Rethinking Rufus is the first book-length study of sexual violence against enslaved men. Scholars have extensively documented the widespread sexual exploitation and abuse suffered by enslaved women, with comparatively little attention paid to the stories of men. However, a careful reading of extant sources reveals that sexual assault of enslaved men also occurred systematically and in a wide variety of forms, including physical assault, sexual coercion, and other intimate violations. 


Exhibits

  • Before the Spirits are Swept Away: African American Historic Site Paintings, Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St. These paintings are part of the late Sherry Sanabria's "Sites of Conscience" series, which has as its focus African American heritage, prisons, concentration camps, and mental hospitals. The Sites of Conscience series takes viewers to places of horror, places of pain and suffering, places we want to forget, but never should. The Black History Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/BlackHistory or call 703.746.4356.
  • The Journey to Be Free: Self- Emancipation and Alexandria’s Contraband Heritage remains on view in the Parker-Gray Gallery.  This exhibition highlights the journey of escaped slaves (contrabands) to Alexandria to seek protection by the Union Army. The exhibition examines their role in assisting the Union Army and what life was like for the newly freed men, women and children who lived in the City. The exhibition also explores the creation of Alexandria’s Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial which was dedicated in 2014 and celebrated its 5th anniversary in September of 2019. 


Virtual Tours

Visit the Black History Museum, the African American Heritage Park and the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial on Google 360 virtual tours.  


The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, e-mail black.history@alexandriava.gov.

 

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