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Culture Focus

Black History Month

Black History Month, celebrated in February, commemorates the 15th Amendment that granted African Americans the right to vote and acknowledges the role played by them throughout history. In Philadelphia, Black History Month is especially significant because of the abundance of Black-owned businesses, museums documenting African American history and historical sites that one can visit to appreciate this rich history and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment. 

Free Library of Philadelphia – Various Events

The Free Library of Philadelphia hosts many events at its various different locations to celebrate Black history. An exciting event for students is the Black History Quizzo which will be held at Lovett Memorial Library on Feb. 24 where participants can share their Black history knowledge and learn more about it for a chance to win prizes. 

On Thursday, February 27, Parkway Central Library will host R. Eric Thomas, a renowned playwright and writer who has been featured in the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as praised by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He will be presenting his debut essay collection, Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America which explores his views on the 2016 election, the reconciliation of his sexuality with Chrisitianity, and college code-switching.

Black History Month Commemoration

This on-campus event is the closest way of celebrating Black History Month. On Tuesday, February 25, the Office of Community Relations will feature a conversation with Judith Robinson, a community advocate and docent for Church of the Advocate and Temple’s Diane Spencer of the Center for Community Partnerships.  Find more information here.

Awakened in You: The Collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton 

From Feb. 21 to July 12, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will be displaying 70 artworks from the collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton, an esteemed American educator and advocate who used art as a tool to spread awareness. The collection includes paintings, writings and sculptures that celebrate African American history.

PAFA describes the collection as “a series of visual remnants that document the multifaceted African American experience and contributions to the canon of art history.”

The exhibition will be held at the Historic Landmark Building and can be accessed during normal museum hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Learn more here!

Witness to History: Selma Photography of Stephen Somerstein at Brandywine River Museum of Art

From February 1 to June 14, the Brandywine River Museum of Art will display 55 photos from the 54-mile Black voters rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. The collection taken by Stephen Somerstein, includes photos of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, and more.

Supporting Black Businesses

Visiting Black-owned shops and local businesses, such as The Sable Collective, Marsh + Mane, Damari Savile and Amalgam Comics and Coffee House can be a great way of supporting and uplifting the Black community during Black history month. It is also important that we keep educating ourselves about the struggles of African Americans throughout history and the vital role they have played in the development of America.