This February, humanities councils across the states and territories are commemorating the contributions, cultural heritage, and histories of Black Americans through their grants and programs. On February 4, Alabamans celebrated the 110th birthday of civil rights leader Rosa Parks at a day-long party. Supported by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, the “Rosa Parks Birthday Celebration” at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum featured free admission, arts and crafts, story time with Wanda Battle of Legendary Tours, live music by Duron Hale, a 1950s Montgomery City Bus, and cupcakes.

In New York City, community members are coming together to enjoy a special exhibit at the Whalers Museum & Educational Center: “From Sea to Shining Sea: Whalers of the African Diaspora.” With support from Humanities New York, the two-year Black Whalers exhibit “explores and expounds on the role of African American mariners in whaling history, highlighting and bringing into perspective a significant time in American history for the general public.” 

Attendees of “An Evening Upstairs: African Americans in the Civil War” learned from historian and educator Dr. Alicestyne Turley about the critical role of Black Kentuckians in prosecuting the American Civil War. Supported by Kentucky Humanities, this presentation explored how African Americans “established new citizenship rights, norms and opportunities for all Americans.” 

On February 15, Arizona Humanities will host a lecture on “The Underground and Overground Railroad” with Tamika Sanders. Through storytelling, song, and historical artifacts, Sanders will traverse time to illuminate “the ingenuity and resiliency used by those involved in the Underground Railroad to help over 100,000 enslaved people escape to freedom between 1810 and 1850” while drawing parallels to the Jim Crow era and exploring the Overground Railroad created by the Green Book. This month and every month, humanities councils are committed to honoring the legacies and uplifting the voices of Black Americans through their grants, programs, and community events. Explore upcoming opportunities at a council near you