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Philly Black History Month Events for Kids

From Octavius V. Catto to Marie Maynard Daly and beyond, learn more about the amazing contributions of African-Americans.

In February, Philadelphia institutions have special programming to celebrate and educate about the role that African-Americans have played and the innumerable contributions they have made to our nation. From museum exhibits, to celebrations, to a citywide public art installation, to an extensive schedule of events from the Free Library, there is so much to learn, see, and do.

Visions of King

Through February 28

Various locations throughout the city

 

Nine large sculptures designed by Philadelphia high school students in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and incorporating his quotes are on display throughout Philadelphia for the month of February. These unique pieces are located at eight different locations, including Temple University, the Betsy Ross House, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and City Hall.

African-American History Month at the National Constitution Center

Through February 28 (Free admission on February 19)

525 Arch St., Philadelphia

 

Throughout February, the Constitution Center will host a variety of programs in honor of African-American History Month. Visitors can explore the museum’s The Story of We the People exhibit to discover key milestones in African-American history and test their knowledge of African-American history at the Constitution Center’s giant game board activity.

 

Visitors will learn about the history of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, and the background of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. You can also pick up a flyer at check-in to take a self-guided museum tour highlighting important moments in African-American history. The museum is also offering free admission on February 19 for the Presidents Day holiday.

Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Macy’s Family Fun Day at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

February 10, 11 am – 3 pm

701 Arch St., Philadelphia

 

Celebrate Black History Month with free admission (for the first 250 people) and interactive arts workshops for kids age 5 and up. There will be a historical reenactment by Noah Lewis at 11, followed by a drum workshop at noon, and finally an art workshop at 1:30 pm.

Black History Month Celebration at Reading Terminal Market

February 10, 9 am—2 pm

51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia

 

Celebrate Black History Month with cooking demos, musical performances, face painting, and balloon animals.

Learn about Phillis the Laundress at the Betsy Ross House

Saturdays and Sundays throughout February, 10 am — 5 pm

239 Arch St., Philadelphia

 

This historical reenactment program sponsored by the Philadelphia Abolitionist Society Endowment Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation portrays Phillis, a free African-American woman who was born into slavery in Philadelphia. As a free woman of color, Phillis lived in a growing and active community of free blacks in 18th century Philadelphia. Though her work was hard as a free and educated woman, she enjoyed a degree of independence that many were looking for in 18th century Philadelphia.

Living History: Meet Ned Hector

February 10, 1 — 1:45 pm

Congress Hall, 5th and Chestnut streets, Philadelphia

 

Join historical re-enactor Noah Lewis as he portrays Ned Hector, a Revolutionary War hero, free black man, and respected patriot.  Hector refused to give up his horses, wagons, and armaments at the Battle of Brandywine.

Black History Month Film Screening: Disney’s ‘Ruby Bridges

February 10, 3 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Branch, 125 S. 52nd St., Philadelphia

 

A family-friendly screening of the film Ruby Bridges, based on the true story of one of the first African-American children to attend a previously segregated all-white school.

Black History Month Scavenger Hunt

February 12, 4 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch, 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia

 

During a scavenger hunt through the library children will learn information about well-known African American authors and illustrators.

Teen Movie Screening: ‘Remember the Titans’

February 12, 4 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch, 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia

 

Watch the 2000 film Remember the Titans, based on the true story of an African-American coach and his attempt to integrate a Virginia high school football team in 1971.

‘Octavius V. Catto: A Legacy for the 21st Century’

February 13, 4 pm at Wadsworth Library

February 15, 4:30 pm at Haddington Library

February 24, 2 pm at Oak Lane Library

 

Octavius V. Catto was a 19th century civil rights activist, scholar, athlete, and community leader, and his statue is City Hall’s latest piece of public art. The Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting an interactive workshop for school-aged students featuring hands-on activities, examination of primary sources, and a screening of Octavius V. Catto: A Legacy for the 21st Century followed by a discussion led by local Catto experts at three different locations throughout February.

Learn About Garrett A. Morgan

February 14, 4pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Paschalville Branch, 6942 Woodland Ave., Philadelphia

 

Learn about Garrett A. Morgan and his traffic signal invention, then make your own traffic lights using food.

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Black History Month Celebration Saturday @ AAMP

February 17, noon — 3 pm

African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St., Philadelphia

 

Celebrate Black History Month with a historical reenactment by Noah Lewis at noon, followed by an art workshop. These interactive art workshops are meant for kids age 5 and up.

 

‘As Fast As Words Could Fly’ Reading at Strawberry Mansion

February 17, 1 — 3 pm

2450 Strawberry Mansion Dr., Philadelphia

 

Visit Historic Strawberry Mansion to hear a special reading of As Fast As Words Could Fly by author Pamela Tuck. Guests will receive a copy of the book and can have it signed after the reading. Stick around after the reading for a free guided tour of Historic Strawberry Mansion.

Inventors Showcase

February 19, 4 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch, 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia

 

In this showcase, children will learn about African American inventors and their inventions.

Marie Maynard Daly Chemistry Fun!

February 21, 4:30 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Eastwick Branch, 2851 Island Ave., Philadelphia

 

Kids will learn about African-American chemist and scientist Marie Maynard Daly, and then have fun conducting various chemistry activities.

Going Forth – Jazz

February 22, 3:30 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Nicetown-Tioga Branch, 3720 N. Broad St., Philadelphia

 

Mr. Fred Simmons—a pianist, educator, and instructor—will talk about the jazz form of music from the 1960s to today.  The program will also include music by contemporary composers and Simmons’ own original compositions.

Around the Table

February 22, 3:30 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Kingsessing Branch, 1201 S. 51st St., Philadelphia

 

Taking inspiration from the traditions of family reunions celebrated in This Is the Rope (this year’s children’s book selection for One Book, One Philadelphia), participants will make reusable placemats and hear stories from Mama Carla Wiley—a storyteller, educator and artist who weaves together multigenerational memories with activities for children that inspire and engage the whole family.

Celebration of African Cultures at the Penn Museum

February 24, 11 am —4 pm

3600 South St., Philadelphia

 

Local storytellers and artists will lead guests in an interactive exploration of traditions from across the African continent, set among the museum’s collection of textiles, sculpture, and masks in the Africa Gallery, and among statuary and tomb materials from 5,000 years of Egyptian culture in the Egyptian galleries. There will also be crafts activities for kids like creating African inspired masks and jewelry, modern African dance, traditional African music, an African marketplace with food and other items, games, puppetry, African Animal Yoga, and so much more!

Living History: Meet Harriet Tubman

February 24, 1—1:45 pm

Congress Hall, 5th and Chestnut streets, Philadelphia

 

Learn about the amazing life of Harriet Tubman in this inspiring performance by Millicent Sparks.  Hear about Tubman’s story of enslavement, her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and her espionage activities during the Civil War.

‘Hidden Figures’

February 24, 1:30 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Lovett Memorial Branch, 6945 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia

 

The library will be screening the film Hidden Figures, the incredible story of the brilliant African-American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind the launch of John Glenn into orbit. The screening is intended for children ages 7 and older. Light refreshments will be provided.

Follow Along the Great Migration

February 24, 2 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Northeast Regional Branch, 2228 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia

 

Learn about the Great Migration through an interactive program in which participants move through different spaces in the library, each representing a city and each offering a unique activity and facts about different points in history.

‘Akeelah and the Bee’ at Philadelphia City Institute

February 24, 2 pm

1905 Locust St. (lower level), Philadelphia

 

Watch the family-friendly and uplifting film Akeelah and the Bee, about a little girl’s journey to the National Spelling Bee.

Learn about George Crum at Paschalville Library

February 28, 4 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Paschalville Branch, 6942 Woodland Ave., Philadelphia

 

George Crum created the potato chip.  How well do you know your potato chips? Participate in taste testing and take home your favorite chips!

The Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat: Share Your Creativity

February 28, 4 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Branch, 125 S. 52nd St., Philadelphia

 

Enjoy a reading of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe and (one of our personal favorites) Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou and illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat.  After the reading, add your own drawing and writing to the library’s Young Artists’ Wall.

 

 

Lead photograph by Laura Swartz. 

PHILADELPHIA ASSISTANT EDITOR

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