The Smithsonian Celebrates Black History Month With JOIN THE STUDENT SIT-INS, FAMILY DAY & More
The Smithsonian celebrates Black History Month in February with a series of films, lectures and performances at museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated.
The Institution will kick off Black History Month at the National Museum of American History Saturday, Feb. 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with its "Black History Month Family Day" celebration. The full day of activities is inspired by the exhibition, "Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963." It includes dramatic performances, hands-on activities, gallery tours and a preview screening and discussion of the new documentary by Stanley Nelson, Freedom Summer.
The National Museum of American History will present "Join the Student Sit-Ins" Saturday, Feb. 1, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Visitors will meet a civil rights activist in 1960, just after the historic Greensboro, N.C., student sit-in began. The audience will take part in a training session based on an actual civil rights manual and prepare for its first sit-in. The 15-20-minute interactive performances introduce the story behind the museum's Greensboro lunch counter.
The National Museum of American History will present a special preview screening of Freedom Summer, a documentary by Stanley Nelson, which will be broadcast on PBS's American Experience series in June 2014. This documentary recounts the 1964 efforts to ensure voting rights and improve education for blacks in Mississippi. A discussion with Freedom Summer veterans will follow. The screening will take place Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. in the museum's Warner Bros. Theater. Tickets are required. Reservations are available here.
The Anacostia Community Museum will screen Brother Outsider(84 minutes, 2003), Thursday, Feb. 27, at 11 a.m. This award-winning documentary follows the career of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay architect of the 1963 March on Washington. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Andrew Young, actress Liv Ullman and others who knew Rustin provide insightful commentaries. A discussion follows the screening. For more information or to attend, call (202) 633-4844.
Tours and Lectures
The Smithsonian American Art Museum will lead special docent-led tours in celebration of Black History Month. No single style or approach can define African American art; the artists discussed-from 19th-century landscape painter Robert S. Duncanson to the imaginative contemporary artist Nick Cave-represent a complex mingling of influences and experiences, including spirituality, music and folklore. "African American Artists in the Collection" tours will take place Tuesdays, Feb. 4, 18 and 25 and; Thursdays, Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27, at 12:30 p.m. No reservations are required. Participants meet in the F Street lobby.