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Black History Month: Ways to Learn and Celebrate

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 by Donna L
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This month, take time out to thank J.L Love for inventing the pencil sharpener, A.L. Cralle for inventing the ice cream scooper, and Lydia O. Newman for inventing the hairbrush. These African-American inventors are responsible for making our lives easier! During the month of February, New Yorkers reflect on the inventions, accomplishments and influences made by African-Americans.
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In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a promoter of educating students about African-American life and history, chose February to celebrate Black history because of two leaders that made major impacts on African-American lives, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Today, Black History Month ensures that students of all ages are exposed to the many contributions that people with African heritage have made to our society. We’ve rounded up some great activities, events and performances that will educate and entertain your young New Yorker.
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Bob Marley's Three Little Birds
Bob Marley is the man who introduced reggae music to the world. His daughter, Cedella Marley, wrote a book based on the legendary artist’s words of wisdom. Based on the original lyrics from her father’s song, Three Little Birds, is a play that brings Cedella’s colorful book and her father’s words of wisdom into life. With lots of singing and dancing from three lively birds, young viewers will know that every little thing is gonna be alright. This play is perfect for children ages 5 and up. Tickets start at $14.

February 7 - 23
New Victory Theatre
209 W 42nd St
(646) 223-3010
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Arsenal Gallery Black History Month Exhibition: The March
Many New Yorkers are familiar with the summer stage, ice skating rink and zoo. But, did you know that there was a gallery inside Central Park? Bring your young artist, with a sketchbook and pencil, to the Arsenal Gallery. The exhibit entitled, “The March,” reflects on the struggles and victories of the Civil Rights Movement’s past, present and future, as well as those individuals who have advanced the cause. Viewers will appreciate the vibrant colors of the artwork, and the fact that admission is free.

Now playing - February 27
The Arsenal at Central Park
830 5th Ave
(212) 360-8163
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An Apollo 80th Anniversary Celebration
What better way to celebrate the musical accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans than by visiting the place where dreams are made of! The Apollo Theater is a symbol of musical greatness. This historical landmark will be celebrating Black music all month long. But, on February 8th and 9th, the theater celebrates its 80th anniversary. Free admission allows visitors to enjoy all that it has to offer–great family performances, a family workshop and a preview of their future activities. Sunday’s Family Workshop is a very special event. Grandmothers, grandkids and those in between will have an opportunity to learn songs that explore the early history of Blues and Gospel music. The sing-along will be awesome! Registration is strongly recommended for all events!

February 8 - 9
The Apollo
253 W 125th St
(212) 531-5300
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Celebrate Black History Month -- George Washington Carver Workshop
What better way to introduce your children to a great inventor than to lure them with peanut butter? The Queens Botanical Garden has organized an event where children ages 6-12 experience the life of the man who invented the popular spread, Dr. George Washington Carver. They will learn how plants played an important role in Carver's early life. Guests will also learn about his later achievements in botany, have an opportunity to paint with plants, and plant an actual peanut to take home for further observation. This event costs $6 and takes place from 1:30 pm - 3 pm. It’s a perfect event for children who have an interest in science or gardening.

February 20
Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main St
(718) 886-3800
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Harlem Globetrotters
Sweet Georgia Brown, the Harlem Globetrotters are in town! This legendary basketball team has made some changes to their line-up over the years. But one thing that has not changed is the fun experience they give to kids, parents and their extended family This is the perfect opportunity to see the greatest dribblers, dunkers and tricksters in the world at New York’s newest arena. This is an exciting event for all ages. Tickets for this game, at the Barclays Center, start at $33. The game starts at 7 pm.

February 14
620 Atlantic Ave
(917) 618-6100
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Soweto Gospel Choir
Since 2002, the Soweto Gospel Choir has toured the world winning awards, sharing their joy of singing and giving inspiration to audiences of all sizes. In 2006, they sang for Oprah Winfrey during her visit to South Africa. In 2007, they sang with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a concert in Germany. That same year they were nominated at the 26th International Reggae and World Music Awards for their “contribution to world music” and won the Grammy for "Best Traditional World Music Album". This is a group of talented vocalists that will amaze and engage guests of all ages. Tickets for children under 12 are $10. This event, in honor of Dr. King and the loving memory of Nelson Mandela, begins at 8 pm.

February 15
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts
250 Bedford Park Blvd
(718) 960-8833
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Black History Month: Telling Our Stories
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is celebrating Black History Month by sharing stories of community heritage with the Museum’s collection of artifacts beginning with author, Nana Camille Yarbrough. This musician, actress, poet, activist and author of a Coretta Scott King Awardedr book, entitled Cornrows, will share her own story of a young girl learning about the pride of her heritage through cornrowed patterns of Africa woven into her hair. Children ages 5 and up are encouraged to bring an artifact of their own to share as they tell their own story. What better way to understand the importance of oral history than to share a story about yourself? This show-and-tell event begins at 11:30 am. Admission is $9.

Every Saturday in February
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue
(718) 735-4400
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Events for Youth & Families at the Brooklyn Public Library
The Brooklyn Public Library has a multitude of events for youth and families, especially on a rainy day. To celebrate Black History Month, the Dweck Center will host story-telling events involving award-winning illustrators, authors and musicians. Each event will include live performances! On the second Saturday of the month, renowned tap dancer, Michela Marino-Lerman will make author Javaka Steptoe’s book, entitled “Rain Play”, come to life as he creates the sounds of rain with his feet! Young audiences will learn how our histories can be preserved through storytelling and they’ll be amazed at how music makes words come alive. Dramatic retellings of Haitian stories take place on the third Saturday. Attendees should expect to hear drums and see colorful costumes. On the fourth Saturday, get ready to learn more about dance with Jerbean Gilkes as he combines jazz and hip hop. These events are free, begin at 1pm and are great for children under 12 who love reading and music!

Every Saturday in February
Brooklyn Public Library - Dweck Center
10 Grand Army Plaza
(718) 230-2100
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Lines of Freedom
The Irondale Ensemble Project and American Opera Projects partnered together to bring together two original shows, Color Between the Lines and Harriet Tubman: When I crossed That Line to Freedom, that celebrate those who fought to end slavery. This is a great event to bring the whole family to, for some entertainment and education. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students and seniors) and there are only 8 shows for this event.

February 20 - March 1
Irondale Center
85 S Oxford St
(718) 488-9233
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