Almost one hundred years ago Carter G.Woodson began Negro History Week, the predecessor to Black History Month to recognize the contributions of African Americans. He choose the second week of February since the birthdays of historical figures Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were the 12th and 14th. Montgomery County recognizes the historical significance of this month with great places to discover history right in your backyard:
Celebrate Black History in Montgomery County, Maryland:
In Colesville, Maryland experience history first hand at the temporary exhibit Jim Crow on Streetcars at the National Capital Trolley Museum. There attendees will learn about the history of segregation on street cars during the 19th century in New York and the efforts to change history starting the movement to outlaw the practice. February 21st take a ride on the historic street car after viewing Jim Crow Practices on Streetcars. The exhibit is open from 12pm to 5pm.
Discover the remarkable story of Reverend Josiah Henson, whose 1849 autobiography inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This internationally significant historic site is the place where Henson lived and worked as a slave from 1795 to 1830 and became the backdrop for his memoir. It is here that the story of slavery in Maryland can be told from Henson’s first-person experience. The parks is open for special events such as Black History Month (February), Heritage Days (June), and Maryland Emancipation Day (September). Group and school tours can be booked by clicking here. Special events are free of charge. Pricing for group tours and school tours varies.
Enjoy free guided tours retracing Josiah Henson’s footsteps from slavery to freedom, while walking the grounds of the Issac Riley plantation at the Josiah Henson Park. After taking a walk through history enjoy the PBS documentary of Josiah Henderson’s life from an archaeological perspective.
The struggle for emancipation did not end at the Civil War but continued on through the period known as Reconstruction. Oakley Cabin, once the center of an African America roadside community struggling to survive and build a new life, now serves as a living museum for this era. The log cabin provides hands-on historical experiences through hearth cooking, crafts, and other educational opportunities. Free guided tours of the Oakley Cabin African American Museum are available select Saturdays, April through October. Group and school tours of the log cabin can be booked by clicking here. Guided tours are free. Pricing for group tours and school tours varies.
Experience Maryland as it looked in the early 1800s by visiting Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, where its historic buildings transport you back in time to the founding of the Sandy Spring Quaker settlement and a historically free black community. In addition to its Federal-era manor house and six historic original outbuildings, visitors can walk the Underground Railroad Experience Trail and imagine what it was like to be a freedom seeker. The trail is open year-round for self-guided hikes or come visit April through October when conductors showcase the stories and strategies used and the hardships faced on the road to freedom.
During Black History Month, celebrations conclude Saturday February 28th with an Open Mic Spoken Word Poetry Event in which guest are invited to perform their own work.
The Sandy Spring’s Slave Museum focuses on the heritage of Blacks from their origin in Africa through the Trans-Atlantic passage, participation with the Underground Railroad, the struggle for civil rights, and their accomplishments across the African Diaspora. Exhibits include the cross-section of a slaving clipper ship, a log cabin that was relocated to the grounds and an arts pavilion that represents huts built by indigenous tribes in Africa. The pavilion houses textiles, instruments and furniture.
** Tours By Appointment ** Please visit us for special programs held throughout the year. **
Below are events held at other locations throughout Black History Month
All month long Montgomery County Public Libraries are sponsoring special events throughout the area. Families will enjoy storytelling in music, song, and movement from Diane Macklin at the Quince Orchard location. Then journey to Germantown to experience an exhibit dedicated to the celebration of African American women during the Civil Rights Movement, or book discussion celebrating the literature of famed authors. In Aspen Hill enjoy a documentary focusing on the cultural significance of black churches in Montgomery County from the view point of elders and dignitaries.
In Bethesda, the famed music hall celebrates Black History Month in style with music events showcasing the foundation of modern music culture in America. Enjoy jazz, and blues that will transform you back to the days of the Harlem Renaissance.