Celebrate Black History Month in Boston

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Celebrate Black History Month in Boston! I've rounded up Boston's most important sites for black history, art, and culture, as well as outlined Black History Month events in and around the city. And while it's certainly meaningful to visit these sites in February, most can be enjoyed all the year through.  

Museum of African American History


The Museum of African American History in Beacon Hill commemorates Black History Month with a lecture and book signing, "Black Votes Matter with Civil Rights icon Bob Moses", on February 12.


A new exhibit, "Freedom Rising: Reading, Writing, Publishing Black Books", is now on view and can be toured throughout 2015. Additionally, the museum recently brought back its MAAH Music concert series in partnership with Berklee College of Music, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the New England Conservatory of Music, with all programming reflecting culturally significant African-American music. Upcoming concerts include "NEC Voices in Harmony Sing About Freedom" and "Berklee's Imagine Orchestra"; check the museum website for updates.   

Motown the Musical at the Opera House


The touring production of Motown the Musical is wrapping up its run at the Opera House, with shows scheduled through February 15. Following the life of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, the show features hits from his legendary discoveries who went on to impact American music and culture, including the Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and Stevie Wonder.

Intimate Apparel at the Lyric Stage


Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel comes to the Lyric Stage Company February 13 through March 14.

Following the livelihood and loves of Esther, an African-American seamstress in early 20th century Manhattan, the play depicts a time when one's background (and skin color) dictated the course of a life. Director Summer L. Williams helms this production.

Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott exhibit at the MFA


The Museum of Fine Arts recently unveiled the photography exhibit, Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott (on view through September 13 in the Robert and Jane Burke Gallery). Parks, the first African-American photographer employed full-time at LIFE magazine, originally took the photographs back in the 1940s on assignment, which ultimately were never published. The Fort Scott exhibit showcases not only everyday African-American life in the pre-Civil Rights era, but also an insider's look at Parks' Kansas hometown through a uniquely insider perspective.

Roxbury Walking Tours


Roxbury is rich with African-American history and culture, and Discover Roxbury has walking tours focusing on colonial history, art and architecture, homes and gardens, sacred spaces, and jazz, with private walking tours available. Additionally, Urban AdvenTours sponsors Roxbury bike tours (weather permitting) that showcase Roxbury Heritage State Park and the (pictured) Dillaway Thomas House, "Radical Roxbury", main streets, and more.

Black History Month at the John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute, Northeastern University 


Lectures, art exhibits, dance competitions, community service, movie viewings, and theater performances are just a few events taking part over Black History Month at Northeastern's John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute. Week one focuses on events that educate, week two on events that inspire, week three on events that connect, week four on events that celebrate; check the O'Bryant website for the most up-to-date listings.

When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South at the ICA


Open since February 4, When the Stars Begin to Fall at the ICA depicts the intersection of black life, contemporary art, and outsider art through the lens of the South, exhibiting works from self-taught "outsider" artists alongside lauded contemporary artists. The exhibit, featuring drawings, paintings, performance, and sculpture, will be on view through May 10.
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