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Black History Month Programs from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources


African American history in North Carolina involves the pursuit of freedom, equality and excellence. The following programs from venues of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources celebrate the lives and contributions of African Americans to the state.


Through February. Historic EdentonHarriet Jacobs Walking Tour. Tuesdays through Saturdays only. Hear the amazing tale of Harriet Jacobs, a woman born into slavery in Edenton, who escaped to become an abolitionist and author. As documented in her 1861 autobiography, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” this walking tour shares her story and takes you through downtown Edenton to see many of the sites mentioned in her book. Guided tours with advanced reservations for groups of five or more, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fee for those ages three and up. Self-guided tours free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Through February. Historic Halifax. Underground Railroad Tours. Tuesdays through Saturdays only. Consider the social and legal impacts of slavery in Halifax County, the role of African Americans on the waterways of the Underground Railroad as a route to freedom, and how the Roanoke River contributed to that community. 1 p.m. Free.

Through February. Somerset Place, CreswellPlantation Tours. Tuesdays through Saturdays only. Somerset Place includes 31 lakeside acres of what was once one of the largest plantations or the Upper South. The site includes seven original 19th century buildings. The guided tours aim to accurately represent the lives and lifestyles of the enslaved, owners, employed whites and free blacks, the entire antebellum community. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free with regular admission.

Through February.  N.C. Aquarium-Roanoke Island. Sundays only. Movie screening, Rescue Men, the Story of the Pea Island Lifesavers about the courageous work of the  Pea Island crew. 1:30 p.m. Free with regular admission.

Feb. 3. N.C. Aquarium-Roanoke IslandFreedmen, Surfmen, Heroes: The Unique Story of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station. The Pea Island Lifesaving Station was part of the U.S. Lifesaving Service and the only one manned by African Americans, who made many heroic rescues in the early 1900s. 1 p.m. Free.

Feb. 7. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. History for Lunch – Anita Scott Coleman: Author and Poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Elizabeth City State University Assistant Professor Douglas Jackson discusses personal ties to the Harlem Renaissance through his grandmother Anita Scott Coleman. Her award-winning short stories, poems, and essays often were published in national magazines.  12:15-1 p.m. Free.

Feb. 16. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. School Days – Black History Month: Harlem Renaissance Comes to the Albemarle. Immersive activities and performances will engage students in the literary, artistic, and intellectual movement after World War I and the Great Migration that kindled a new black cultural identity. After Atumpan - The Talking Drums performs “The Happening Harlem Renaissance.” Douglas Jackson, Elizabeth City State University, will present also. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Free.

Feb. 17. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. Black History Month: Harlem Renaissance Comes to the Albemarle. Atumpan - The Talking Drums, perform at 10:30 a.m. Then be inspired by words from Langston Hughes and by the art of Aaron Douglas. Enjoy the traveling exhibit, “Harlem Renaissance,” which features artists, authors, and musicians of the era. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Free

Feb. 24. CSS Neuse Civil War Center, Kinston. African Americans and Women in the Civil War. Historic Interpreter Shannon Walker will examine women in the medical field during the Civil War, historian Chris Meekins will present on Union Col. Edward Wild’s 1st North Carolina Colored Volunteers and UNC Prof. Reginal Hildebrand will address the first year for the freedmen.  10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Free.


Jan. 27. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. African American Cultural Celebration. Join the statewide kickoff to Black History Month. Named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, the17th annual day-long African American Cultural Celebration features more than 75 musicians, storytellers, dancers, chefs, historians, playwrights, authors, artists, reenactors, and more. 10:30 a.m. Free.

Through February. Historic Stagville, DurhamPlantation Tours. Tuesdays through Saturdays only. Tours of the former Bennehan-Cameron Plantation, once about 30,000 acres and one of the state’s largest, where approximately 900 enslaved workers were held. Stagville is dedicated to teaching about the lives and work of the bondsmen on the plantation. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

Feb. 3-4, 10-11, 18, 24-25. N.C. Museum of Art, Raleigh. Weekend Family-Friendly. Tours: Celebrate Black History Month. Celebrate Black and African-American artists and stories in the museum collection. Best for ages five-11 and their adult companions. Meet at the West Building Information Desk. 10:30 a.m. Free.

Feb. 3. Museum of the Cape Fear, Fayetteville.  Dancing Stories with April C. TurnerTurner uses dances, stories and songs from traditional West African culture to affirm community building concepts such as working together, integrity, and perseverance. Learn the meanings of West African dance symbols and uses of the songs and dances as demonstrated in a fun, high-energy journey. The audience will enjoy being introduced to the West African language, Wolof. 2 p.m. Free.

Feb. 7. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. History Corner. Freedom on the Menu. Would you stand up for what was right, or sit down for your beliefs? This youth program examines a time when young people made a difference. For ages six to nine, accompanied by an adult. 10 a.m. Fee; museum members free. 

Feb. 7. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. History Hunters. Greensboro Sit-in. Learn about a group of brave Tar Heels who almost 60 years ago this month sat down at a lunch counter and helped change American history. For ages 10-13. 11:15 a.m. Fee; museum members free.

Feb. 10, 24. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. African American History Tours. Docents will lead visitors through exhibits to highlight the contributions of African Americans to North Carolina History.1:30 p.m. Free.

Feb. 14. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. History a la Carte: Reconstruction in the Post-Civil War South. N.C. State University Associate Professor Susanna Lee offers insights into the Civil War and the period that followed. Allow time to visit the state’s original 1868 constitution temporarily exhibited in “The Story of North Carolina.” Purchase or bring a boxed lunch; beverages provided. Noon. Free.

Feb. 15. N.C. State Archives Building, Raleigh. Third Thursday Talk: Finding Freedom in North Carolina. Towns. Rivers. Businesses and “colonies.” African Americans have relied on unique landscapes, places, and communities in search of freedom in North Carolina. Join the NC African American Heritage Commission to learn about communities and spaces that were key to African American liberation in North Carolina. This event is presented by the NC African American Heritage Commission, in partnership with the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources EEO Committee. 12:30 p.m. Free

Feb. 25. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. Poetry, Music and All that Jazz. Join as author and critic Carole Boston Weatherford celebrates the poetry of music and musicians, from North Carolina–born jazz saxophonist John Coltrane to legendary entertainer and activist Lena Horne. This award-winning author of more than 50 books says, “Poetry makes music with words.” Overflow from the auditorium to the Long Leaf room. 2-4 p.m. Free.

Feb. 11. Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, Sedalia. Palmer Personalities: Musical Ties to PMI.Meet musical personalities tied to Palmer Memorial Institute—including some of Dr. Brown's famous relatives—at the museum’s second annual Black History Month theatrical tour. Personalities include Nat King Cole, Maria Hawkins Cole, Carol Brice, Walter Booker, Jr., Barbara Logan Cooke, and Roland Hayes. Reservations are still available for the noon tour. Free.

Feb. 22. N.C. Museum of Art, Raleigh. Salsa, African Style. Salsa rhythms can be traced to east and west Africa. Band leader Massama Dogo leads a discussion of the origins of salsa culture and the unique conga-drum-centric African salsa popular in Senegal today. Dance party and salsa lesson follows. Cash bar. East Building. 7 p.m. Fee.

Feb. 23. Historic Stagville, Durham. Stagville Under the Stars. Join Historic Stagville and Morehead Planetarium for African tales about the night sky and peer through telescopes to take a tour of the stars. 6 p.m. Free.

All Year. Historic Stagville, Durham. The remains of North Carolina's largest pre-Civil War plantation and one of the South's largest. It once belonged to the Bennehan-Cameron family, whose combined holdings totaled approximately 900 slaves and almost 30,000 acres by 1860. Today, Stagville consists of 71 acres, on three tracts and includes the late 18th-century Bennehan House, four rare slave houses, a pre-Revolutionary War farmer's house, a huge timber framed barn built by skilled enslaved craftsmen and the Bennehan family cemetery. Free.


Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24. Reed Gold Mine, Midland. Black Gold, Slavery, and Reed Gold Mine. The origins and impact of slavery in the state and at Reed Gold Mine will examine the area’s social and economic environment and how piedmont North Carolina was transformed through the years of backbreaking labor of enslaved men, women and children. 1 p.m. Fee for ages eight and older.  

For information call (919) 807-7389. The Division of State Historic Sites, State History Museums and State Aquariums are within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

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