African-American culture has played a significant role in shaping Philadelphia since the city's founding. Celebrate this rich history with special events and exhibits throughout the month of February. From discussions about the abolitionist movement, to rare showcases of modernist art, Philadelphia offers a wide variety of options to honor influential African Americans.

On February 16, 17, and 19, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., enjoy free stories about African Americans who have broken down barriers, and their role in U.S. history, at the Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Bench inside the Independence Visitor Center.

See below for other great happenings commemorating African-American heritage in Philadelphia this month.


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Independence National Historical Park

>>SEE where it all began

Independence National Historical Park will host Park Ranger-led programs and slide shows every Saturday in February inside of the Independence Visitor Center, as well as its year-round programming "President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation," which explores the paradox of slavery and freedom in an open-air replica of the nation’s first executive mansion.

>>"Living History: Meet Ned Hector."
Join historical reenactor Noah Lewis as he portrays Ned Hector, a Revolutionary War hero, free black man, and respected patriot.  Hector refused to give up his horses, wagons, and armaments a the Battle of Brandywine.
Hours: Saturday, February 10, 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. 
Location: Congress Hall

>>"
Living History: Meet Harriet Tubman." 
Learn about the amazing life of Harriet Tubman in this inspiring performance by Millicent Sparks.  Hear about Tubman's story of enslavement, her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and her espionage activities during the American Civil War.
Hours: Saturday, February 24, 1:00 - 1:45 p.m.
Location: 
Congress Hall

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National Constitution Center

>>DISCOVER key milestones

The National Constitution Center offers ways for visitors to customize their learning experience with special programming throughout the month. Its interactive "Breaking Barriers" show examines the lives of Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson, and other groundbreaking citizens who faced struggles to secure rights for all Americans.
With "Decoding the Document: Emacipation Proclamation Document Workshop," visitors can take a closer look at the museum's rare printing of the Proclamation to learn more about its history, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Self-guided tour materials are also available at the front desk.
 
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, Noon - 5:00 p.m. 
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African American Museum

>>EXPERIENCE culture come alive 

The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first institution built by a major United States city to house and interpret the life and work of African Americans. Visitors can experience the richness and vibrancy of African American heritage and culture in four exhibition galleries year-round, including Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776 - 1876, a permanent exhibit that tells the stories of, and contributions made by, people of African descent in Philadelphia during the tumultuous years following the founding of our nation; and the debut of Black Pulp!, a visual overview of the Black experience that spans from the early twentieth-century America to today. 
 
Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, Noon - 5:00 p.m. 
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Philadelphia History Museum

>>UNDERSTAND the evolving story

The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent honors Octavius V. Catto’s legacy of activism with its exhibition, Taking A Stand For Equality: Octavius V. CattoArtifacts, documents and images recording Catto’s fight for equal access to education, public transportation, voting rights and full citizenship for African-Americans will be on display. For more tributes to Catto, head to City Hall to see his memorial sculpture, the first to dedicated there since 1923, on September 26, 2017.
 
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
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Marian Anderson Museum

>>CELEBRATE a legend 

If you don't know the story of America's great opera singer, Marian Anderson, you will soon--when her face is memorialized on the new $5 bill. Anderson performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, a landmark concert made necessary when Anderson was denied the opportunity to perform in another segregated venue. When she sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee," it was an eye-opening moment and catalyst of the civil rights movement. A Philadelphia native, Anderson's house in South Philadelphia is now a museum.
 
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Field collection item ID:
Independence National Historical Park

>>SEE where it all began

Independence National Historical Park will host Park Ranger-led programs and slide shows every Saturday in February inside of the Independence Visitor Center, as well as its year-round programming "President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation," which explores the paradox of slavery and freedom in an open-air replica of the nation’s first executive mansion.

>>"Living History: Meet Ned Hector."
Join historical reenactor Noah Lewis as he portrays Ned Hector, a Revolutionary War hero, free black man, and respected patriot.  Hector refused to give up his horses, wagons, and armaments a the Battle of Brandywine.
Hours: Saturday, February 10, 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. 
Location: Congress Hall

>>"
Living History: Meet Harriet Tubman." 
Learn about the amazing life of Harriet Tubman in this inspiring performance by Millicent Sparks.  Hear about Tubman's story of enslavement, her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and her espionage activities during the American Civil War.
Hours: Saturday, February 24, 1:00 - 1:45 p.m.
Location: 
Congress Hall