ALEXANDRIA, VA – The City of Alexandria invites the public to celebrate Black History Month with special events and activities throughout February. Black History Month is an annual recognition and celebration of the history, culture, achievements and contributions of African Americans and persons of African descent. Join the celebration by watching virtual storytelling events for children and adults; lectures; concerts, such as “Washington Revels Jubilee Voices in Concert;” and online tours. Participants will also be able to access virtual tours of the “African American Heritage Trail: North Waterfront Route,” and “Courageous Journey: A Guide to Alexandria’s African American History.”
This year, Alexandria also highlights two virtual lectures related to African American history. “Updates from the Equal Justice Initiative,” by Trey Walk and Cyan Blackwell, from the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), will be held on Tuesday, February 8, from 4 to 5 p.m. Join the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) to learn more about their work with EJI to educate Alexandria citizens about Alexandria’s two lynchings that occurred in 1897 and 1899.
The lecture “Race Riots,” by historian Susan Strasser, will be held on Saturday, February 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Learn more about the term “race riot” and the history of racially charged violence that has framed American discussions of race throughout the nation’s history.
Recognition for black history was first advocated by African American author, journalist and historian Carter G. Woodson, who pioneered “Negro History Week” in 1926. The recognition was set for the second week in February. This timeframe was selected to honor the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1968, the Black United Students at Kent State University advocated for Negro History Week to be extended into a monthlong commemoration, celebrating the first Black History Month on Kent State University’s campus in 1970. Black History Month, which has been formally recognized in the United States since 1976, is also celebrated in Canada and the United Kingdom.
The City of Alexandria’s “ All Alexandria” commitment is centered on race and how it intersects with other areas of inequity. This includes all races, religions, countries of origin, sexual orientations, ages, genders and abilities. Its goal is to reduce and eliminate disparities and inequities experienced by all people, especially those in communities of color and other groups who have been historically and systemically marginalized.
Visit alexandriava.gov/BlackHistory for the full schedule of events and more information about Black History month.