11 Ways to Commemorate Black History Month Around Arlington

Tour museums and historic sites, explore a century of cinema, and take a wine class with Black vintners.
Contraband And Freedmens Cemetery black history month

The Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial in Alexandria is one of several sites to visit this February, and year-round, as the region honors Black History Month. (Photo by Adedayo “Dayo” Kosoko for Visit Alexandria)

This February (as well as all year long), there are countless ways to celebrate Black history and culture around Arlington, from touring a museum dedicated to the county’s Black heritage to examining the narratives in a century of film. Here are several local events worth considering and places to visit during Black History Month:

Visit the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington

In 2018, this museum was established to gather and exhibit artifacts relating to the histories of Black people in Arlington and Northern Virginia. When you visit during Black History Month, snap a photo of yourself and bring it, along with your library card, to the Columbia Pike Library for a gift in return for your support. // Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24, 3-6 p.m. Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, 2611 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Free.

Explore “Freedom’s Fight” in Alexandria

Take a 90-minute virtual journey with Manumission Tour Company through Old Town Alexandria, and examine the city’s history as one of the nation’s primary hubs in the domestic slave trade. // Feb. 3, 5 p.m. Virtual event. Free.

Catch a Sidney Poitier Film

Every Thursday in February, watch a legendary film starring Oscar-winner and diplomat Sidney Poitier, who passed away last month. Selections include Lilies of the Field and In the Heat of the Night. // Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24, 6 p.m. Shirlington Public Library, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Read facility policies regarding Covid here. Free.

Attend a Panel Discussion on Traveling While Black

Join panelists who appear in the virtual reality film Traveling While Black, including Ben’s Chili Bowl co-founder Virginia Ali, for a discussion of the documentary’s major themes. Ben’s Chili Bowl will provide boxed meals prior to the event. // Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m. McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean. Registration required. Read facility policies regarding Covid here. Free.

African American Heritage Park

Tour local museums and parks—such as the Alexandria African American Heritage Park—and attend discussions on Black cinema, self-reinvention and Black-owned vineyards this month. (Photo by R Kennedy for Visit Alexandria)

Take the Kids on a “Journey” Through Folktales

Children age 4 to 12 are invited to this program that explores the ancestries of Black Americans through story. // Feb. 5, 11 a.m. Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington. Free.

Consider Self-Reinvention With Terry McMillan

Author Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) hosts a virtual talk that draws on themes from her most recent book, It’s Not All Downhill From Here. // Feb. 6, 2:30 p.m. Virtual event. Free.

Delve Into the History of the Term “Race Riot”

Historian Susan Strasser examines the use of the phrase “race riots” and its application to a wide array of uprisings in U.S. history. // Feb. 12, 11 a.m. Virtual event. Free.

Discuss How Long ’Til Black Future Month?

Meet with sci-fi-centric Strange Lands Book Club to dialogue about a collection of short stories from writer N. K. Jemisin, including one in which an imagined society observes “our world, trying to learn from our mistakes.”  // Feb. 16, 7 p.m. Virtual event. Free.

Hear the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices

This ensemble, one of several performance groups within the Washington Revels, presents selections that showcase the history of Black Americans through songs, stories and dance. // Feb. 19, 11 a.m. Virtual event. Free.

Examine a Century of Black Cinema

In Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World, journalist and historian Wil Haygood dissects films such as The Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind and Black Panther, presenting a comprehensive history of both the movie-making and the narratives the films present. // Feb. 24, 7 p.m. Virtual event. Free.

Take a Wine Class Spotlighting Black Vintners

Sip on several varietals from Black-owned wineries while the vintners share stories of their craft. // Feb. 24, 7 p.m. Sonoma Cellar, 207 King St., Alexandria. $50.

Related Stories:

Retrace History Along the Harriet Tubman Byway

→ She Believed Black History Could Be Taught Better

Categories: Arts & Entertainment