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16 conversation-starting and joyful ways to celebrate Black History Month in Greater Boston

Duke Ellington at Franklin Park on July 24, 1969. Opera on Tap Boston will be performing Ellington's work among other Black composers Feb. 25 at The Burren.Jeff Albertson

February has been designated Black History Month in the United States since 1976. The recognition creates an opportunity to appreciate and learn about Black history and culture, especially through the work of past and contemporary Black artists. The celebration of Black life extends past the holiday, but the Boston area is rich with programs to kick off the month. Here are 16 conversation-creating ways to celebrate local and national Black history.

BOOK TALK WITH MATTHEW F. DELMONT Matthew F. Delmont discusses his book “Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad” with Christian Walkes, the Museum of African American History’s associate director of education and interpretation. The book explores the lives of Black World War II veterans who contributed to the American war effort but experienced racism at home. This event is a partnership between the Museum of African American History, Boston Public Library, New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the GBH Forum Network. Feb. 2, 4 p.m., free, virtual.


A doll that will be on display at the "Black Dolls Matter: Resistance and Representation in African American History" exhibit in Worcester Feb. 1-12.Debra Britt

BLACK DOLLS EXHIBIT IN WORCESTER This collaboration between the Worcester Black History Project and the National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture brings “Black Dolls Matter: Resistance and Representation in African American History” to the Jean McDonough Arts Center Feb. 1-12, with an opening reception Feb. 4. The exhibit charts Black history through 26 dolls, including dolls that represent figures like Malcolm X and Ida B. Wells. Feb. 4, 4 p.m., free. 20 Franklin St., Worcester.

WEEKEND AT MUSEUM OF SCIENCE The Museum of Science will host an array of educational and artistic events to kick off Black History Month. The two-day celebration features speakers like Alexis Smith-Attuquayefio from the National Society of Black Engineers and meteorologist David Williams, who will talk about their career paths in STEM fields, along with dance and music performances and a poetry reading by Ashley Rose. . Feb. 4-5, 10 a.m., general admission prices. 1 Science Park, Boston.


“LEADERSHIP REDEFINED” EXHIBITION The Leica Gallery Boston will hold an opening reception for its photography exhibition “Leadership Redefined,” which showcases portraits of Black and brown leaders in Boston taken by Boston-based photographer Vanessa Leroy. The exhibition, on display through Black History Month and Women’s History Month, will feature 14 portraits, including those of former acting mayor of Boston Kim Janey and executive director of Embrace Boston Imari K. Paris Jeffries. Feb. 4, 6 p.m., free. 74 Arlington St., Boston.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH FILM FESTIVAL Hosted by The Boston Globe for a third year, this film festival will highlight historical and contemporary stories of Black Americans. The five-film, month-long festival will include “Embrace: The Kings,” a documentary about Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” “Set It Off,” “A Beautiful Resistance, Season 3,” and “James Hemings: Ghost in America’s Kitchen.” The five films will each be accompanied by one-time discussions with filmmakers, actors, and Globe staff members and all are free and virtual, except “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” which will be screened at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. “Embrace: The Kings”: Feb 1-5, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks”: Feb. 10, “Set It Off”: Feb. 8-12, “A Beautiful Resistance, Season 3″: Feb. 15-19, “James Hemings: Ghost in America’s Kitchen”: Feb. 22-26.


A statue of Phillis Wheatley on Commonwealth Ave. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/Boston Globe

REFLECTIONS ON AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY Learn about African American history through these two events by the North Andover Historical Society. A lecture by Cheryl Townsend Gilkes on Feb. 5 focuses on poet Phillis Wheatley and publisher Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, and a talk Feb. 15 with Kerri K. Greenidge for her book, “The Grimkes: A Legacy of Slavery in an American Family,” delves into the history of the Black relatives of the Grimke sisters. Lecture: Feb. 5, 3:30 p.m., Book Talk: Feb. 15, 7 p.m., free. 800 Massachusetts Ave., North Andover.

AFRICAN AND BLACK ART CLASSES AT THE MFA BOSTON The Museum of Fine Arts invites kids and teens into conversations on African and Black art in these two sessions of its program “Beyond the Spectrum”, which was created for young adults on the autism spectrum. Both sessions involve studying artwork and collaging. Beyond the Spectrum Kids: Feb. 4, 10:30 a.m., $9 members, $11 nonmembers. Beyond the Spectrum Teens: Feb. 18, 10:30 a.m., $9 members, $11 nonmembers. 465 Huntington Ave, Boston.

CONCERTS AT BERKLEE Berklee College of Music presents music created by and performed by Black musicians through two concerts in February. “The Sound of Soul: The Souls of Black Folk” features African American jazz traditions, and “Gumbo Stories: A Black History Celebration Concert” focuses on the New Orleans’ music scene and its varied expressions, such as the second line and bounce. “The Sound of Soul”: Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., free. 921 Boylston St., Boston., “Gumbo Stories”: Feb. 23, 8 p.m., $15-25. 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston.


BLACK ART CELEBRATION IN NEWTON Enjoy the New Art Center’s art activities, refreshments, and an exhibition reveal. Visitors will be able to view the reveal of artwork created by New Art Center students under the guidance of the organization’s artist-in-residence, Jamaal Eversley, which will be on display until Feb. 26. Feb. 12, noon, free. 245 Walnut St., Newton.

WENTWORTH FASHION SHOW Wentworth Institute of Technology’s chapter of National Society of Black Engineers spotlights fashion by local Black designers like Urban Pigeons, Cozy Archives, and Omo Studios. The theme for this year’s show is “Matière Noire,” which translates to “Black Matter” in French and is meant to capture the essence of Black culture. Feb. 18, 7 p.m., $10. 550 Huntington Ave., Boston.

Valerie Tutson will be sharing stories about African life at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Feb. 23.Courtesy of Young Audiences Arts for Learning Massachusetts

STORIES OF AFRICAN LIFE AND CULTURE Listen to the storyteller Valerie Tutson as she recounts tales of African culture at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The stories, tailored for children, will span African countries and the African diaspora. Feb. 23, 10:30 a.m., free. Columbia Point, Boston.

A BEAUTIFUL RESISTANCE: LIVE! Join Boston Globe Senior Assistant Managing Editor for Culture, Talent, and Development Jeneé Osterheldt at the Museum of Science for an evening learning about her series, “A Beautiful Resistance.” The multimedia series shares stories of local Black communities and people of color through a framework of love and positivity. Feb. 24, 8 p.m., free. 1 Science Park, Boston.


OPERA AT THE BURREN Opera on Tap Boston, an organization committed to bringing opera to non-traditional spaces, will perform music by Black artists. The event at The Burren, an Irish pub in Somerville, will be an informal and lively celebration of composers like Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, and Duke Ellington. Feb. 25, noon, free, 247 Elm St., Somerville.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH ORATORY AND ART COMPETITION High school students in Norfolk and Plymouth counties can deliver a speech or present an artwork that is social-justice related for this community competition. The competition, created by the Norfolk-Plymouth County Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., will give monetary prizes to the top three entries. Feb. 25, 2 p.m., free. 128 Pleasant St., Randolph.

10TH ANNIVERSARY AFRO CARIBBEAN BLACK HISTORY GALA & AWARDS The Authentic Caribbean Foundation recognizes members of the Caribbean American community in Massachusetts with an evening featuring a silent auction, live band performance, and giveaways, in addition to the awards ceremony. Feb. 25, 6 p.m., $50. 55 Hallet St., Boston.

ROLLER SKATING IN WHITMAN The African American Association of Brockton hosts a night of roller skating, food, and raffles. Come dressed in your best ‘90s outfit and skate to the decade’s best hits for this retro-themed event at Carousel Family Fun Center. The event is open to all ages. Feb. 25, 7 p.m. $10 admission, $5 skate rentals. 1055 Auburn St., Whitman. Buy tickets at

Abigail Lee can be reached at