Festivals & Expos

5 ways to celebrate Black History Month in Boston

Explore a museum, walk the Black Heritage Trail, and more.

The African Meeting House, owned and operated by the Museum of Afro-American History, is one stop on the Black Heritage Trail. Handout photo

February is Black History Month, and Boston has many ways of celebrating Black heritage across the city. Ahead, discover ways to celebrate Black history in February and throughout the year. 

Visit the Museum of African American History

On Joy Street in Beacon Hill sits New England’s largest museum focused on preserving and interpreting the contributions and history of African American people. One of its current exhibits, “Jazz Scene in Boston: Telling the Local Story,” highlights the history of Boston’s still-thriving jazz scene. The museum includes the former Abiel Smith School, the oldest public school in the country built for the education of Black children, and the African Meeting House, the oldest Black church building in the country. Tickets must be reserved in advance online.

Take a walking history tour

On Saturdays and Sundays throughout February, African American Patriots Freedom Trail tours will depart the Boston Common Visitor Center at 12:45 p.m. A costumed guide will lead visitors on a tour past places like the Granary Burying Ground and the Boston Massacre site, ending at Faneuil Hall, and telling stories about famous early African Americans like Phillis Wheatley and Crispus Attucks.

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For another walking experience, explore the Black Heritage Trail, consisting of 14 sites on Beacon Hill that served as the heart of the abolitionist movement in Boston. The trail is also the largest collection of sites in the country relating to the life of a free African American community pre-Civil War. Ranger-guided tours of the trail are offered Wednesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. during the summer season, but during the winter, maps are available for self-guided tours at the Museum of African American History.

See works by Black artists at the MFA

The Museum of Fine Arts presents several exhibits that focus on the work of Black artists this February. “Frank Bowling’s Americas” shows works that the British Guiana–born abstract impressionist painter made in New York in the 1960s and ‘70s, while “Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas” explores how African artistic traditions have continued to live on through generations of Americans, through painting, sculpture, textiles, and dance. 

Take part in the Boston Black Restaurant Challenge

The initiative, which began in 2018, challenges all Boston residents to visit at least four Black-owned restaurants in Boston during the month of February in honor of Black History Month. For some inspiration, check out this list of Black-owned restaurants in the Boston area. Most spots are open for both takeout and dine-in.

Attend a seminar

Discover lectures that focus on African American history, like “Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad” at the Boston Public Library on February 2, or photographer Wendel A. White’s talk about his work examining Black life in the context of community, landscape, and architecture at the Coolidge Corner Theater.

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