New Jersey Celebrates Black History Month With Underground Railroad Sites, Exhibits, Art and More
Milestone Anniversaries of 15th and 19th Amendments Make 2020 a Special Year. With numerous, easily accessible historical sites and special exhibits found at cultural institutions throughout the state during Black History Month this February and beyond, New Jersey invites visitors and residents to learn more about the achievements of African Americans and the impact they had in shaping the Garden State’s history. This year’s theme, “African Americans and The Vote,” offers an opportunity to reflect on two key anniversaries and their impact on the lives of black men and women: the 150th anniversary of the 15thAmendment (1870), giving black men the right to vote, and the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment (1920), granting women’s suffrage. Special events and exhibits throughout the state will examine this aspect of American history. “More than a million African Americans call New Jersey home, so Black History is our history,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “This February, join me in exploring the rich and meaningful contributions African Americans have made to our state and our nation. Beyond this Black History Month, I look forward to recognizing these stories throughout the year, and I am particularly excited to welcome Cape May’s new Harriet Tubman Museum in June.” Honoring a key figure in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, the Harriet Tubman Museum will display artifacts related to the pioneering freedom fighter along with African American art. The museum’s opening coincides with Juneteenth, which celebrates the 1865 executive decree that freed more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas. More information about the museum can be found here. Visitors and residents don’t have to wait until June to learn more about African American culture in New Jersey, however. The state will celebrate Black History Month though performances, events and cultural happenings, which can be found here. In addition, visitors are encouraged to explore New Jersey’s many notable African American landmarks and important sites, including: Afro-American Historical Society Museum and Shady Rest Country Club, America’s first black-owned and operated country club, opened in 1921 and featured a nine-hole course, tennis, croquet and horseback riding. Prominent figures in the African American community, such as Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Althea Gibson, often frequented the club. Follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for more events and news throughout the state.