Celebrate Black History Month: Things to See and Do
This February, check out the events, exhibits, and historic landmarks the city has to offer that honor the contributions and history of African Americans in Raleigh, most of which are free and a few are even available year round.
Black History Month Events and Exhibits
Feb. 9 Bringing History to Life at Borden
2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Free
Borden Building, 820 Clay Street, Raleigh, NC 27605
Award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons will lead you on an interactive journey through history with her trilogy; Ellen's Broom, Teacakes for Tosh, and Hope's Gift. There will be a hands-on broom making craft table, a book signing, and teacakes. For questions or directions, please contact Mordecai Historic Park’s Visitor Center; 919-996-4364 or email Lisa Raschke.
Feb. 17 Raleigh Trolley Celebrates Black History Month
1 p.m. to 3p.m., $10
Mordecai Historic Park, 1 Mimosa St., Raleigh, NC 27604
Celebrate Black History Month on this special trolley tour around Raleigh highlighting the downtown area's African American heritage. Tour route includes historic homes, schools, churches, and business areas important to Raleigh's African American heritage. The trolley departs from Mordecai Historic Park and lasts approximately one hour. Call 919-996-4364 for tickets and information.
Feb. 23 21st Annual North Central CAC Black History Month Program and Luncheon
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Free
Tarboro Road Community Center, 121 N. Tarboro Street, Raleigh, 27610
Everyone is invited to attend the Central Community Advisory Committee’s (CAC’s) 21st Annual Black History Month Program. During the program, the CAC will honor families who have lived in the College Park, Idlewild and Madonna Acres neighborhoods for 70 plus years. It will be followed by a luncheon at noon.
6:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., $45 to $60
Travel to Greensboro to visit several historically significant sites. Visit the Guilford County Courthouse National Military Park, the Guilford College Woods Underground Railroad, and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in the historic F.W. Woolworth building. Please pre-register on Rec Link using barcode: 241512. For more information call 919-996-4734.
Through June Tuskegee Airmen Aviation Academy
Every first Saturday, January-June, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Free
Roberts Park Community Center, 1300 E. Martin Street, Raleigh, NC 27610
Participants of the 2019 Youth Academy will learn about the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all black military aviators, the field of aviation, and view an aircraft first-hand. Register online via RecLink using the barcode “232579” or in person at Roberts Park Community Center. For more information call 919-831-6830.
Year round Let Us March On: Raleigh's Journey Towards Civil Rights
Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Free
City of Raleigh Museum, 220 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
This exhibit at the City of Raleigh museum recounts the forty-year period from the mid-1930s to the mid-1970s as the city struggled toward equal rights for all. The exhibit covers desegregation in schools and institutions of higher education as well as the efforts of individuals, both black and white, who worked for integration.
Year round Pope House Museum Hourly Tours
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Free
Pope House Museum, 511 South Wilmington Street, 27601
Visit the home of Dr. Manassa T. Pope, one of the most prominent African-Americans in downtown Raleigh’s history. Learn about his life; his medical practice; his family; his contributions to the African-American community in downtown Raleigh; and explore one of the oldest standing houses on Wilmington Street. Tours start at the top of the hour. For more information, request a special group tour or sign a class up for an education program call 919-996-3022.
Year round Visit Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens
Open from dawn until dusk daily, Free
1215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27610
First built in 1975, it is the first public park in the United States solely devoted to Dr. King and the civil rights movement. A 12-ton granite water monument honors the area's notable pioneers in the civil rights movement.
Make sure to check back throughout the month as more events will be added.
Historic African American Landmarks
The City owns parks, a cemetery and other landmarks with significance to the African American community. Below are a few who have made it on to the local, state and national registers of historic places.
John Chavis Memorial Park & Carousel
505 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Raleigh, NC 27601
Under the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), Chavis Park was created in 1937 to give black families access to similar recreational opportunities as white families. It attracted black families throughout North Carolina from the late 1930s to the late 1940s. The carousel was installed as one of the main attractions and is one of the small number of vintage carousels that remain in operation today. The park is named for John Chavis, a black Revolutionary War soldier, who went on to establish a school in Raleigh, where he taught white students by day and black students by night. He also became a Presbyterian minister in 1799. Carousel tickets are $1.50 for all riders one year of age and older. Read more about Chavis Park’s history.
Mt. Hope Cemetery
1120 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, 27603
Mt. Hope, which was established in 1872, is one of the first municipal cemeteries for African Americans in North Carolina. Most sizeable towns in the state opened suburban cemeteries for whites in the post-Civil War era, but very few established municipal cemeteries for freed slaves. Several prominent residents are buried there including Rev. G.A. Mial, former slave and educator Lucille M. Hunter, James E. Hamlin owner of Hamlin Drugstore and Dr. Manassa T. Pope, the first black mayoral candidate in Raleigh. Read more about Mt. Hope's history.
511 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh 27601
As the only African American house museum in the state of North Carolina, the Pope House offers a glimpse into the life of one of Raleigh’s most intriguing citizens, Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope, who was the only African-American man to run for mayor of a southern capital during the Jim Crow Era. The Pope House is free and open to public Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Read more about Pope House's history.
Latta House and University Site
1001 Parker Street, Raleigh 27607
Rev. Morgan London Latta, who was born a slave, founded Latta University in 1892. At its peak Latta was home to 26 buildings home and 1,400 students, including orphaned children of former slaves. The university operated for 30 years. The Latta residence was the only remaining structure on the site, but it was destroyed in a fire in 2007. The City is currently working on a master plan for a park at the location. Read more about Latta House's history.