African American history is New York State history. This year a special exhibition, “The Moral Arc Toward Freedom: Lincoln, King, and the Emancipation Proclamation,” is the centerpiece of the New York State Museum’s observance of Black History Month.
This exhibition will be on view from February 13 to March 3 and was created in partnership with the State Library and State Archives. Special in-person programming will also be offered at the Museum. Program details and a variety of educational resources can be found here.
Other programs for Black History Month include:
- A comprehensive list of in-person and virtual Black History Month programs happening across the state is available on the Museum’s website.
- The Museum, in partnership with the State Library and State Archives, will feature the centerpiece of this year’s Black History Month observance with a special exhibition, The Moral Arc Toward Freedom: Lincoln, King, and the Emancipation Proclamation. This exhibition opens Tuesday, February 13, goes through Sunday, March 3, and focuses on the historical connections between President Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Emancipation Proclamation. It includes two historic documents: President Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and select pages from a speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered in New York City in September 1962 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This draft of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is the only surviving version of the document in Lincoln’s handwriting.
- To mark the opening of The Moral Arc Toward Freedom: Lincoln, King, and the Emancipation Proclamation Exhibition, a special program, A Conversation with New York State Poet Patricia Spears Jones, Historian Dr. Jennifer Burns, and New York State Museum Curator Dr. Jennifer Lemak, will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2024, in the Huxley Theater.
- The spirit and music of the Jazz Era will be celebrated with Jazz in the Galleries featuring live performances from Project H Jazz Quartet and the musical duo Lucia and Levi from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 22, in the Museum’s Metropolis Hall. This program is sponsored by The Albany Musicians Association and can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
- For more information on Black History-related programming provided by the New York State Museum on how artifacts, either archaeological or historical, help document the history of Black New Yorkers from the colonial period to the modern age, visit the Museum’s website.
New York State Library:
- During February, on the 7th floor of the New York State Library, a special exhibit, Understanding Lincoln through Primary Source Documents, will feature cases with selected books and primary source documents from the Library’s collections on President Abraham Lincoln and the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Topics of the exhibit will include Lincoln’s life, the writing of the proclamation, how the State Library came to have the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and Lincoln’s death.
- A webinar entitled “Lincoln, the Founding, and an America Worth Saving,” with Dr. Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University, will be held from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2024. To learn more about the program and how to register, visit the New York State Library website.
- A webinar entitled “A Dreamer with A Tiny Spark”: E. J. Josey Transforms the Modern Library Profession, with Dr. Renate, Chancellor of Syracuse University, will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, 2024. To learn more about the program and how to register, visit the New York State Library website.
New York State Archives Partnership Trust/New York State Archives:
- ConsidertheSourceNY.org Teaching with Historical Records is available for use during Black History Month and beyond. The continuously expanding collection of document-based activities is developed by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust and teachers around the state. This resource is available to New York State educators with ready-to-use archival resources and learning activities aligned with the New York State Learning Standards. It contains original New York State Archives primary sources and learning activities along with many educational materials.
- During February, on the 11th floor lobby of the Cultural Education Center, a special exhibit, Before Brown: Desegregating New York’s Public Schools, will highlight the early mid-20th century school segregation battles in Hempstead and Hillburn that were taken on by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a civil rights firm founded by Thurgood Marshall. Education resources are available on ConsidertheSourceNY.org.
New York State Public Broadcasting:
- Learn more about Black culture and history in New York State and beyond with PBS Learning Media. A variety of multimedia support materials are available for the classroom suited for grades PK–12. To learn more about these resources, visit the PBS website.
Offices of P12 and Cultural Education:
- Educators are invited to utilize the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the 1962 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil War Centennial speech within classroom studies. Use these remarkable primary sources to engage students and uplift their voice through project-based learning. Then, share student work with us via social media using the hashtags #BlackHistoryNY and #MyHistoryMyFuture. A full suite of classroom materials is available on the New York State Library website.
- #BlackHistoryNY: Throughout the month, the State Education Department will feature information on Black History on the Department’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts.
- #MyHistoryMyFuture: The State Education Department and Education Trust—New York are highlighting students’ work and reflections on the impacts of history and its relevance to their generation. Through the #MyHistoryMyFuture social media campaign, the Department intends to amplify the voices of young people. We encourage students to not only reflect on the past but to be proud of where they come from and take action to make their schools, communities, and the world a better place for future generations.
- #StudentsExhibitingMLK and #NYSMLK: Together with the New York State Office of General Services, the New York State Education Department is highlighting artwork by students from across New York that honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s messages of equality, love, and peace. This campaign may be viewed on the Department’s social media accounts. View the NYS Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art & Essay Exhibit online or in person on the Empire State Plaza North Concourse in Albany.
New York Almanack regularly publishes stories about Black History in New York State – you can find them all here.