New Jersey Celebrates Black History Month 2023 with Statewide Cultural and Educational Programming
Month-long Events Throughout February Honor Contributions of Garden State
Black Entrepreneurs, Artists and Activists
TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 2, 2023 /VisitNJ.org/ — The New Jersey Department of Travel and Tourism (NJTT) today announced numerous special exhibits, performances and historical presentations taking place in the Garden State for residents and friends to enjoy the sights, sounds and spirit of New Jersey’s Black Heritage Destinations, celebrated during Black History Month.
“New Jersey’s vibrancy and diversity are its core strengths, and we are committed to sharing the outstanding generational contributions of our state’s Black leaders and community,” said NJTT Executive Director Jeff Vasser. “During Black History Month, we embrace the ongoing work and talent showcased presently; we honor and reflect upon the legacies that came before us; we eagerly look forward to the incredible partnerships yet to come.”
Discover Events and Exhibits in Northern New Jersey
Jersey City, Hudson County: The Jersey City Municipal Council will host a Black History Month Celebration on Feb.1, complete with a flag raising ceremony, along with keynote speaker, Lawrence Hamm, which will be held at the City Hall Council Chambers. The 28th Annual Oratory Contest for students in grades 3 – 8 will also be held by the Jersey City Municipal Council from Feb. 14 – Feb. 16.
Elizabeth, Union County: Union County Urban League will be hosting an array of events for Black History Month, including the 2nd Annual Black Business Owners Expo on Feb. 5, a Black History Month College Fair on Feb. 25, and a “Voices of our Ancestors” program complete with African dance, drumming, the Elizabeth Community Choir and more on Feb. 25.
South Orange, Essex County: South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) will be displaying its newest exhibit, “SLADE: A Family Affair”, at The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery from Jan. 26 – March 5. The first father-daughter exhibit for the gallery features photographs by Kelvin Slade, and oil paintings by Corrine Slade, and it portrays the influence that Jazz music had on them both.
Newark, Essex County: Newark Public Library’s opening event features a panel, “Capturing the Moment: The Jazz Photos of Bill May”, taking place on Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. in the James Brown African American Room. Panelists include photographer Bill May, Executive Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies Wayne Winborne, and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Dorthaan Kirk.
Montclair, Essex County: Studio Montclair, Inc. will present, “Rhythm & Blues,” an exhibit examining the visual artist’s perceptions of the rhythm and blues musical traditions. From Feb. 16 – March 5, Vanguard Theater Company will showcase, “Passing Strange”, the 2008 autobiographical rock musical about a young African American’s artistic journey of self-discovery.
Englewood, Bergen County: The Bergen County NAACP will host its third Black History Month Health Fair on Feb. 11, offering free health screenings and health information to the public. The group will also be hosting a virtual event on Feb. 5 highlighting, “The History of Voting and Black Awareness,” with Jeff Carter, president of the Bergen County Chapter of the NAACP.
Explore Southern New Jersey’s Museum Offerings
Newtonville, Atlantic County: The “The Recent Paintings of Quinton Greene” exhibition will be available at the African American Heritage Museum from Jan. 3 – Feb. 28 in Atlantic City. The selection of works has been brought to display in honor of Black History Month, as Greene reflects on many aspects of African American culture in his works.
Cape May, Cape May County: Discover the pivotal role Cape May played in the Underground Railroad at the Harriet Tubman Museum, a tribute to the rich history of abolitionist activism on the block. Visitors can take a two-hour Underground Railroad Trolley Tour with Cape May MAC to travel through the town and unravel the history of each unique street.
Enjoy Performances and Presentations in Central New Jersey
West Windsor Township, Mercer County: Kicking off Black History Month with a spirited ceremony on Feb. 1, Mercer Community College will host an array of events throughout the month, including a market featuring BIPOC entrepreneurs on Feb. 4 and a “Generational Wealth Summit” on Feb. 11. The “Paintings and Sculptures by Leroy Johnson” exhibition will be open for viewing through March 24, along with multiple “Film and Chat” sessions, Black History Month trivia, and so much more.
Trenton, Mercer County: A celebration will take place at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, as the New Jersey Youth Symphony comes together to perform works by Omar Thomas, Florence Price and Antonin Dvorak. The group will present, “Of Our New Day Begun: Celebrating Black History Month,” on Feb. 4, featuring special guests from The Newark School of the Arts and The Discovery Orchestra’s George Marriner Maull in, “Discovering Juba Dance.”
Montgomery Township, Somerset County: The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum will be hosting a “Love Letters” exhibit this February, featuring newly discovered love letters from Garland F. Fields to Emeline Gillette; it is a love story from the Sourland Mountains. The museum will also offer a “Meet Harriet Tubman” experience with a live virtual performance by Dr. Daisy Century on Feb. 7, as well as Oxtail Fest, a celebration of African American, Caribbean, and African culinary traditions, held on Feb. 26.
Branchburg Township, Somerset County: Raritan Valley Community College will kickstart its, “School-Time Series,” of productions with a performance of the play, “Finding North,” on Feb. 3. The play highlights the life of John P. Parker, a former enslaved man who played an active role in helping others in southern Ohio’s Underground Railroad.
Explore New Jersey’s Black Heritage on This Self-Guided Tour
The Garden State is steeped in rich Black history with historic sites like the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May to incredible black-owned businesses, award-winning theater companies, and even the first Black-owned golf and country club in the United States. New Jersey’s three-day Black Heritage Trip Itineraries serve as a self-guided tour, with over 20 stops across distinct state regions for travelers to explore the history and honor the Black heritage of the Garden State.
For more information on New Jersey’s upcoming events, please visit www.vistnj.org.
About New Jersey
New Jersey offers a wide variety of experiences to visitors all year long. Travelers and residents can enjoy outdoor adventures, renowned culinary offerings, educational opportunities, and a strong arts and cultural scene. With numerous state and national parks, beaches, skiing, tax free shopping, historic sites, museums and more, New Jersey blends together its rich history and exciting present. Home to the nation’s first beach resorts and the birthplace of major inventions, New Jersey offers a picturesque escape and dynamic opportunities for visitors from near and far. For more information, visit www.visitnj.org.