Offbeat New York

Glenn Angel Echevarria, Break the Chain

Celebrate Black History Month: February, 2013

Explore New York City's Black History and discover the people behind the history.

It is also the site of many landmark events in black history, including the home of the nation's first school for the children of slaves, the passing of a law banning housing discrimination on the basis of race as well as the birthplace of both hip-hop and the NAACP.

Take A Tour

Transport yourself to the tumultuous '60s with Harlem Heritage Tours Harlem Civil Rights Walking Tour. Music aficionados will glean a lot from the Harlem Spirituals' Gospel and Jazz Tours, which focus on the prominence and influence of these genres on the neighborhood and beyond. The tours even include performances at clubs and churches. Foodies on the prowl for authentic soul food need look no further than A Taste of Harlem Food Tour, which guides visitors to delicious Harlem restaurants.

Learn more about the origins of hip-hop through Hush Hip Hop Tours, which wends its way through Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, all while spotlighting important hip-hop artists of the past and present.

Events and Exhibits

When in Harlem, don't miss out on one of the City's most popular ongoing events, Amateur Night at the Apollo, which takes place every Wednesday at 7:30pm. Or, take advantage of the special TAKE 6 – COMMUNITY SING! Friday, February 3 at 7 p.m. Enjoy the magic of ensemble singing with the harmony-rich gospel sound of 10-time Grammy Award-winning Take 6.

Learn More about Black History

Whether you're writing a research paper or simply want to learn more about black history, New York City has a wealth of resources. Visit the Black Heritage Reference Center at the Queens Library's Langston Hughes branch, in Corona, which includes the Schomburg Clipping File, an extensive microfiche collection. Or go to the library's central branch in Jamaica to access the Carter G. Woodson Collection, a 4,000 plus–volume assemblage on the African-American experience, with an emphasis on slavery, contemporary African-American life and collected and subject biographies (

For more information on Black History Month, visit


African Burial Ground in New York City

History records little of the way they lived, or the way they died. In fact, history hadn't even taken notice of where they were buried, but in May, 1991 during the pre-construction phase for a federal office building, they were discovered. The remains of freed and enslaved Africans who had lain under the soil of the city that grew up around them. Read more at African Burial Ground

Louis Armstrong House

Louis Armstrong House which opened in October, 2003 for visitors, freezes a moment in time. Although with enough money to live in a far wealthier area, this was the house the Armstrongs lived in for the rest of their lives. Lucille had known and loved the warmth of the neighborhood since her childhood. When she heard a house was for sale, she and Louis bought it, and while Armstrong toured and made music, Lucille, with the assistance of a decorator, redid that house from front to back and up and down. Read more about Louis Armstrong House

Studio Museum in Harlem

The Studio Museum in Harlem is the nexus for black artists locally, nationally, and internationally, and for work that has been inspired by black culture. The collection features nineteenth and twentieth-century African-American art, twentieth century Caribbean and African art, and traditional African art and artifacts. Public programs are also offered

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. For over 80 years the Schomburg Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. The Schomburg Center consists of three connected buildings: The Schomburg Building, the Langston Hughes Building and the Landmark Building.

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