Black History Month begins Wednesday but several Hampton Roads venues have already started, with exhibitions, lectures and concerts. Some events are even year-round. And why not? Black history is everyone’s history.
In the U.S. and Canada, February is the month designated to commemorate the contributions of African Americans, and their overcoming of adversities. Other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, celebrate the history of their Caribbean and African heritage in October.
This calendar includes some of the many concerts, museum exhibitions and lectures planned around Hampton Roads. The list includes the standard ticket prices for adults, but almost all venues offer discounts for military, children, students and older adults. Events and dates are also subject to change.
Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 26. 10 to noon and 2 to 3 p.m. STEAM Studio Black Scientists & Artists Series. Discover the contributions of Black scientists and artists. $11. Children’s Museum of Virginia. 221 High St., Portsmouth. 757-393-5258. childrensmuseumvirginia.com.
Thursdays through March. 11:30 a.m. “A Quilter’s Story.” Examine a quilt and its maker featured in an exhibition at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and participate in a quilting project. $14.99; $5 for supplies. 301 S. Nassau St., Williamsburg. 855-776-1765. tinyurl.com/cwquilter.
Through March. “Man of Honor: The Navy’s Most Famous Diver.” A three-month exhibit looks at the career of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African American master diver and first amputee diver in the U.S. Navy. Free. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. 2 High St., Portsmouth. 757-393-8591. tinyurl.com/navalmuse.
Through March. “Portraits of Service.” A display showcases some of the local African Americans who joined the armed forces during the mid-20th century. Free. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, 2 High St., Portsmouth. 757-393-8591. tinyurl.com/navalmuse.
Fridays and Saturdays into October. Noon to 4 p.m. “Rooting for the Home Team: Portsmouth’s Black Baseball Players, Promoters, and Parks.” Free. Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum. 904 Elm Ave. portsvaafricanamericanheritage.com.
Through December 2025. “ ‘I made this…’: The Work of Black American Artists and Artisans.” $14.99. DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. 301 S. Nassau St., Williamsburg. 855-776-1765. colonialwilliamsburg.org.
Feb. 1. Hampton Black History Sites Pass. Visit four or more of Hampton’s Black History sites during Black History Month and win a prize. Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center, 30 Ingalls Road, Hampton. Some sites require tickets. 757-690-8181. visithampton.com.
Feb. 1. 6:30 p.m. Story of African Arrival, Set to Music. Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra soloists Xavier Foley and Eunice Kim with Music Director Michael Butterman. Free, but limited to 60 people and advance registration is required. Jamestown Settlement, 2110 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg. 757-253-4838. jyfmuseums.org.
Feb. 2. 7 p.m. “Diving with a Purpose: Connecting Ancestral Memory through the History and Archaeology of Slave Shipwrecks.” Diving With a Purpose is a nonprofit that conserves and preserves submerged Transatlantic slave ships. Kamau Sadiki, DWP lead instructor and board member, was among the first to identify the wreck of Clotilda, the last known slave ship to the United States and central to Netflix’s documentary “Descendant.” In-person and live-streamed. Free for Mariners’ museum members; $10. Advance registration is required. The Mariners’ Museum and Park, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News. 757-596-2222. MarinersMuseum.org/DivingWithAPurpose.
Feb. 4. 1 to 5 p.m. The Essence of Heart and Soul Festival. Free. Slover Library, 235 E. Plume St., Norfolk. 757-431-7491. sloverlibrary.com.
Feb. 4. 1:30 to 3 p.m. “Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, Conductor, Nurse, Soldier, & Spy.” Cassandra Newby-Alexander will explore the life of Tubman’s journeys, which took her from Hampton to St. Catharines, Canada. Free. Portsmouth Welcome Center, 206 High St. 757-393-5111. portsvaevents.com.
Feb. 4. 3 p.m. “Meet John Rollison and His Descendant,” part of the Talking History Lecture series. Actor James Cameron will portray John Rollison, an 18th-century York County resident and property-owning free man of color sharing his experiences during the American Revolution. Cameron will break character to introduce a 21st-century descendant of Rollison, Helen Casey-Rutland. They will explore what it’s like to come face-to-face with an ancestor through living-history character portrayal. Free, but advance registration is recommended. American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, 200 Water St., Route 1020, Yorktown. 757-253-4838. jyfmuseums.org.
Feb. 5. 4:30 to 6 p.m. West African drum lesson with Kam Kelly. Learn the history behind the drum as well as basics of rhythms and techniques. $15. Y.H. Thomas Community Center, 1300 Thomas St. hampton.gov.
Feb. 4 and 5. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4. “Lift Every Voice: Music of Black Women Composers” by the Virginia Chorale. Susan S. Goode Fine & Performing Arts Center, Virginia Wesleyan University, 5817 Wesleyan Drive. 4 p.m. Feb. 5. Royster Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6901 Newport Ave., Norfolk. $28. 757-627-8375. vachorale.org.
Feb. 10 and 11. Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 11, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Ballet Virginia presents “Heart + Soul.” Themed classical and contemporary works with a focus on diversity. $30. Zeiders American Dream Theater. 4509 Commerce St., Virginia Beach. 757-499-0317. thez.org.
Feb. 10. Noon. Civil War Lecture: “U.S. Slave Revolts at Sea.” John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center. The most successful slave revolt in U.S. history occurred on Nov. 7, 1841, when enslaved persons took over the ship Creole that sailed from Hampton Roads to New Orleans. Free for Mariners’ museum members; $1. Free to watch online. Advance registration is required. The Mariners’ Museum and Park, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News. 757-596-2222. marinersmuseum.org.
Feb. 11. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Unsung Heroes of American Dance: The Alvin Ailey Experience.” Explore the origins of modern dance through the life and work of Alvin Ailey. Presented by Atumpan Edutainment. $11. Children’s Museum of Virginia, 221 High St., Portsmouth. 757-393-5258. childrensmuseumvirginia.com, portsvaevents.com.
Feb. 11. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Super Science: Black History Month Edition.” Learn about a famous scientist and participate in an experiment based on that scientist’s work. Free. Portsmouth Main Library, 601 Court St. 757-393-8501. portsvaevents.com.
Feb. 11. 2 to 4:30 p.m. Keynote event: Tidewater African Cultural Alliance’s Afro Mania: Ethiopia. An address with novelist and founder of Etan Comics, Beserat Debebe. Free. Tidewater Community College Joint-Use Library, Virginia Beach Campus. 1700 College Crescent. 757-822-7100. tcc.edu.
Feb. 11. 8 p.m. Dee Dee Bridgewater. The Grammy- and Tony-winning performer is known for fusing musical genres and for her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. Tickets start at $35. The American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton. 757-722-2787.hamptonarts.org.
Feb. 12. 7 p.m. Cirque Zuma Zuma. A performance of music and acrobatics that’s often described as “African-style Cirque du Soliel.” Tickets start at $21. Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, 201 Market St., Virginia Beach. 757-385-2787. sandlercenter.org.
Feb. 15. 6 to 8 p.m. Front Porch Music Series with singer Akeylah Simone. Free for members of the Hampton History Museum; $5 for others. 120 Old Hampton Lane, Hampton. 757-727-1102. tinyurl.com/hamptonmuse.
Feb. 18. 11 a.m. Africa’s Kingdoms and Maritime Cultures: Ancient Mali. Presenter: Wisteria Perry, the Mariners’ associate curator for community engagement. Free for Mariners’ museum Members; $1. The Mariners’ Museum and Park, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News. 757-596-2222. marinersmuseum.org.
Feb. 18. 11 a.m. “Essential African Threads” with storyteller Dylan Pritchett. Free. Hampton History Museum, 120 Old Hampton Lane. 757-727-1102. tinyurl.com/hamptonmuse.
Feb.18. 1:30 p.m. “Uncovering and Recentering the Maritime Underground Railroad.” Presentation and book signing, Timothy Walker, professor of history, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Free. Portsmouth Welcome Center, 206 High St., Portsmouth. 757-393-5111. portsvacation.com.
Check out the latest entertainment and arts news, then plan your weekend with a look ahead at what’s happening around Hampton Roads.
Feb. 18. Noon. The New Chesapeake Men for Progress annual Black History Month program. Audrey Perry Williams, president of the Hampton Roads branch of the Association for the Study of African Life and History, is a featured speaker. Free; donations accepted. Buffalow Family and Friends multipurpose center, 2403 Bainbridge Blvd., Suite B, Chesapeake. ncmfp.org.
Feb. 18 through April 16. “Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad.” The exhibition features the less-understood maritime side of the Underground Railroad, including the impact of African Americans’ paid and unpaid waterfront labor. $3. Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, 400 High St. 757-393-8543. portsvaevents.com.
Feb. 21. Noon to 1:30 p.m. Panel Discussion on Race Relations: “Micro-Misconceptions of the Generational Norms in Today’s Society.” Discussion will focus on topics including bridging the gap and navigating misconceptions and cultural biases in education and in the workplace. The group will discuss threatening speech. The panel includes professors from Norfolk State University. Tidewater Community College Portsmouth Campus, 120 Campus Drive. 757-822-2124. tinyurl.com/tccdiscussion.
Feb. 24. Noon. Hampton Roads History Lecture: Four Freedom Fighters from Southampton County. John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center discusses how four men from Southampton County — Nat Turner, Dred Scott, Anthony Gardiner, John Brown — took different paths to freedom. In-person and live-streamed. Free for Mariners’ museum members; $1. Free to watch online. Advance registration is required. The Mariners’ Museum and Park, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News. 757-596-2222. marinersmuseum.org.
Feb. 25. Noon to 5 p.m. “After Angelo” Black Artist Showcase. The event honors the legacy of one of the first African women mentioned by name in the historical record at Jamestown. Art, music, storytelling and conversation. Included with museum admission. $18. Jamestown Settlement. 2110 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg. 757-253-4838. jyfmuseums.org.
Feb. 25. 1:30 p.m. “The Archaeology of a Secret World in the Great Dismal Swamp.” Daniel Sayers, an associate professor at American University, shares his archaeological work spanning 2003-17 in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, looking for evidence of post-1607 resistance communities. Free. Portsmouth Welcome Center, 206 High St., Portsmouth. 757-393-5111. portsvacation.com.
Feb. 25. 7:30 p.m. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The orchestra organizes jazz education programs and competitions among collegiate musical groups. The Virginia Arts Festival and orchestra have collaborated on a residency with bands from historically Black colleges and universities. Top student ensembles will perform during the first half of the program. Tickets start at $21. Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Blvd., Norfolk. 757-282-2822. vafest.org.
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