Black History Month

in New Bedford

In the days of anti-slavery agitation, New Bedford was a vital stop of the Underground Railroad. The most famous refugee to settle in New Bedford was Frederick Douglass, noted abolitionist orator and leader, who arrived in New Bedford in 1838. Another notable citizen,  blacksmith, abolitionist and inventor, Lewis Temple, opened an iron works shop, which primarily serviced whaling fleets, during the industry’s most lucrative time. In 1848, Temple invented the toggle-head harpoon, which revolutionized the whaling industry.

Join us in celebrating the rich histories of those who not only contributed civically to New Bedford’s community, but also fought against deep hindering social injustices, and subsequently fought for the future of equality in our Country.

More information is available at New Bedford Historical Society.




January 27

Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance

Chamber music theatre work for actor and trio (cello, piano & percussion) celebrating the lives of the great African-American poets, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay as seen through the eyes of the great muralist and painter Aaron Douglas. The musical score includes works by jazz giants Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus, as well as concert music by Jeffrey Mumford and George Walker. Co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, Black History 4 Seasons, College of Visual & Performing Arts, Department of English, and Black Studies Program.

February 3

15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Annual Breakfast; Donovan Livingston, guest speaker.

15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast hosted by the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion featuring keynote speaker Donovan Livingston: educator, poet, and author of the book Lift Off: From the Classroom to the Stars (to be published in April 2017).
Proceeds from the Breakfast will go toward funding student-centered diversity initiatives at UMass Dartmouth.
Tickets are available at the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Room 324, Foster Administration Building, or by calling 508-999-8008.
$25 for the public and UMass Dartmouth faculty & staff. Students free – reservations are required
SNOW DATE: February 10, 2017

February 9

Abolitionists and Freedom Seekers: New Bedford and the Underground Railroad

Illustrated talk on New Bedford’s role in the Underground Railroad. Presented by Lee Blake, President of the New Bedford Historical Society during AHA! Night, February 9, 6:30 PM New Bedford Free Public Library, 3rd Fl.

February 11

How to Talk About Slavery in 2017

Join us for an informative lecture from former Rhode Island State Representative Ray Rickman as he draws on his extensive knowledge of both Rhode Island history and African American history/culture to highlight the effect Slavery had, and continues to have in Rhode Island and the surrounding areas. This lecture is held in the 3rd floor Meeting Room at 3PM in the Downtown New Bedford Library.

February 12

17th Annual Frederick Douglass Read-a-thon

Join the members of the NB Historical Society and community members as we read the Narrative of Frederick Douglass, noted abolitionist and a freedom seeker, who found a welcoming community in New Bedford in 1838. First Unitarian Church, 71 Eighth Street, 2-6 PM. Sponsored by the New Bedford Historical Society.

February 14

Happy Birthday Frederick Douglass

Born a slave in Talbot County Maryland, in 1818, Frederick Bailey would escape his chains in 1838 and become Frederick Douglass, one of the most notable men of the nineteenth century and the ideal of an American self-made man.

February 16

28th National African American Read-In

University of MA Dartmouth Black History 4 Seasons Council celebrats the creative works of literature by African American authors. Black History 4 Seasons celebratory events aim to engage students and the broader community in deeper conversations and foster ongoing dialogue about the unique experiences of Black Americans.

February 25

Portrait Unveiling, Manuel E. Costa, Sr.

“Mannie” was born on March 9, 1918 in New Bedford, Massachusetts on the corner of Canon St and the Acushnet Ave which has since been changed to the Manuel E. Costa Sr. Memorial Way.
During his life in New Bedford, Manuel was a mentor, teacher, civil rights activist, writer, TV host, coach, politician, social worker, gymnast instructor, thespian/actor and the list goes on.
New Bedford Free Public Library, 3rd Floor 3:00 – 4:30 PM. Sponsored by the Family of Manuel E. Costa and the Trustees of the Library.

March 5

Esther’s Journey

New Bedford Ballet presents Esther’s Journey, an original 50-minute ballet which chronicles the sojourn of a young enslaved girl on the Underground Railroad.
Two performances, 1:30 and 3 p.m., will take place at NBB’s Community Theater at 2343 Purchase Street, New Bedford. For ticket prices and more information call 508-993-1387 or visit: