Black History Month

in New Bedford

In the days of anti-slavery agitation, New Bedford was a vital stop of the Underground Railroad and became home to refugees that shaped the city's industry and social and cultural climate. The most famous refugee to settle in New Bedford was Frederick Douglass, an 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 the whaling industry. Temple invented the “Temple Toggle Iron” in 1848, a pivot-head harpoon that revolutionized whaling. Paul Cuffee was a merchant, philanthropist, and civil rights activist. Martha B. Briggs taught self-emancipated people how to read and write in an evening school set up for those who made it to New Bedford on the Underground Railroad. Sergeant William H. Carney was awarded the coveted Congressional Medal of Honor, becoming the first African American to receive this honor. New Bedford was and is home to African American figures of historical significance who have made instrumental contributions to the community.

Join us in celebrating the rich histories of those who fought against hindering social injustices and for the future of equality in our country.

More information is also available at New Bedford Historical Society.

 

Friday, February 2, 2024 

First Fridays: Crys Matthews

The New Bedford Whaling Museum galleries remain open from 4-8PM on the first Friday of the month for after-hours exploration in their 21+ First Fridays program. To kick off Black History Month join musician and social justice songwriter Crys Matthews and enjoy light refreshments and a cash bar. Theatre doors 5:30PM See more information here 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Artist Talk, Art and Inspiration: Iva Brito 

This event is part of the Black History Month programming at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Join Iva Brito, also known as Iva B, a mother, poet, artist, and award-winning author as she shares her art and inspiration. As a native of Cabo Verde, West Africa, Iva channels her nostalgic love of her birthplace through her work that looks at the intersectionality of culture, and social and political issues. 1PM, FREE See more information here

Saturday, February 3, 2024 

Ranger Talk: The Underground Railroad

Join a Whaling National Historical Park ranger as they discuss New Bedford's Role in the Underground Railroad. 2PM, FREE See more information here

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Annual Frederick Douglass Community Read-a-Thon

The New Bedford Historical Society hosts the annual read-a-thon of the first autobiography of Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. (1845). This event celebrates Black History Month and honors Douglass as a New Bedford resident, one of the great men of the 19th century, and an early advocate for the civil rights of African Americans and the human rights of women and Native peoples. The community is invited to join as readers at the event being held at the First Unitarian Church. 2PM, FREE See more information here

Thursday. February 9, 2024

Celebrate Black History with Art & Music at Alison Well's Fine Art Gallery

During February's AHA! Night head to Alison Well's Fine Art Gallery & Studio for music, art and history. Manny Escobar will be performing an acoustic guitar set from 4:30-5:30PM. View and shop original paintings, New Bedford/Caribbean themed prints and note cards, stained glass wall hangings, hand-carved wooden birds and more. Ends at 8PM, FREE. See more information here

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Artist Talk, Art and Inspiration: Eden Soares

This event is part of the Black History Month programming at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Join Eden Soares of trigrfx (pronounced tri,grafiks) as he shares his work through murals and other arts. As a local artist, he weaves a story that resonates with the local community and visitors alike. In the past years, he has captured the essence of New Bedford's history and culture in colorful and captivating murals such as the Booker T. Washington mural and mural honoring Cesaria Evora on the wall of the Cape Verdean Cultural Center. 1PM, FREE See more information here

Saturday, February 10, 2024 

Ranger Talk: The Underground Railroad

Join a Whaling National Historical Park ranger as they discuss New Bedford's Role in the Underground Railroad. 2PM, FREE See more information here

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Art and Inspiration: The 1850s Ladies

Join the 1850s Ladies, aka Ruth and Abby, at the Whaling National Historical Park as they explore both Boston and New Bedford anti-slavery societies and how they used crafting to raise money to support the abolitionist cause. The ladies will display some of the arts and crafts sold and how New Bedford contributed to the cause. They will tell the stories of New Bedford's women who held abolitionist fairs in the city. 1PM, FREE See more information here

Saturday, February 17, 2024 

Ranger Talk: The Underground Railroad

Join a Whaling National Historical Park ranger as they discuss New Bedford's Role in the Underground Railroad. 2PM, FREE See more information here

Saturday, February 24, 2024 

12 Years a Slave

Head to the Whaling National Historical Park for a viewing and discussion of Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. 1PM, FREE See more information here

Saturday, February 24, 2024 

Ranger Talk: The Underground Railroad

Join a Whaling National Historical Park ranger as they discuss New Bedford's Role in the Underground Railroad. 2PM, FREE See more information here

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 

ArtTalks: Black History Month with Marla Blakey at the New Bedford Art Museum

Dancer, choreographer, theatrical producer, and newly arrived New Bedford resident, Marla Blakey shares stories of her illustrious career in the entertainment industry. Blakey has performed with Sammy Davis Jr., Billy Eckstein, Sarah Vaughan, and the bands of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway among many others. She has choreographed stage shows for Donna Summer, Anne Murray, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, David Bowie, Sting, and various Motown artists. 6:30 PM, FREE See more information here

Available Any Time

Virtual Tour of the Nathan and Polly Johnson House

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park offers a Virtual Tour of the Nathan and Polly Johnson House via their Facebook page and website. This virtual tour and video will allow people from all around the world to learn about and explore this National Historic Landmark in the heart of New Bedford. Click here to view.

Black History Trail

The New Bedford Historical Society has your guide to New Bedford's Black History Trail. Check out memorials, murals, monuments, plaques, historic places and homes. Take the Underground Railroad Walking Tour (see self-guided tour map).

Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad

Watch videos from the Sailing to Freedom Conference to learn about New Bedford's role in the maritime Underground Railroad.

Buy Black New Bedford

Buy Black NB is a free community resource based in New Bedford that serves Black-owned businesses across the entire South Coast of Massachusetts. Connect with and shop from Black-owned businesses through the directory on their website and by attending their events. Visit Buy Black NB here