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. Temple invented the “Temple Toggle Iron” in 1848, a pivot-head harpoon which revolutionized the whaling industry. Paul Cuffee was a notable 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 has many notable African American figures of historical significance who have made considerable contributions to the community.

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 also available at New Bedford Historical Society.


Monday, February 1, 2021 – February 17, 2021

Black History Month Youth Drawing Contest
Celebrate Black History Month Through Art! “What Does Black History Month Mean to You?” Share your Art! Include your Name, Grade, Phone/Email, and a sentence about your drawing.
This contest is available to all students in grades K through 12 in the Southeastern Massachusetts region. Drop off your entry at any New Bedford Free Public Library or upload an image of your drawing at: Your chance to win! 3 Winners will be announced on February 24th. Prize is a free pass to the New Bedford Art Museum and a gift card to Michaels. For more information, please contact Bethany at or 508-979-1647.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Robert Smalls Talk by Paul Finneran

Robert Smalls was born into slavery, but as a freed man, he became known as a politician, publisher, businessman, and naval pilot. Hear more about this man who began on his path to freedom by commandeering a confederate ship in 1862. This event is free as a part of AHA night. Register in advance for this VIRTUAL talk.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Black Presently hosted by 3rd EyE & The Communal Space 

4-8pm on Facebook Live Tune in for community conversations: EforAll South Coast, Community Bridges, Inc, American Red Cross, Buy Black NB, New Bedford Historical Society, Maternal Nurturing Collective. Get a virtual tour of the Communal Space. Check out all the new art including a pop-up photography exhibit and custom pieces by local artists. 4-8pm at the Communal Space. The Space (246 Union Street) will be open to the public following strict COVID guidelines (10 person capacity, 30 min time limit to allow max community access): Talk with a few of the artists who have work on the walls including the pop-up photography exhibit featuring work by Justin Botelho and Darnel Staley, catch some live painting by David A.
and check out the community library and learn about the library card system.

Click To RSVP For Updates & Reminders   Click To Watch

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Black History Month Special Painting at Splash
An Experience”- Art As Entertainment. Step-by-step instructions to create your very own masterpiece painting in a very entertaining, relaxing, and fun atmosphere. Uncork your artistic abilities and bring home you artistry on canvas that day or evening. Come on your own, with a group of friends, or arrange a private party. BYOB for adult classes and customizable children classes based on age and preferences. Join Painting at Splash on Feb 20th at 7pm to celebrate, together! Click here to register

Thursday, February 25, 2021

HERstory: A Celebration of Black Women

To kick off Black History Month, BuyBlackNB announcing a new event series called “Black in Business,” to highlight and support Black entrepreneurs and aspiring business leaders. We’re partnering with the New Bedford Historical Society to host our first virtual event called, “HERstory: A Celebration of Black Women.” You’ll hear from women entrepreneurs who are drawing from a collective wealth of business experience and a shared passion for supporting women of color businesses. Learn more and RSVP here

Available Now

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 our Facebook as well as their website. This virtual tour and video will allow people from all round the world to learn about and explore this National Historic Landmark in the heart of New Bedford. Click here to view.