Celebrating Black History Month in Westchester: Events that Enlighten Kids about African-American History

Celebrating Black History Month in Westchester
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February is Black History Month, a great time to immerse kids in African-American history, culture and art. We scouted out the best kid-friendly Black History Month events in Westchester, including readings, screenings, crafts – and even virtual events. Don’t miss these opportunities to educate your little ones about the stories behind African Americans who significantly impacted our world. Think of it as enlightened entertainment – and an excuse to spend some meaningful time together.

Black History Month Books and Movies 

Catch one of the many kid-friendly films screening throughout the month at the White Plains Library, including Selma, Dreamgirls and Queen of Katwe. (This is also a great list of films to stream at home with kids!) 

On Feb. 11, the Chappaqua Library (at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center) will screen Hidden Figuresthe story of three brilliant African-American women at NASA who were behind the launch of John Glenn into orbit.

Later in the month, the White Plains Library will host readings and discussions of stories like the Liberian folktale, Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile (Feb. 19); Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream, which is the story of one of the first women to play professional baseball (Feb. 23); and the story of Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space (Feb. 29).

The New York Botanical Gardens is hosting readings and walks in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden that will feature the book, Where’s Rodney, about a young urban African-American boy who becomes passionate about nature during a class field trip.

And for some reading at home, check out these kid-friendly books about significant people and moments in African-American History. 

Spotlighting Heroes for Black History Month 

The Hudson River Museum takes kids on a virtual tour of the night sky while highlighting the contributions and discoveries of African-American scientists, including NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, X-ray physicist and engineer George Alcorn, Jr. and others. Feb. 15-19, 12:30 pm. Register for the zoom link.

Expose your kids to artifacts and art from the African-American experience in Ossining. The “Ossining Black History & Culture: RESILIENCE. DEDICATION. EXCELLENCE,” exhibit (Feb. 6-Mar. 12) at Bethany Arts Community challenges viewers to rethink the lessons about our shared history and acknowledge the resilience of the African-American community.

The New Rochelle Council on the Arts and the Westchester Alliance of Black School Educators present their 10th annual Black History Month celebration, “The Sights and Sounds of Africa.” The free virtual event will include talks by artists and authors, as well as spoken word and a preview of a new student art show. March 5, 4-5:30 pm.

The New York Botanical Gardens is celebrating African-American pioneers in environmental science with a series of weekly videos about the legacy of the African Diaspora in the plant world. The shorts, which include subjects such as West African indigo dyeing and enslaved African Edmond Albius’ discovery of the best way to pollinate the vanilla orchid, will be on view starting Feb. 11.

Black History Month Arts and Crafts

Teenagers can learn about the music of groundbreaking divas like Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Diana Ross and Tina Turner in a mixed-media workshop at the Hudson River Museum. Participants will create drawings and collages while listening to these singers’ memorable hits.

Starry-eyed kids can create their own rockets out of straws while learning about Mae Jemison. the first African American female astronaut to travel to space. The Greenburgh Public Library presents Mae Under the Stars, a book by Roda Ahmed.

On Feb. 15, ArtsWestchester hosts a free Black History Month workshop. Artist Aisha Nailah will lead kids (ages 12-16) in a multimedia, figurative abstract project at the White Plains City Center. 

And the list doesn’t stop there. Venture into the city to check out many more NYC Black History Month events for kids.