Black History Month
Celebrate Black History Month and explore the stories of unsung Revolutionaries with the Museum this February. Through the Museum’s galleries, special exhibition, and events for all ages, experience a fuller and more inclusive history of the nation’s beginnings and discover that the Revolutionary story is for everyone.
Plan your visit or become a member today!
Black History Month Events
The Museum's Black History Month onsite events are now complete. Look ahead to Women's History Month!
This Museum was created to tell a diverse, inclusive, ‘warts-and-all’ narrative of the American Revolution, so sharing the often-untold stories—especially of people of color—is a core element of what we do every day. But during Black History Month, we are shining a special spotlight on the Black men and women who played essential roles in establishing our nation.Adrienne Whaley, Director of Education & Community Engagement
Don Troiani's "Brave Men as Ever Fought"
Watch as the Museum's Michael Idriss explores one of Troiani's latest works depicting young James Forten witnessing Black and Native American troops of the Continental Army's Rhode Island Regiment marching past the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia on Sept. 2, 1781, en route to Yorktown, Virginia.
Liberty: Don Troiani's Paintings of the Revolutionary War
The Museum's current special exhibition features one of nationally renowned historical artist Don Troiani's most recent works, titled "Brave Men as Ever Fought," along with additional art and artifacts about Black Revolutionaries.
Unsung Stories in Liberty
Throughout Liberty: Don Troiani's Paintings of the Revolutionary War, learn more about unsung Black Revolutionaries through art and artifacts. In the "Brave Men as Ever Fought" painting, see young Black sailor, businessman, and abolitionist James Forten watch Black and Native American troops march past the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on Sept. 2, 1781, en route to Yorktown, Virginia; compare Troiani's painting of the Boston Massacre to earlier depictions of the event, including those from the Abolition Movement centering the death of Crispus Attucks, a sailor of African and Native American descent who was the first Bostonian killed that night; a character study of a soldier in Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment wearing a coat of the British 14th Regiment of Foot; and more.
First-Person Theatrical Performances
Explore the lives and legacies of James Forten and Elizabeth Freeman during Black History Month with performances in the Museum's Alan B. Miller Theater on the second floor.
Meet James FortenPerformed Saturdays at 1:15 & 3:15 p.m.
A 20-minute, first-person theatrical performance about the life of James Forten — a free Black Philadelphian, Revolutionary War privateer, successful businessman, and stalwart abolitionist — written by local playwright Marissa Kennedy and performed by actor Nathan Alford-Tate, accompanies the Museum's special exhibition, Liberty: Don Troiani's Paintings of the Revolutionary War.
Meet Elizabeth FreemanPerformed Feb. 18 at 11:15 a.m., plus Feb. 26 at 12:15 & 2:15 p.m.
A 25-minute, first-person theatrical performance about Elizabeth Freeman — a Massachusetts woman who sued for her freedom from enslavement and won — will be performed by actress Katrina Hall and was written by playwright Teresa Miller. The performance debuted in conjunction with our 2020-21 special exhibit, When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807.
February Artifact Highlight
Back on display through February outside the Alan B. Miller Theater on the second floor.
Cash Pallentine's Continental Army Discharge
"with bravery, fidelity and good conduct…"
Cash Pallentine (also spelled Palatine) was among hundreds of African Americans who served in Connecticut regiments during the Revolution. He enlisted in 1777, serving until the end of the war. In 1783, with peace on the horizon, General George Washington began issuing discharges. Pallentine’s discharge, signed by Washington, states he served continuously and faithfully for six years, which included the winter at Valley Forge, the Battle of Monmouth, and time in the Hudson Valley.
Dive deeper into the stories of unsung Revolutionaries at the Museum and online all month long.
The Museum’s virtual resources are always available, including the new Finding Freedom digital interactive, which examines the stories of enslaved people of African descent in Virginia who followed different paths to freedom during the Revolutionary War. These stories are also available to explore in the Museum’s galleries via a touchscreen kiosk.
"Meet Elizabeth Freeman" Performance
Watch the original first-person theatrical performance portraying the life and experiences of Elizabeth Freeman, a Massachusetts woman who sued for her freedom from enslavement and won, produced in conjunction with our past special exhibit, When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807. "Meet Elizabeth Freeman" stars Tiffany Bacon as Elizabeth Freeman and was written by Teresa Miller.
When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807
Explore the stories of the women and people of color who first pioneered the vote in the Revolutionary era with the When Women Lost the Vote virtual exhibit, available to all online through a robust virtual experience.
Virtual Museum Tour
Explore other personal, often-unfamiliar stories of free and enslaved people of African descent during the Revolutionary era. Learn about Deborah Squash, who ran away from Mount Vernon and sought protection with the British Army; Olaudah Equiano, who purchased his own freedom and published a memoir of his experiences; and Crispus Attucks, a dockworker of African and Native descent who was killed during the Boston Massacre and is considered by many historians to be the first casualty of the American Revolution; among many others.
From the Museum Shop
Shop these staff picks from the Museum Shop for Black History Month.
A Fool's ErrandBy Lonnie Bunch
Founding Director Lonnie Bunch’s deeply personal tale of the triumphs and challenges of bringing the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to life. His story is by turns inspiring, funny, frustrating, quixotic, bittersweet, and above all, a compelling read.
Rhode Island Regiment Figurine
This miniature figurine depicts a soldier from the Continental Army's 1st Rhode Island Regiment and is one of the soldiers painted by nationally renowned historical artist Don Troiani in one of his latest works, "Brave Men as Ever Fought," commissioned by the Museum with funding provided by the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail of the National Park Service.
We The PeopleBy Aura Lewis & Evan Sargent
We The People is a perfect and interactive introduction to the U.S. Constitution. It explores the history behind the powerful document, clearly explains each article and amendment, highlights its relevance and today and inspires involvement and change.
Ways to Save
See and do more for less with discounted ticket prices, Museum Membership, and special deals.
Online Exclusive Ticket DiscountsAvailable with online purchase only
The Museum is currently offering two ticket discounts available with online purchase only, including a Family Four-Pack (two adult GA tickets and two youth GA tickets) for $51 as well as Adult GA tickets for $19 ($21 if purchased at the Museum).
Become a MemberJoin in February to get a gift on us!
Learn more about becoming a Museum Member at the level that is perfect for you or your family to get unlimited Museum access for a full year, discounted tickets to lectures and special events, invitations to Member-exclusive events, and so much more.
Ticket Discount Offer with AAMPOffer now available!
Visitors can save up to $6 per person when they get tickets to both the Museum and the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP), with reduced parking at AAMP available upon request. Discounts can be redeemed by showing museum ticket stubs at the front desk.