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Things to Do for Black History Month in Philadelphia in 2023

There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month in Philadelphia, including special performances, exhibitions and much more.

Things to Do for Black History Month in Philadelphia in 2023

Learn about Black trailblazers in American history with curated programming at iconic Philly institutions like The African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Museum of the American Revolution and the National Constitution Center.

Celebrate Black art and artists with a Black history trolley tour from Mural Arts Philadelphia and special performances from The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia.

Discover a new favorite shop or restaurant while supporting the many Black-owned businesses in Philadelphia, and uncover history hidden in plain sight at one of the many African American cultural and historic sites that dot Greater Philadelphia.

More details on things to do in Philadelphia for Black History Month are included below.

Also, visitors can extend the fun by booking the Visit Philly Overnight Package, which includes free hotel parking and a pick-your-own-perk option to level up your stay in the City of Brotherly Love.

Another option, perfect for Presidents Day weekend, is the new Three-Day Stay Package, where visitors can book two nights and get a third free at 11 participating hotels.


Black History Month at The African American Museum in Philadelphia 

February 2023

The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African Americans.

February is your last chance to catch the museum’s powerful Vision & Spirit: African American Art exhibition.

The collection features more than 100 works from 48 artists and explores the many meanings behind African American resilience.

The exhibition runs through February 19, 2023. AAMP also hosts a special event with Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., at Mother Bethel A.M.E Church on February 26, 2023, which you can read about further down in this article.

And, of course, you don’t want to miss the museum’s core permanent exhibit Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776 – 1876, allowing trailblazers like Octavius Catto and Richard Allen to tell their stories through the use of technology, photographs, videos, and artifacts.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

Black History Month at the Free Library of Philadelphia 

February 2023

The Free Library of Philadelphia celebrates Black History Month with free events at libraries throughout the city all month long.

On the docket: author talks, soul food culinary classes and even a hip-hop dance class for the youngsters.

Check out the Free Library of Philadelphia’s official website for a rolling list of events throughout the month.

Where: Various locations including Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street

Black History Month at the National Constitution Center

February 2023

Black History Month programming at the National Constitution Center includes daily self-guided tours of the museum’s vast collection of African American artifacts, including a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Visitors can also experience The Four Harriets of History, a special show exploring the lives of Harriet Tubman, Harriet Robinson Scott, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe — four women who fought to overturn slavery in the United States through direct action.

On weekends, guided tours offer special insights into the permanent Civil War and Reconstruction exhibit.

All Black History Month programming is included in regular museum admission.

Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street

Black History Month from the Kimmel Center

Dates vary by event

South Broad Street plays host to a number of high-profile performances celebrating Black artists during Black History Month.

One upcoming show is DRUMLine Live at the Miller Theater.

This brand-new show — from the creative team behind the Drumline movie franchise — is a high-energy celebration of the Historically Black College and University marching band experience (February 17, 2023).

Where: Miller Theater, 250 S. Broad Street

Black History Month at the Betsy Ross House

Through February 26, 2023 (select dates)

Learn about the contributions of Black Americans throughout our nation’s history at Betsy Ross’ pint-sized property each weekend in February.

On Saturdays, meet Black history makers like Bishop Richard Allen, abolitionist James Forten and famed cake baker Margaret Woodby.

On Sundays, grab a seat to hear brief, five-minute tales of Black history from the award-winning storytellers from Once Upon A Nation.

Where: Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

Keep Going: A Black History Discovery Hunt at the Independence Visitor Center

Through February 27, 2023 (Saturdays & Sundays)

Pop into the Independence Visitor Center on weekends in February to get started on this all-ages scavenger hunt.

Search for clues to uncover hidden stories of Black resistance in and around several historic sites in Old City.

Where: Scavenger hunt begins at the Independence Visitor Center, 599 Market Street

Leaders and Legends at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

Through February 28, 2023

An outdoor exhibition honoring African American leaders returns to Fairmount Park. The Leaders and Legends outdoor gallery highlights the accomplishments of artists, activists, educators, public servants and athletes.

After checking out the exhibit, which features prompts to visit other Philadelphia landmarks, families can head to the playground and playhouse for more fun, including a trip or two down that famous wooden slide.

Where: Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, 3500 Reservoir Drive

Sisterhood Sit-In Trolley Tours

Through March 25, 2023 (Saturdays only)

Returning for a second year, the popular Sisterhood Sit-In Trolley Tours take visitors directly to some of Philly’s great Black women-owned shops and restaurants.

Running three times a day on Saturdays in February and March, these two-hour tours stop at six businesses: Harriett’s Bookshop, French Toast Bites at Cherry Street Pier, Ceramic Concepts, Bookers Restaurant & Bar, Modest Transitions and Nyambi Naturals Urban Beauty.

This year’s tours — dubbed Rebel Rides — honor Rosa Parks, kicking off on what would have been her 110th birthday.

Where: Harriett’s Bookshop, 258 E. Girard Avenue

Mural Arts: Black History Month Civic Heroes Trolley Tour

February 25, 2023

This special trolley tour takes riders through several Philly neighborhoods to explore the city’s many murals honoring Black figures who fought for social justice throughout history.

During the 90-minute tours, professionally trained tour guides speak to the lives of the murals’ iconic subjects and offer insights about the artists and the artmaking process.

Tours depart from and return to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Tickets are required.

Where: Tour departs from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street

Opening: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia and More Programming at the Museum of the American Revolution

February 2023

Opening on February 11, 2023, a brand-new exhibition charts the life of James Forten, a free man of African descent who fought in the war for American independence in 1781, then returned to Philadelphia to become a successful businessman, philanthropist and stalwart abolitionist.

Chronicle Forten’s life and follow his family’s 100-year story from the American Revolution through the lead up to the Civil War and women’s suffrage movement.

Other highlights of the museum’s Black History Month programming include first-person theatrical performances and a special Black Voices of the Revolution tour at noon on Saturdays and Sundays in February.

Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street

Black History Month: Celebration of African Americans in Science at The Franklin Institute

Saturday, February 11, 2023 | Noon-4 p.m.

Join The Franklin Institute and other local organizations for this Black History Month celebration, exploring the accomplishments of Black scientists and workers in STEM fields.

The afternoon also sees traditional African and hip-hop performances from the Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble.

The event is included in regular museum admission.

Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street

The African American Children’s Book Fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center

Saturday, February 11, 2023 | 1-4 p.m.

The 31st annual African American Children’s Book Fair — one of the oldest and largest single-day events for African American children’s books in the country — features nationally known authors and illustrators, representatives from the multicultural literary community, enriching children’s books and activities that promote the joy of reading.

Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street

Helium Presents: Black History Monthly’s Winter Cookout at Helium Comedy Club

Saturday, February 18, 2023 | 4 p.m.

This variety show — co-founded by comedian friends Ronald Metellus and Brandon Mitchell — features a mix of crowd work, music, sketch comedy and rapid-fire games.

In addition to the usual high jinks, the Winter Cookout features diverse sets from some of Philly’s best up-and-coming comedians.

Where: Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom Street

Marian, Martin and Paul: The Spiritual Legacy Concert at the Chapel of Four Chaplains

Saturday, February 25, 2023 | 2 p.m.

During this stirring tribute concert, the National Marian Anderson Museum honors the legacy of trailblazing opera singer Marian Anderson and two other Black icons who left lasting impacts on American culture: musician and actor Paul Robeson and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tickets are required.

Where: Chapel of Four Chaplains, 1201 Constitution Avenue

NLM Celebrates: Beyond Wakanda: Imagining the Future with Black Comic Creators at the National Liberty Museum

Sunday, February 26, 2023 | Noon-5 p.m.

Join Black comic creators for a sneak peek at their latest creations and reflect on the future of Black superheroes in light of the museum’s Imagined Futures exhibit.

The event is included in regular museum admission, but advance registration is encouraged.

Where: National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street

An Evening Conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King at Mother Bethel A.M.E Church

Sunday, February 26, 2023 | 4-6 p.m.

Enjoy a very special evening in the historic Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcipol Church as Rev. Dr. Mark Tyler hosts a conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King, minister, lawyer and daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

During the event, which celebrated the theme of “The Beloved Community,” King speaks about her father’s legacy and her own work to ensure a more just society as CEO of The King Center. 

Tickets are required.

Where: Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, 419 S. 6th Street

More Things To Do

Explore African American Cultural and Historical Sites in Greater Philadelphia

Just as U.S. history is African American history, Philadelphia history is African American history.

The nation’s birthplace is home to the founding church of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination (Mother Bethel A.M.E), the country’s first major museum devoted to African American history (The African American Museum in Philadelphia) and more.

Explore our guide to the Philadelphia museums, landmarks, churches and other sites that tell of the successes, struggles and contributions of African Americans through the centuries.

Where: Various locations including the Octavius V. Catto Memorial, 1400 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

Support Black-Owned Businesses in Greater Philadelphia

Discover a new favorite spot during Black History Month while supporting Philadelphia’s Black-owned businesses. Browse shops like Yowie and The Sable Collective in store or online; get pampered with treatments and products from Freedom Apothecary; and order delicious dishes from places like Aksum Cafe, SOUTH, and other Black-owned restaurants.

Where: Various locations including Yowie, 716 S. 4th Street

Discover Destinations Showcasing Black Art in Philadelphia

Art by Black artists has taken center stage in Philly’s art community for more than a century.

Institutions like the Barnes Foundation, the Moore College of Art and the Woodmere Art Museum provide channels for the display of Black art and opportunities for artists. Check out Visit Philadelphia’s guide to where to view art by Black artists in Philadelphia.

Where: Various locations including the Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Visit Underground Railroad Sites in Greater Philadelphia

Freedom was the goal for the thousands of enslaved Africans on the Underground Railroad, a secret network of safe houses, churches and farms that offered shelter and safety.

Find notable Philadelphia sites and learn about Philadelphians who bravely worked to keep the route running in the comprehensive guide to the Underground Railroad in the Greater Philadelphia.

Where: Various locations including Belmont Mansion, 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive

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