Celebrate Black History Month with Culture and Cuisine
February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements and contributions African Americans have made throughout U.S. history. Take part in this important month by exploring the many exhibits, performances and cultural events throughout New Jersey, and make a day (or night) of it by savoring cultural cuisine at a nearby restaurant.
We’ve got seven ideas to get you started:
Tory Jack Day (February 8, 2020)
Abraham Staats House, South Bound Brook
This annual event at commemorates the sacrifices and contributions made by African Americans during the formation of the country. Listen to Mr. Joseph Becton speak on the “Music of the Civil War.”
> Eat Nearby: Take your pick from all manner of Southern specialties, such as fried whiting, baked mac ‘n’ cheese, barbecue chicken, oxtails in gravy, candied yams and banana pudding at Amazing Taste Soul Food Kitchen.
Black Like Me (February 8, 2020)
Monmouth University Pollak Theatre, West Long Branch
Marvel at the work of dance artist and choreographer Jade Solomon Curtis, who incorporates classical and African American vernacular movements, hip-hop culture and mixed media for a powerful, multi-disciplinary performance.
> Eat Nearby: In Long Branch, fill up on flavorful Caribbean cuisine at Norah's Irie Jamaican Restaurant, serving up heaping plates of curry goat, oxtails, jerk chicken, plantains and rice.
Rennie Harris: Puremovement (February 22, 2020)
Pfleeger Concert Hall, Glassboro
Visit this concert hall on Rowan University's campus to see Rennie Harris, described as one of the country's most respected hip-hop choreographers, as he explores street dance and its vibrant culture through onstage movement.
> Eat Nearby: Fried chicken, fried catfish, seafood gumbo, mac 'n' cheese, barbecue ribs and garlic crabs are the draw at Big Daddy's Seafood & Rib Ranch, a no-frills seafood restaurant with a soul food twist in Williamstown.
The Badass & The Beautiful: Ms. Lisa Fischer (February 22, 2020)
South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange
The heartfelt sounds of gospel and soul will have you moving in your seat at this performance by Lisa Fischer, who has performed with the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Tina Turner and more.
> Eat Nearby: At the fast-casual Cornbread: Farm to Soul in Maplewood, order soul food dishes that use locally sourced ingredients. Take your pick from fried whiting, oxtails, baked chicken, string beans, candied yams, peach cobbler and more.
Camp Logan (February 28 – 29, 2020)
Middletown Arts Center, Middletown
This NAACP Image Award-winning play is based on true-life events, when members of the 24th Infantry Regiment were subjected to extreme Jim Crow treatment in Houston in 1917. This performance is Dunbar Repertory Company's Black History Month production.
> Eat Nearby: Olaide's Kitchen is worth the 25-minute drive, as you'll find mouthwatering, colorful dishes of modern African cuisine, anything from fish pepper soup made with fresh herbs and Nigerian spices to suya, grilled beef coated in a peanut-based spice blend.
Arts of Global Africa (ongoing)
The Newark Museum of Art, Newark
Explore an extensive collection of ritual, ceremonial and daily-use objects spanning an array of African countries and time periods, as well as historic and contemporary African artwork, textiles, jewelry and decorative objects. This is one of the country's most comprehensive African art collections.
> Eat Nearby: African food meets Southern cuisine at Taste of Flava, which has a menu packed with specialties such as fried catfish, jerk chicken and jollof rice (tomato-based rice) with dibi (roasted meat).
The Northside: The Way We Were (ongoing)
African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey, Atlantic City
Explore the history of Atlantic City through the lens of the thriving class of African American elites who held high positions within the local nightlife and entertainment industry. Take a picture next to the original Club Harlem door and sign, and then see pictures of some of the famous musicians who took the stage.
> Eat Nearby: Upscale soul food is the name of the game at Kelsey & Kim's Southern Cafe in Atlantic City. Satisfy your appetite with shrimp e'touffee, jumbo lump crab cakes, shrimp and grits, St. Louis-style pork ribs and fried jumbo shrimp.
Find even more upcoming things to do with our events calendar.