Celebrate Black History Month with Culture and Cuisine

Experience arts, culture and culinary options with these mini-itinerary ideas.
  • Tahira / State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick
    Tahira / State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

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 eight ideas to get you started:

Grammy Museum Experience (Ongoing until June 30, 2019): At the Prudential Center in Newark, get a glimpse into the lives of Grammy Award-winning musicians, such as Ray Charles, and spend some time at the new Whitney! exhibit, where you can explore the remarkable life of legendary singer Whitney Houston as you see her iconic costumes and more.
Eat Nearby: Fill up on freshly made soul food at Vonda’s Kitchen, where you can start your meal with appetizers like black-eye pea dip and collard-stuffed “soul rolls” and continue on to entrees such as fried chicken sandwich or oxtails over rice and beans.

Harlem Renaissance: Another Black Wall Street (February 2, 2019): At the Ritz Theatre in Elizabeth, watch this entertaining and informative play that retells the cultural and intellectual movement of the “Harlem Renaissance” from the 1920s to the civil rights era of the 1960s.
Eat Nearby: Colorful and flavorful Jamaican dishes—we’re talking curry goat, jerk chicken and escovitch fish—are the draw at Yaad Pot.

African-American Read In by the Shore Days (February 2 – 23, 2019): Listen to live readings of poems, book excepts and more—all written by African-American authors and poets—during this literacy event at Asbury Park Museum, ongoing during Black History Month.
Eat Nearby: At Local Smoke BBQ, order a rack of award-winning ribs, which are hand-rubbed with spices, slow-smoked and then slathered with the restaurant’s signature barbecue sauce.

Tory Jack Day (February 9, 2019): This annual event at the Abraham Staats House in South Bound Brook 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.

Tahira (February 9, 2019): Drawing inspiration from both African and African-American folklore, this family-friendly event at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick features the lively stories and songs of Tahira.
Eat Nearby: Experience the specialties of Ethiopia at Dashen Ethiopian Cuisine. Use spongy injera bread to scoop up everything from menchet abesh (ground beef cooked in spices) to misir wot (split lentils simmered in onions, garlic and berbere: a chili spice blend).

Second Sundays: AfroFutures (February 10, 2019): Art in all forms comes to life at this cultural event at Newark Museum, showcasing Afrofuturism-influenced music, wearable art, a dance workshop, food demonstration and a multimedia lecture.
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).

A Celebration of the Music of Motown! (February 16, 2019): At The Vault of Victory Records in Berlin,

feel the swinging, soulful groove of Motown music at this musical production featuring moving performances paying tribute to musical legends, from Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder to The Temptations and The Supremes.
Eat Nearby: Transport yourself to a Southern-style kitchen at Aunt Berta’s Kitchen, where fried chicken, turkey wings, barbecue ribs, potato salad, collard greens and sweet potato pie are on the menu.

Eyewitness to African American History Tour (February 17, 2019): Take a tour of the Crane House & Historic YWCA in Montclair as you explore more than 200 years of Black history through artifacts, first-hand accounts and a documentary film.
Eat Nearby: A healthy take on soul food, Vital offers an array of Southern favorites while accommodating vegan, vegetarian, paleo and generally health-conscious folks. Order anything from the vegan black-eyed pea hummus to the jerk chicken wrap to the oxtail burger made with grass-fed beef.


Find even more upcoming things to do with our events calendar.