Black History Month Events 2022
Alexandria Black History Month 2022
The Office of Historic Alexandria invites the public to celebrate Black History Month with special events and activities throughout February. Black History Month is an annual recognition and celebration of the history, culture, achievements and contributions of African Americans and persons of African descent in U.S. history.
Black History Month originated as “Negro History Week” in 1926. By the 1960s, on many college campuses, the week had grown into a full month of celebration and recognition, fueled in part by the work of the Civil Rights movement. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized “Black History Month,” calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Learn more about the origins of Black History Month and its continuing importance today, and download the 2022 Events Flyer.
Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Poster Exhibition
Throughout the Month of February – Vola Lawson Lobby City Hall and Online. Free
See the 2022 submissions from Alexandria City Public School students in the Vola Lawson Lobby at Alexandria City Hall. This annual exhibition celebrates the legacy of Dr. King and African American History. The 2022 theme, Celebrate Juneteenth, Celebrate Freedom, focuses on the new federal holiday.
See the posters and learn more about Juneteenth.
Watch a video of the 49th Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Program 2022, posted to the Black History Museum website. This one-hour program highlights the legacy of Dr. King with speeches by Alexandria’s Mayor, City Manager, and a member of City Council. This year the program also highlights the talents of Alexandria City Public School students.
Community Remembrance Project: A Path to Truth and
Tuesday, February 8 Virtual Only, register here. 4 p.m. Free
Cyan Blackwell and Trey Walk from the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) talk about EJI and the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project’s (ACRP) work with them to educate Alexandria citizens about the lynchings that occurred in Alexandria of Joseph McCoy in 1897 and Benjamin Thomas in 1899.
Storytime with Young Historians
Saturday, February 12 Virtual Only, register here. 10-10:30 a.m. Free
Join Alexandria Public Library and the Alexandria Black History Museum as we explore the history of Alexandria’s local African American community through books, stories, and songs. February’s theme is Black History Month. All are welcome, but the event is geared towards children ages 4-8. To enjoy an activity after the story, please pick up your activity kit before the event at Beatley Central Library.
A White Historian Explores “Race Riots”
Saturday, February 12 Virtual Only, register here. 11 a.m. Free
Violent clashes between large crowds of different races have disturbed the social order in the United States since long before the Civil War, and the phrase “race riot” has been used to describe such disparate events as the Tulsa massacre of 1921, the 1968 uprisings following the assassination of Martin Luther King, and the anti-Chinese riots of the 1870s. Susan Strasser investigates the term, and a history of racially charged violence that has framed American discussions of race throughout the nation’s history. Strasser provides a reading list on this topic.
Film Screening and discussion with filmmaker Robin Hamilton
Wednesday, February 16 Virtual Only, register here. 7 - 8:30 p.m. Free
Crowned Queen of the Underworld, a Black female gangster runs the most lucrative gambling ring in D.C. in the 1950s and manages to keep the D.C. police in her back pocket. Join the Alexandria Black History Museum for a screening of filmmaker Robin Hamilton new film with a discussion to follow with the filmmaker.
Washington Revels Jubilee Voices in Concert
Saturday, February 19 Virtual Only, register here. 11 a.m. Free.
The Alexandria Black History Museum presents the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices in concert. Join the Revels as their members explore the rich history of African American music.
The Flags in Market Square
We fly the Pan-African flag on Market Square in celebration of Black History Month. The red, black and green Pan-African flag, created in 1920, became an emblem of Black pride during the 1960s.
The flag was adopted by the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1920, in direct response to racism and a racist folk song. UNIA leader Marcus Garvey talked about the need for a flag as a unifying symbol for people of the African Diaspora and to symbolize Black liberation. Historian and Garvey scholar Robert Hill noted that Garvey framed the need for a flag in a political context, and that it was seen as a “manifestation of black aspirations, black resistance to oppression.” During Civil Rights protest of the 1960s the flag was used as a unifier and an emblem of Black power. The red, black and green stripes of the Pan-African flag became the basis of flags used in many African countries as they gained independence. Today the flag is widely used in Black neighborhoods, on Black-owned businesses, and at rallies, parades, protests and celebrations.
According to the UNIA, the colors of the flag represent:
- Red: The blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation
- Black: Black people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag
- Green: The abundant natural wealth of Africa
Resources from Home
Learn more about Black History Month in Alexandria. The Historic Alexandria webpage has a number of resources to learn more about Alexandria’s African American history, from the African American Heritage Trail to Collections online.
- History of Alexandria's African America Community
- African American Heritage Trail: North Waterfront Route (online StoryMap tour)
- Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery, A Photographic Tour (video)
- History of the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial (video)
- Agents of Change: Dr. Albert Johnson (video)
- Historic Alexandria Collections Online (database)
- "The Fort" Heritage Trail (brochure)
- Educational Resources in Historic Alexandria
- Winter in Alexandria Activity Portal