Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Historical Society celebrates Black History Month

January 20, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
As the Brooklyn Historical Society celebrates Black History Month with several special programs, visitors are invited to view the institution’s current exhibition, “Brooklyn Abolitionists/ In Pursuit of Freedom,” an interactive presentation that uncovers the lesser-known stories of Brooklyn activists who fought for freedom and racial justice in the 19th century. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese

In honor of Black History Month, Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) has compiled a robust programming lineup that includes a discussion with an award-winning historian, a free screening of Diana Paragas’ and Nelson George’s 2011 documentary “Brooklyn Boheme” every Sunday in February, a conversation with a celebrated rapper and a special Hidden Brooklyn program featuring an African-American art collection.

BHS also concludes its series of screenings and discussions around PBS’s Peabody Award-winning special “The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” with an appearance by acclaimed journalist and writer Jelani Cobb. 

In addition to programming, BHS is presenting “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations,” an oral history project that reveals the history and experiences of Brooklyn’s mixed-heritage people and families. The project provides public access to a wealth of stories, scholarship and resources, including more than 100 oral histories, a public program series, an interactive website (www.cbbg.brooklynhistory.org) and a school curriculum, to be released in February. 

Programming kicks off early with a visit Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner. On Jan. 27 at 6:30 p.m., Foner will discuss his new book, “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad,” an exploration of the little-known antislavery figures whose resistance helped usher more than 3,000 fugitive slaves to freedom between 1830 and 1860. General admission is $10 and $5 for BHS and Green-Wood members. 

Editor’s Note: The Eric Foner visit has been postponed to Tuesday Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. because of the snow.

All programs are open to the public and take place at BHS, 128 Pierrepont St. in Brooklyn Heights, unless otherwise noted. A full schedule of events and information on tickets and registration for public programs can be found at www.brooklynhistory.org.

In addition to programming, BHS welcomes visitors to tour the following exhibitions currently on view: 

Through Feb. 23, visitors can still catch “We the People: The Citizens of NYCHA in Pictures and Words,” an exhibition that debunks the varied stigmas and stereotypes applied to African-Americans and Latinos residing in NYCHA housing. Inspired by the documentarian works of Jacob Riis, journalist Rico Washington and Photographer Shino Yanagawa, both products of NYCHA housing, present powerful works of still photography and text in an attempt to lift the cloak of darkness cast upon the city’s public housing community. The work is a result of candid interviews and photo shoots with more than 50 current and former NYCHA tenants from throughout the five boroughs. 

And still on view at BHS is “Brooklyn Abolitionists/ In Pursuit of Freedom,” a thought-provoking, interactive exhibition that uncovers the lesser-known stories of Brooklyn activists who fought for freedom and racial justice in the 19th century. The exhibition inaugurated the opening of the Shellens Gallery last year in BHS’s newly renovated building, and will remain on view through December 2018. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.