Panthers on parade at Free Huey rally in Defremery Park, Oakland, July 28, 1968. image via theblackpanthers.com
The annual celebration of Black History Month is a time to recognize the achievements of African-Americans throughout the history of our country. It is also a time to remember the struggles for freedom and justice. The roots of this celebration take us back to 1915, when historian, Carter G. Woodson and minister, Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), known today as the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH). In 1926, this organization sponsored a national Negro History Week during the second week of February, to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.
This year’s theme is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African-American Memories.” In keeping with this theme, here are 10 exhibits and events that will take you on a photographic tour covering fifty years, to a Black Lifes Matter Edit-a-Thon; the hallowed grounds of music, to the hallowed grounds of art to view artistic creations based on a legacy of oppression, and a future filled with hope.
Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, Chebet and Chemu in the Garden, from The Other Country 2008-2014. image via The Walther Collection
The Walther Collection in Chelsea often exhibits works of historical and contemporary significance from artists working in Africa. In February, they will be presenting Close to Home – New Photography from Africa. This is their second installment of the multi-year exhibition series, which is presented thematically from 2015 to 2017. The exhibit features five emerging artists who are exploring new visions of social identity in Africa and the African Diaspora in portrait photography. The portraits give us an in-depth account of sub-cultures and communities as part of this major exhibition, that will culminate in 2017 at an exhibition at The Walther Collection’s museum in Neu-Ulm, Germany. Close to Home will be on view beginning February 4 at The Walther Collection Project Space, 526 West 26th Street, Suite 718. Free and open to the public.