Black History Month at the History Center

The History Center interprets and preserves African American history and culture year-round through a variety of events and exhibitions curated by the museum’s African American Program. This work is accomplished through research, artifact and archival collecting, consulting, educational programming, exhibitions, and public outreach.

In recognition of Black History Month, the African American Program of the Heinz History Center will present two public programs in February. 

Black History Month Programs

From Slavery to Freedom Film Series Presents “Through a Lens Darkly”

Join the African American Program for a free, virtual screening of “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People,” on Feb. 7, as part of the 2024 From Slavery to Freedom Film Series. 

Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration with Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood

Discover how art provides imprisoned people with a voice during the 10th Annual Black History Month Lecture with Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood on Feb. 21.  

From Slavery to Freedom

Exhibit

Heinz History Center

The long-term exhibit explores the enslavement of Africans and its effect on the American economy, the history of the anti-slavery movement, the Underground Railroad, and the impact of 19th-century activism on the modern quest for civil and human rights in Pittsburgh. 

Explore more than 250 years of African American history in the History Center’s exhibition. 

More Exhibits Highlighting Black History in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation

The Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibit honors several African Americans who made trailblazing breakthroughs, including Dr. Velma Scantlebury, the nation’s first African American woman transplant surgeon and student of UPMC’s late Dr. Thomas Starzl.   

Negro League Baseball

As home to two of the Negro League’s most dominant teams – the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords – Pittsburgh was once the center of Negro League baseball. Learn more about the legacy of Pittsburgh’s Negro League teams in the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. 

Header image: The Cardwell Dawson Choir, c. 1930. Mary Cardwell Dawson was an opera singer and arts activist in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. She established the Cardwell School of Music in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, as well as the Cardwell Dawson Choir. After seeing the lack of opportunities for African Americans in the world of opera, she created the National Negro Opera Company in 1941 to inspire and motivate young artists.