Visit Baltimore to Host Celebration of City’s Rich Black History

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Walking around some of Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods, it’s easy to spot statues, plaques, murals and other memorabilia paying homage to the city’s most important black historic figures. To encapsulate some of their greatness, the city’s tourism office will hold a free, family-friendly celebration of black history in Baltimore next weekend.

Baltimore’s Legends & Legacies Jubilee, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Baltimore Visitor Center in the Inner Harbor, will feature interactive exhibits and activities from more than a dozen prominent local institutions, including The Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the National Aquarium and the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum.

Guests will get a chance to brush up on their history with stories about Charm City during the Civil Rights Movement, trivia games, and African-inspired art. Another main attraction: for a half-hour, actors will step into the shoes of famous black Marylanders Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass for a reenactment portion dubbed “Relive History.”

Visit Baltimore president and CEO Al Hutchinson will kick off the celebration with Mayor Catherine Pugh and the Morgan State University Choir.

Hutchinson said in an interview that he sees storytelling as a vital piece of the inaugural celebration. “Baltimore, part of its fiber is it’s very community-focused. Folks in this community want to be engaged and tell their story,” he said.

In addition to music and storytelling, guests will get to sample food from local black-owned establishments, including Seton Hill-based vegan soul food restaurant The Land of Kush, Southeast Baltimore-based dessert destination Berries by Quicha and Barclay artist hangout Terra Café.

Hutchinson envisions the free event as a way for Visit Baltimore to engage families from all sections of the city. “We want to be a part of events where we can get the different neighborhoods and communities excited about where they live and where they work,” he said, adding, “It’s a great way for us to really pay attention and put a focus on the contributions of African-Americans to Baltimore City.”

The jubilee event is just one of dozens of local celebrations honoring black history in and around Baltimore this month. On the first of February, Mayor Pugh’s office opened the photography and archaeological exhibit, “City of Riches: Exploring the Sites of Baltimore’s African American History” in the rotunda of City Hall. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum hosted a Harvard professor-led lecture about Frederick Douglass this past weekend and will hold its Black Memorabilia Fine Art & Craft Show this coming Saturday. Down in Brooklyn Park, the Chesapeake Arts Center is exhibiting works of art by middle schoolers that visualize poetry written by local seniors about life during the Civil Rights movement and is hosting a reception for the monthlong show on Feb. 23.

For those looking to explore some of those other events this month, Visit Baltimore offers the Legends & Legacies Heritage Pass. It provides discounted admission to the Lewis Museum, The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum and the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park.

Hutchinson said Visit Baltimore hopes to continue highlighting the city’s black heroes and culture once February has come and gone. “We really want to continue to tell their story hopefully not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year,” he said.

Baltimore’s Legends & Legacies Jubilee runs from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Baltimore Visitor Center, located at 401 Light Street. Click here to register and here to see a full list of activities planned for the afternoon.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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