9 Ways to Learn About NYC Black History Year-Round

February 21, 2022

Though Black History Month might be coming to a close, there are so many informative online resources available that invite you to learn more about Black history in NYC all year long.

Here are some that we find exceptionally useful.

Black and white historical photo of Black man standing on stoop of Harlem Church of God

Photo courtesy of NYPL

1. Story Map: Preserving Significant Places of Black History

To honor Black History Month, the Landmarks Preservation Commission created Story Map: Preserving Significant Places of Black History, an interactive story map website highlighting residential and commercial landmarks and historic districts that played a pivotal role in the African American experience in NYC. Zoom in on the map and click on a location to read up on its significance.

2. Black History in NYC Parks

The NYC Parks Black History website is rich with Black History Month events, photos of the Black experience in NYC, and describes Art in the Parks honoring the Black experience, how parks got their African American namesakes and information about some of the many historically Black neighborhoods in the city.

3. New York Public Radio Archives

The New York Public Radio Black History Month site features some of the department’s leading preservation work and sonic artifacts about African American history. Listen to rare Malcolm X interviews, previously unreleased interviews with MLK, President Truman speaking at the NAACP dinner in 1947 and so many other audio files shedding light on the past.

4. Black Comic Book Festival

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presents a commemorative blog series highlighting stories, cosplayers, illustrators and writers part of the Black Comic Book Festival’s 10-year history.

Black and white historical photo of Black woman teaching Black students in NYC

Photo courtesy of NYPL

5. WeTeach NYC Black History Collection

A professional learning portal by the NYC Department of Education, WeTeachNYC is a terrific website for teachers and their Black History Collection provides resources that can be used to teach and celebrate Black history year round. Intentionally focused beyond Civil Rights and enslavement, this collection highlights the identities of Black people as well as their literature, art and creativity that has shaped the world. The resources emphasize “teaching centering liberation and teaching Black History that celebrates Black joy and Black brilliance.”

6. Black History, Continued

The Black History, Continued virtual event series looks at the figures and forces that shape our culture, who we are as Americans and who we may yet become. Get a deeper look at some of the many transformative individuals and powerful moments in Black history. Though this website goes beyond NYC, we are including it in our list since it was created by The New York Times and is so informative and well put together.

7. Bowery Boys Black History

The Bowery Boys have been podcasting since 2007 and their website is full of information about NYC’s fascinating history as well as NYC’s Black history. Poke around the site and check out a podcast to learn more about Louis Armstrong, Cafe Society, the birth of Black Harlem and so many additional topics.

8. Watch Summer of Soul

This fantastic Questlove-helmed film Summer of Soul tells the story of The Harlem Cultural Festival’s joyous 1969 concert series sometimes dubbed the Black Woodstock. Filmed in what is now Marcus Garvey Park, the footage was set aside in a basement for 50 years. The film features never-before-scene footage from iconic performers like Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King and Sly & the Family Stone. You can watch on Hulu or Disney+.

Black and white photo film still from Jackie Robinson movie with Jackie and Louise Beavers sitting at kitchen table with stove in background

Photo courtesy of NYPL

9. Black Film Archive

Founded in 2021 by New York-based Maya Cade to display Black films throughout history that are available to stream, the Black Film Archive is an impressive living registry of hundreds of Black movies from 1915 through 1979. Though the movies take place all over, some of them are set in New York—such as the 1975 classic Aaron Loves Angela and 1937 film Dark Manhattan.

If you’re looking for other ways to celebrate Black history all year long, support a Black-owned Brooklyn business, learn about Black experiences in NYC, visit Black-Owned Long Island or Black-Owned Brooklyn, and support organizations making a difference such as Black Lives Matter and the NAACP.

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