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Best bets for events and museums that celebrate black history

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Learn more about Dred and Harriet Scott at the Old Courthouse. Photo courtesy the National Park Service.

Each February the United States celebrates Black History Month to honor the achievements and contributions of African Americans in our nation. Several museums, historic sites and upcoming events in the St. Louis area offer a great way for families to explore black history, art and culture.

Black History Celebration | St. Louis County Library
Free events will be held at various St. Louis County Library branches throughout February to celebrate black history. Programming also includes dancing, musical performances, keynote speakers, storytelling and more. Get the details and see all of the Black History Celebration events at county libraries.Black History Month Programming | St. Louis Public Library
Storytelling, music, art and more will be featured at various St. Louis Public Library branches throughout February. Get the details and complete listing of Black History Programming at St. Louis Public Library branches.

‘Unfinished Business: From the Great Migration to Black Lives Matter’ | Missouri History Museum
At 7 p.m. Feb. 7, the Missouri History Museum will host a special screening, which features a compilation of oral histories of African American elders from historic black churches throughout the country. Get the details.

The Contributions and Legacies of Black Doughboys | Soldiers Memorial Military Museum
African American World War II veterans will be part of a panel to discuss the sacrifices and legacies of veterans in the First World War Sunday, Feb. 10. Get the details.

Celebration of CCC Company 1743 | Washington State Park
The work of Company 1743, an African American Civilian Conservation Corps Company, can be seen throughout Washington State Park in De Soto. Saturday, Feb. 16, visitors have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour. Interpretive staff will be on hand to discuss the work. Get the details.

Lila, Life of a Missouri Slave | Historic Daniel Boone Home
Guests are invited to the Old Peace Chapel at the Historic Daniel Boone Home site for performances by Angela da Silva Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1:15 and 3:15 p.m. She will also be in character as “Lila” and talking with visitors from noon to 5 p.m. Get the details.

Lift Every Voice | St. Louis Symphony
Celebrate African American history and culture with the St. Louis Symphony, guest Byron Stripling and the IN UNISON Chorus. Hear Lift Every Voice at Powell Hall at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $28. Get the details.

Underground Railroad Shuttle Tours | Alton, Illinois
The Mississippi River played an important role in helping slaves escape to the freedom of the north. See remnants of the Underground Railroad during this unique shuttle tour throughout the riverfront town of Alton, Illinois. Tours are available Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; tickets are $25. Get the details.

Black history year-round

Learn about black history year-round at a variety of museums and historical places:

  • Find out about Dred Scott’s fight for freedom at the Old Courthouse at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
  • Learn more about the history of the Blues and its continuing impact on music at the National Blues Museum, located at 615 Washington Ave., St. Louis.
  • Visit Missouri’s first nationally recognized Underground Railroad site, the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, located on the Mississippi Greenway just north of Merchant’s Bridge in North St. Louis City (28 East Grand, St. Louis, MO). The site commemorates the work of Mary Meachum, a free woman of color who guided slaves to freedom by helping them cross over to the free state of Illinois. Meachum also led education efforts for African-American men, women and children in St. Louis. Great Rivers Greenway hosts an annual event celebrating the site’s history; this year’s event is scheduled for May 4. More information will be made available by Great Rivers Greenway closer to the event date.
  • Learn about notable African Americans from the St. Louis area by exploring the wax figures, art and artifacts housed at the Griot Museum of Black History.
  • The “King of Ragtime,” Scott Joplin, produced many of his best known compositions while living on what’s now Delmar Boulevard. Visit and take a guided tour of the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site to learn more about his life.
  • Segregation, the civil rights movement and several other aspects of African American history are interwoven with the history of St. Louis in the Seeking St. Louis exhibit at the Missouri History Museum.

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