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African-American Museum Celebrates Black History Month

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will commemorate Black History Month for the first time this year after opening on the National Mall in September.

A variety of interesting and entertaining programs will take place in the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater, including film screenings, book discussions and signings and a concert by the U.S. Army Band of works by African-American composers.

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free, open to the public and will be live-streamed at

Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

The celebration begins Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. with a screening of “I’m Not Your Negro” (95 minutes, PG-13), Raoul Peck’s new documentary based on literary icon James Baldwin’s final and unpublished manuscript, “Remember This House.”

The film, narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, explores the history of race relations in the United States through reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.​​

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the museum presents a discussion with author Erica Armstrong Dunbar, history professor at the University of Delaware, on her new book “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.” The book will be available for sale and signing following the discussion, which runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

On Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m., the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African Art and NMAAHC will present “From Tarzan to Tonto: Stereotypes as Obstacles Toward a More Perfect Union.” This symposium will be a discussion among noted scholars, authors and critics about the persistent presence of stereotypes and the barriers they pose toward a more enlightened and inclusive society.

Participants include Gaurav Desai, Tulane University; Adrienne Keene, Brown University; Tiya Miles, University of Michigan; Imani Perry, Princeton University; and Jessi Wente, film critic and director of film programs, TIFF Bell Lighthouse.

The event takes place at the American Indian Museum’s Rasmuson Theater at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue in southwest D.C., and will be live-streamed at

On Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the museum will present “NMAAHC Fashion Collection — Iconic Looks.” Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion writer Robin Givhan will interview haute couture designers who have contributed to the museum’s collections, including B Michael, whose designs have been worn by such renowned actresses as Cicely Tyson and Phylicia Rashad.

The evening’s conversation will focus on their works, ideas about culture, inspiration, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Registration for this program is strongly encouraged through, but walk-ins will be welcomed.

Wrapping up the month on Sunday, Feb. 26 will be “A Celebration of Black Composers and Chamber Music,” from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The U.S. Army Band, known as “Pershing’s Own,” will perform chamber music works by esteemed African-American classical music composers, including H. Leslie Adams, Valerie Coleman, David Sanford, Alvin Singleton and William Grant Still.

The 90-minute concert, with intermission, will be followed by a Smithsonian-moderated discussion and an audience Q&A.

Registration for this program is strongly encouraged through, but walk-ins will be welcomed.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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