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Feb 18, 2020

7 Places to Visit in Queens in Honor of Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, a time in February set aside for commemorating the incredible achievements of African Americans throughout our country’s history, we’ve put together some historical places (…)

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In honor of Black History Month, a time in February set aside for commemorating the incredible achievements of African Americans throughout our country’s history, we’ve put together some historical places to visit as well as local events in Queens that celebrate important figures and cultural moments. Enjoy and let us know if there’s anything that we’ve missed.

Historical Places in Queens With African American Namesakes

1. The Lewis Latimer House, Flushing

Lewis Latimer was a brilliant inventor and scientist who worked with the likes of Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Edison. He was the son of fugitive slaves and spent part of his life in Flushing from 1903 until he died in 1928. You can visit the very house which serves as a museum today, featuring historical artifacts and information about his life and home. They also have special exhibits, like the current one Race and Revolution: Home/Land which compares features of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 with the practices of Immigration Customs Enforcement today.

Shannon Finnegan, Do you want us here or not 1, 2018. Design in collaboration with Charles Mathis and Chat Travieso presented by Art Beyond Sight. Fabrication by Charles Mathis.

You can read more on their website here, but right now they are open Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. with a pay-as-you-wish donation.

34-41 137th St, Flushing, NY 11354

2. Louis Armstrong Stadium and Community Center, Corona

Did you know renowned jazz musician Louis Armstrong lived in Corona, Queens with his wife from 1943 he died in 1971? The giant tennis stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is named after him, as is a nearby community center. 

124-02 Roosevelt Ave, Corona, NY 11368

33-16 108 St., Corona, NY 11368

3. Bland Playground, Flushing

NYC Parks

This playground was named after Flushing native James A. Bland (1851-1911). He was an extremely successful self-taught musician, having wrote over 700 songs and earned over $10,000 per year at the height of his career. He even traveled to Europe and played for Queen Victoria and Prince Edward of Wales. Sadly, when he returned to America he lost all of the rights to his songs and died alone in Philadelphia. Today, this space honors a man who wasn’t recognized for his genius at the time.

40 Rd, Flushing, NY 11354

4. Tepper Triangle, Jamacia

This triangle in Jamacia is named after the Queens resident Bernard Adolph Tepper (1925–1966). He was a fire fighter who was killed while on the job on 23rd Street and Broadway in Manhattan on October 18, 1966. He was very involved in his community as he was a Cub Scout Coordinator from 1959–62, a member of the United Civic Association of Baisley Park, Queens, and on the Executive Board of the Parents Association of P.S. 131 in Queens. The triangle of land was named after him on April 14, 1967.

173rd St. &, Homelawn Street, Jamaica, NY 11432

All of the above information is according to the NYC Parks Department.

Special Black History Month Events in Queens

5. Go Far, Go Together at the Queens Public Libraries

Queens Library

The Queens Public Library system has a wide range of programs, events, and special collections set aside in celebration of Black History Month. Here are descriptions of the events through the end of the month, which you can find the full schedule for online here:

Memory Game: African American Icons
Train your memory and learn something new while playing! Match the pictures of African American icons; refer to your index card to learn about their achievements or ask your Reference Librarian to guide you through the rich resources of QPL! Once your reference slip is signed, receive a commemorative poster.

From … To …
Test your trivia knowledge and match the icons of the past with the people who continue their legacy. (From Muhammad Ali to Serena Williams, from Jacob Lawrence to Kehinde Wiley, from Jesse Owens to Allyson Felix, from Louis Armstrong to Wynton Marsalis, and so on). Take the multiple-choice quiz and learn about the incredible achievements of some of the most inspiring members of the African American community past and present.

In the Footsteps of Art Giants
A new generation of African American artists is making its mark on today’s art scene. Get inspired by the unique artistic styles of Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, and Amy Sherald and create your own masterpiece!

6. The Queens Center of the Arts

 

The Queens Center of the Arts, also known as Queens Underground 718, is hosting the first-ever International Black History Month Film Festival on February 22 at 4:15 p.m. at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. There will be videos of all sorts, from music and poetry to movie shorts to web series and more, plus live performances and a pop-up shop. More info here.

153-10 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica, NY 11432

7. The Bowne House, Flushing

Bowne House interior and exterior photographs of house, grounds and furnishings, in Flushing, Queens, New York, New York City. Photographer Credit: Deborah Eynon Finley.

The Bowne House is one of the oldest buildings in NYC (and the very oldest in Queens), as it was built in 1661. For Black History Month, the restored house and museum is hosting a special quilting exhibit called “On the Path to Freedom.” It will also host special tours about the history of abolition in Queens throughout the month. More info can be found here.

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