Celebrating Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month through art, storytelling, performance and other special exhibitions featured throughout Coastal Virginia. Don’t miss these great opportunities to experience and learn about black history in the area.

Here are 6 ways to celebrate Black History Month in COVA:

Virginia Legends Walk Gate

Virginia Beach

The Virginia Legends Walk (VLW) in Virginia Beach pays homage to the legends of the state of Virginia, both past and present. Located in the heart of Virginia Beach’s oceanfront area on 13th Street, between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Avenue, the monument features titans of Virginia history. With renowned African American names like Arthur Ashe, Ella Fitzgerald, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and more, the VLW is a must-visit this February as we celebrate Black History Month. Don’t miss the walk’s newest inductee, Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia’s first African American Governor, who was inducted in April 2016. LEARN MORE

Cannonball Trail Plaque


The history of Norfolk coincides with the birth and growth of our nation. And in Norfolk the lives, culture and historic contributions of African-Americans are celebrated year round, as well as during Black History Month. There are several attractions in Norfolk where you can learn more including the West Point Monument in the Elmwood Cemetery, the self-guided Waterways to Freedom Trail & Cannonball Trail, the Attucks Theatre, First Baptist Church of Norfolk and more! LEARN MORE

Woman dressed in colonial garb


Celebrate Black History Month with special programs from Colonial Williamsburg and learn about the culture, struggles, and active efforts toward freedom and equality of colonial black Virginians. Take a tour of the Capitol and discover how enslaved African Americans fought to obtain their freedom by petitioning the Virginia courts and legislature. Visit the Kimball Theatre to see the featured live performance “Journey to Redemption,” which details the challenges and emotions of enslaved people through actor interpreters. LEARN MORE

Woman in museum


The Schoolhouse Museum is an African American History Museum that was built in 1932 as an addition to the Christian Home School, an original Rosenwald School. In the 1920s, Julius Rosenwald partnered with black communities to build more than 5,000 schools across the South for black students. Originally located in Chuckatuck, Virginia, the Schoolhouse Museum was moved to its present location in 2005. The building has been lovingly restored to illustrate an authentic one-room schoolhouse. The Museum is open Friday and Saturday afternoons and by appointment. Admission is free. The Schoolhouse Museum is located at 516 Main Street in downtown Smithfield and can be reached at 757.365.4789. LEARN MORE


Newport News

From a film festival and theater production to a planetarium show and special exhibitions, Newport News has a number of ways to celebrate the African-American experience to commemorate Black History Month in February. The Mariners’ Museum will celebrate with a series of weekly events exploring African and African-American maritime history and culture through storytelling, special performances, lectures, and guided tours of the museum. At the Virginia Living Museum, patrons will be able to see the night skies from more than 100 years ago in Follow the Drinking Gourd, a free planetarium shown weekly through February that explains how the stars of the northern sky led slaves to freedom during the era of the Underground Railroad. Also weekly in February, see stars of the silver screen during the Virginia War Museum’s annual African-American History Month Film Fest. For more Black History Month events in Newport News, visit our blogLEARN MORE Mary Jackson at Work NASA Langley


On January 21, the Hampton History Museum welcomed When the Computer Wore a Skirt: NASA’s Human Computers, a new exhibit highlighting the achievement of African-American women recruited by NASA as “human computers.”  This exhibit features three of these pioneers: Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Johnson, and Hampton native-Mary Jackson. The topic is explored in the recently released Hollywood film “Hidden Figures.” LEARN MORE

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