It’s February, a time when Black history is explored routinely, as it is the official observance month. Germantown, a historically Black neighborhood in Philadelphia, has an abundance of history. There are many ways to discover some of this history and see what new history is being made every day. GIH is sharing a running list of things to do around the neighborhood from now until the end of the month.
The Philadelphia Fellowship for Black Artists – Annual Exhibition
Mural Arts will celebrate the artwork of their fourth-year fellows at the Ubuntu Gallery. The Fellowship was created in 2020 to support, encourage, and showcase the important work of emerging Black artists in Philadelphia. The opening reception for the exhibition will take place on February 2, 2024, featuring more than 35 works from 15 artists, including gallery owner Steven C.W. Taylor. It runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. The exhibition will run through February 22.
Dinah Memorial Artist Karyn Oliver + Film Screening
This Friday, Stenton Museum will host artist Karyn Olivier on Feb 2nd at 6 p.m. to learn about her design process and the evolution of her Dinah Memorial. Stay for a screening of “Remember My Name: Dinah’s Story,” a 2021 film about Dinah, a once enslaved woman who lived and worked at Stenton in the 18th century, saving it from being burned by the British in 1777. RSVP for this free event here. The Dinah Memorial will be unveiled on April 20. For more information, visit www.stenton.org/dinah.
Black History Month Open House
Join Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery and Historic Germantown site collaborators, Cliveden, Concord School House, and Germantown Historical Society, with special participation from the African American Genealogy Group for an Open House featuring talks, tours, and information on Black History. They will share resources and special research opportunities. They have two special exhibitions, Inspiring Bright April and Documenting the Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival in Germantown. The free event happens Saturday, February 3, at Historic Germantown (5501 Germantown Avenue), from 1-4 p.m. No registration is required.
Jazz History & Celebration
The Johnson House and All That Jazz Philly are throwing a Black History Celebration event highlighting Germantown & Mt. Airy’s Black jazz musicians, their lives, and the spaces that supported them. It will feature the late Lee Morgan, an American jazz trumpeter who grew up in Philly and played with some of the biggest musicians in the business. It happens Saturday, February 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Johnson House site at 6306 Germantown Avenue. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perfectly Flawless Pop-Up Shop
Perfectly Flawless Boutique is hosting a pop-up shop featuring Black vendors selling everything from clothes to candles. There will also be giveaways and raffles for attendees. Visit 5312 Germantown Avenue on Saturday, February 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the shopping experience.
Black History: Resistance, Renewal, Resiliency – Goat Walk and the Harriet Tubman: Living History Experience
Awbury Arboretum will celebrate Black History Month with a two-hour block of activities at 1 p.m. on February 24 at The Francis Cope House (One Awbury Road). These activities include the Philly Goat Project, where folks will walk goats, read storybooks, and cuddle with the animals. Also, don’t miss Millicent Sparks’ portrayal of Harriet Tubman and a 15-minute Q&A session. Black and Planted will lead a mini-workshop on healthy greens, with an opportunity to plant microgreens to take home.
Virtual Event on Dinah and Black Resident Perspective during the Revolutionary War
Later this month, on February 25, the Stenton Museum hosts a virtual event with Adrienne Whaley, Director of Education at the Museum of the American Revolution. The event explores Philadelphia through Dinah’s eyes and shares Black residents’ perspectives during the Revolutionary War era. It focuses on the daily lives of free and enslaved populations, luminaries like the Forten family, and the origins of Philadelphia’s community and culture. This event is free, and you can register here.
Style and Stories
Join the Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery (LWFMS) to celebrate Black History Month with a shopping event at Perfectly Flawless. Check out different black-owned brands and avail exclusive discounts on boutique items from 3 p.m. onwards. At 4 p.m., listen to a reading from LWFMS Executive Director Gwen Ragsdale’s book “Peculiar Relationships” which combines fashion, literature, and Black History Month. Join them for a networking event at 4:30 p.m., and shop from more vendors from 5 p.m. onwards. Don’t miss this well-rounded event that blends style, culture, and storytelling.
Celebrate the talent of Queer & Trans Black creatives
Currently running from now until February 24 at iMPeRFeCT Gallery is the “you bring me joy” art show, featuring the works of Black Queer and Trans artists answering the question, “What does Black LGBTQ+ joy look and feel like to you?” The gallery is on 5539 Germantown Avenue, but contact gallery co-owner Rocio Cabello for times you can witness this “Black QT Experience.”
Book a “Philly Experience”
While the most popular tours in Philadelphia are usually based downtown and on broader American history, one Germantowner has redefined tourism in this city. Chrissy Watts operates “Philly Experiences,” a tour company using Black culture and history to inform tourists and residents about why “the hood” is at the heart of Philadelphia. Watts regularly offers a variety of experiences such as bar crawls, food crawls, mural tours, and even meditation at Vernon Park. To learn more about what Philly Experiences has to offer, visit www.phillyexperiences.com.
Browse local Black-owned businesses
Germantown has a rich history of Black-owned businesses and continues to be a hub for such establishments. In the past year, at least ten new Black-owned businesses have opened in the neighborhood, offering diverse goods and services. Whether you’re looking for a bookstore (both pre-existing and newer), a men’s grooming salon, or alternative healing, Germantown has it all. It’s a great time to show your support for these businesses and help them thrive. The perfect place to start could be Maplewood Mall, primarily comprised of Black and woman-owned businesses.
Celebrate The Colored Girls Museum’s recent zoning victory
As we reported on our social media last week, The Colored Girls Museum and her fierce leader, Vashti DuBois, finally won an almost year-long battle to get a variance for the museum to continue operation. DuBois calls the victory an “enormous relief” and says she is grateful for the community members who showed up for the museum.
While there are currently no openings for February, you can book your visit for March before slots are filled. To schedule your visit, click here. The museum is also available by appointment for groups of 10 or more on Thursdays and Fridays. For group showings, email email@example.com.
Spot and share the historical markers of Black history in the neighborhood
Philadelphia is no stranger to those big blue street signs with yellow writing, as wherever history was made, one of those signs will appear at some point. Though some may appear later than others, these signs continue to grow around Philadelphia and Germantown. Whether you’re at the intersection of Germantown Avenue & Wister Street, spotlighting the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, or in front of The Crab House near Germantown & Chelten avenues, celebrating one of the most successful Black entrepreneurs in American history, John Trower, many historical markers are waiting to be stumbled upon. You can share them via social media to inform others when you spot them.
Witness neighborhood murals by Black artists and centering Black experience
Just like historical markers, murals are spread throughout Philadelphia. Germantown is home to quite a few murals, with a good number centering around Black people and experience and crafted by Black artists. Here are a few that you can spot around the 19138 and 19144 areas of Germantown:
- Sunshine Around Us–4740 Wayne Avenue (Happy Hollow Recreation Center)
- Afromation Avenue–Vernon Park, Germantown Avenue, and Maplewood Mall.
- The Blueprint–328 W. Coulter Street
- Our Voice, Our Strength–4675 Germantown Avenue
- We Still Here!–22 Maplewood Mall
- A Mother’s Love–101 E Chelten Avenue
If you have further recommendations for neighbors, email firstname.lastname@example.org with more happenings.