African American History Month 2019

February 2019

Throughout February, the National Constitution Center will host a variety of programs in honor of African American History Month. Visitors can explore the museum’s The Story of We the People exhibit to discover key milestones in African-American history and then test their knowledge at the Center’s giant game board activity. Visitors will learn about the history of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, and the background of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.


Special Events

Presidents Day Weekend and FREE Family Day

Saturday, February 16, through Monday, February 18

Visitors can participate in a family festival while observing both African American History Month and Presidents Day. Visitors will learn about the contributions of African-Americans throughout history and the role of the president and what it takes to be commander in chief during the National Constitution Center’s Presidents Day Weekend celebration. Throughout the weekend, the Center will host a variety of entertaining, educational programs for the whole family, including presidential trivia where visitors can test their knowledge of America’s 45 presidents, craft stations, story corners, and more. Admission to the Center will be free on Presidents Day, Monday, February 18, courtesy of TD Bank.

Daily Programs

Program times will vary daily. Please check the visitor guide upon arrival for that day’s show times.

Breaking Barriers Show

The interactive Breaking Barriers show examines the lives of Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson, and other groundbreaking African-Americans throughout American history—providing insight into the struggles they faced and the rights they secured for all citizens. Their inspiring stories reveal how one individual’s civic actions can impact a nation.

Decoding the Document: Emancipation Proclamation Exhibit Station    

Visitors can join the Center’s education staff to take a closer look at a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln in June 1864. Forty-eight similar copies were sold at the Philadelphia Great Central Sanitary Fair to raise funds for sick and wounded Union soldiers. Of those 48 signed by Lincoln, only 24 are known to survive. A preview video of the Center’s exhibits team discussing the artifact is available online and a digital copy of the document is available for download

African-American History Self-Guided Tour

Visitors can pick up a flier at the Information Desk to take a self-guided museum tour highlighting important moments in African-American history. Featuring:

  • One-of-a-kind artifacts that give a glimpse into the daily lives of free African Americans in the 1700s who once called the museum’s block home.
  • The American National Tree, featuring influential African Americans including Paul Robeson, Fannie Lou Hamer, Hiram Rhodes Revels, and more.
  • A rare printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln.
  • WWI artifacts, including a recruitment poster which was used to inspire African Americans to enlist in the U.S. military.
  • Artifacts from the landmark Supreme Court cases, including Dred Scott v. Sandford and Loving v. Virginia.
  • A button from the March on Washington.
  • A copy of President Obama’s 2008 “A More Perfect Union” Speech

Giant Game Board Activity

As part of the Center’s interactive daily programming in February, visitors can test their knowledge of African-American history.

Online Resources

Interactive Constitution

After the Civil War, a series of transformational amendments, collectively known as the Reconstruction Amendments, were ratified. The National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution explores these provisions (the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution) with in-depth essays written by top scholars from across the political spectrum.  

Educational Videos

The National Constitution Center’s award-winning Constitution Hall Pass video lesson series explores the post-Civil War era and two of the pivotal Reconstruction Amendments. View full length episodes on the 13th and 14th Amendments, as well as short videos featuring top 14th Amendment scholars Eric Foner and Tomiko Brown-Nagin, and National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen.

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