Celebrate Black History Month: Things to See and Do

This February, check out the programs, exhibits, and historic landmarks the city has to offer that honor the contributions and history of African Americans in Raleigh, most of which are free and a few are even available year-round. 

Black History Month Events and Exhibits

Raleigh Trolley Celebrates Black History Month
Saturday, Feb. 27

Mordecai Historic Park - 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Celebrate Black History Month on this special trolley tour around Raleigh highlighting the downtown area's African American heritage. Tour route includes historic homes, schools, churches, and business areas important to Raleigh's African American heritage. The trolley departs from Mordecai Historic Park and lasts approximately one hour. Tickets are $10.  Call 919-996-4364 for tickets and information. Wellness checks and face coverings will be required. This program will follow all local and state guidelines regarding COVID safety protocols.

Black History Month Essay Contest
Register Feb. 1-8, Submission Deadline Feb. 19

Share with us your story that could inspire the future while reflecting on the past or present-day hero. Tell us about an African-American who inspired you in a written essay in celebration of Black History Month. This is your moment to inspire the next generation! Register online via RecLink using the barcodes below to participate and receive essay guidelines. Learn more here

Pope House Museum Opens New Exhibit - A Family Story: Images of the Pope House Museum
Opens Saturday, Feb. 6

The Pope House Museum announces a new exhibit, " A Family Story: Images of the Pope House Museum" opening Saturday, February 6. This exhibit explores African-American photography through the Pope House Museum's collection. The images ranging from tintypes of the late 19th century to Polaroid photos and cover the life of Dr. Manassa T. Pope, one of North Carolina’s first black doctors, and his family from 1880-1999. 
To visit, a tour is required. See more information below on booking tours, please call in advance at least 30 minutes prior to the tour.

Pope House Museum Tours
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Free
Pope House Museum, 511 South Wilmington Street, 27601
Visit the home of Dr. Manassa T. Pope, one of the most prominent African-Americans in downtown Raleigh’s history. Learn about his life; his medical practice; his family; his contributions to the African-American community in downtown Raleigh; and explore one of the oldest standing houses on Wilmington Street. Tours are by appointment only, must be scheduled at least 30 minutes prior to the tour, and will be limited to a family group or 5 people. Call to reserve your tour at 919-996-2220. Visitors must submit to a wellness check and wear either a mask or a face shield to enter. Between each tour, the museum will be cleaned in preparation for the next group.

Black History Month Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. and closes Sunday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.

Join Raleigh Parks for a scavenger hunt for all ages in honor of Black History Month! Hosted by Worthdale Community Center, this city-wide scavenger hunt on Saturday, Feb. 20, and Sunday, Feb. 21 highlights prominent locations in downtown Raleigh that honor African American leaders who have impacted our community. Learn More Here

Visit Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens
Open from dawn until dusk daily, Free
1215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27610
First built in 1975, it is the first public park in the United States solely devoted to Dr. King and the civil rights movement. A 12-ton granite water monument honors the area's notable pioneers in the civil rights movement. 

Make sure to check back throughout the month as more events will be added.


Historic African American Landmarks

The City owns parks, a cemetery, and other landmarks with significance to the African American community. Below are a few who have made it on to the local, state, and national registers of historic places.

John Chavis Memorial Park and Carousel
505 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Raleigh, 27601
Under the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), Chavis Park was created in 1937 to give black families access to similar recreational opportunities as white families. It attracted black families throughout North Carolina from the late 1930s to the late 1940s. The carousel was installed as one of the main attractions and is one of the small number of vintage carousels that remain in operation today. The park is named for John Chavis, a black Revolutionary War soldier, who went on to establish a school in Raleigh, where he taught white students by day and black students by night. He also became a Presbyterian minister in 1799. Read more about Chavis Park’s history.
This park is currently under renovation. The carousel, community center, north parking lot, playground, pool area, and tennis courts are closed.

Mt. Hope Cemetery
120 Prospect Avenue, Raleigh, 27603
Mt. Hope, which was established in 1872, is one of the first municipal cemeteries for African Americans in North Carolina. Most sizeable towns in the state opened suburban cemeteries for whites in the post-Civil War era, but very few established municipal cemeteries for freed enslaved people. Several prominent residents are buried there including Rev. G.A. Mial, former enslaved person and educator Lucille M. Hunter, James E. Hamlin owner of Hamlin Drugstore, and Dr. Manassa T. Pope, the first black mayoral candidate in Raleigh. Read more about Mt. Hope's history

Pope House
511 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh, 27601
As the only African American house museum in the state of North Carolina, the Pope House offers a glimpse into the life of one of Raleigh’s most intriguing citizens, Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope, who was the only African-American man to run for mayor of a southern capital during the Jim Crow Era. The Pope House is open for tours Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. by appointment only. Call to book your tour today. Read more about Pope House's history.

Latta University Historic Park
1001 Parker Street, Raleigh, 27607
Rev. Morgan London Latta, a freed enslaved person and teacher, founded Latta University in 1892. At its peak, Latta was home to 26 buildings home and 1,400 students, including orphaned children of former enslaved people. The university operated for 30 years. The Latta residence was the only remaining structure on the site, but it was destroyed in a fire in 2007. The City recently completed a master plan for the park and is working on Phase I implementation. Read more about Latta House's history

Pioneers Building at Method Community Park
514 Method Road, Raleigh, 27607
The Pioneers Building was the old Agricultural Building of the Berry O’Kelly High School, the first fully accredited and largest rural high school in the state of North Carolina for African Americans. Read more about the Pioneers Building.