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Black History Month events and exhibits at the Heinz History Center


February 6, 2018

The History Center's long-term From Slavery to Freedom exhibition chronicles the anti-slavery movement, the Underground Railroad, and the impact of 19th century activism on the modern quest for civil and human rights in Western Pa.

The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, interprets and preserves African American heritage year-round through a variety of exhibitions and events curated by the museum's African American Program.

In recognition of Black History Month, the History Center will host several special events throughout February, including:

Smithsonian Film Screening of "The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X" on Wednesday, Feb. 7 from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at the Heinz History Center.

The Smithsonian-affiliated History Center will partner with the Smithsonian Channel and Comcast to host an exclusive screening of a new documentary, "The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X," which captures the rise and fall of Malcolm X, told through newscasts, speeches, and rarely seen archival footage. The event will feature a special preview screening of the documentary followed by a Q&A panel. Admission to this event is free, but pre-registration is required at

From Slavery to Freedom Film Series: "Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders" on Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at the Frick Environmental Center.

The From Slavery to Freedom Film Series examines themes from the History Center's award-winning exhibition with film screenings held at the Frick Environmental Center at 2005 Beechwood Blvd. These events are free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required.

The 2018 film series kicks off during Black History Month with "Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders," which highlights firsthand stories of the Mississippi women who risked their lives and became heroines in the fight for Civil Rights. The film weaves a story of commitment, passion, and perseverance and tells the story of the women who fought for change in Mississippi and altered the course of American history forever.

Visitors can also see the new From Slavery to Freedom Garden at the Frick Environmental Center, which showcases plants used for food and medicinal purposes by freedom seekers during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Upcoming From Slavery to Freedom Film Series screenings at the Frick Environmental Center will include:

Wednesday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m. – "Until the Well Runs Dry"

Wednesday, Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m. – "The Assassination of Martin Luther King"

Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. – "How They Got Over"

In addition to Black History Month events, African American history is on display daily within the History Center's six floors of exhibition space:

The History Center's award-winning From Slavery to Freedom exhibition explores more than 250 years of African American history. Presented by BNY Mellon, this long-term exhibit highlights the enslavement of Africans and its impact on the American economy, the history of the anti-slavery movement, the Underground Railroad, and the impact of 19th century activism on the modern quest for civil and human rights in Pittsburgh.

The long-term exhibition, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, highlights local African American history, including a recreated Crawford Grill with artifacts from Pittsburgh jazz legends such as Mary Lou Williams, Stanley Turrentine, and George Benson; and a WWII display highlighting the Pittsburgh Courier's Double V Campaign and local Tuskegee Airmen.

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum showcases Pittsburgh's unmatched Negro League Baseball legacy with artifacts including Satchel Paige's glove and a rare Homestead Grays uniform. Visitors can also see artifacts from local basketball star Chuck Cooper, the first African American player drafted in the NBA.

The Special Collections Gallery features a collection of artifacts from local African Americans including legendary photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris' camera, a 20-foot long 1941 Cadillac funeral hearse from the historic Gaines Funeral Home, and original garments created by West African immigrant Dosina Blemahdoo.


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