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Black History Month 2023

During the month of February, the Florida Department of State will host multiple events and opportunities that will allow participation in activities and programs that celebrate Black History Month. The signature event of the celebration is the Black History Arts and Culture Festival on Friday, February 10, 2023, hosted by the Florida Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Division of Historical Resources at The Grove Museum in Tallahassee.


Signature Event

Friday, February 10, 2023, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Black History Arts and Culture Festival, Florida Division of Arts and Culture and Florida Division of Historical Resources

Join the Florida Division of Arts and Culture for an exciting evening at The Grove Museum celebrating Black artists and their impact on Florida’s history and culture. The event will feature musical artists The Lee Boys and Lili Forbes, as well as bronze sculptor, painter, and graphic artist, Kenneth Reshard.

Food and arts vendors will be on site to round out this creative, immersive experience!  

Other Events

  • February 8, Storytime at The Grove Museum, "Mae Among the Stars" by Roda Ahmed -- Join The Grove Museum for a reading of "Mae Among the Stars" by Roda Ahmed, which explores the life of the First Black American woman to travel into space! This program is free, open to the public and is recommended for children ages 8 years and younger. Storytime is at 10:00 a.m. and will be followed by an activity, and we encourage families to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the museum's grounds following the program.

  • February 11, 2nd Saturday Family Program, “Head, Hand, Heart,” The Remarkable Life of Mary McLeod Bethune -- Celebrate the life and work of Great Floridian Mary McLeod Bethune. She served as an educator, college president, activist, and founder of national organizations!  Her life and legacy is honored with a new statue at the U.S. Capitol. Kids will assemble their own model of Bethune’s statue. The program is free and will be held at 11 am at the Northeast Branch Library, 5513 Thomasville Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32312

  • February 13, Civil Rights in the Sunshine State -- Senior Curator of the Museum of Florida History, Michelle Hearn, examines civil rights in the Sunshine State and the deep history of Black activism and the multi-generational effort of men and women, whose courage and sacrifice pushed back against centuries of institutionalized racism. This presentation explores these cultural changes as Floridians redefined what was meant by justice, race, and democracy, concepts which are key to our identity as a people. From Miami to Tallahassee and St. Petersburg to St. Augustine, the Florida movement is explored at the local, state, and national levels. The presentation discusses the struggle of Black Americans for equality in Florida from the end of Reconstruction (1877) through the modern civil rights movement. The program is free and will be held at 6:30 pm at the Wakulla County Public Library, 4330 Crawfordville Hwy, Crawfordville, FL 32327.

  • February 16, "The Art of the Possible" - The Life and Legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune: A Journey to National Statuary Hall, Reception and Talk, Division of Arts and Culture -- To commemorate Mary McLeod Bethune's contributions to history and the road to National Statuary Hall, join the Division of Arts and Culture from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the R.A. Gray Building, Heritage Hall and Gallery for Innovation and the Arts to view a feature-length broadcast documentary on the life, work and legacy of Dr. Bethune and the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Project.  The screening will be followed by a reception and scholarly talk.  

  • February 28, History at High Noon: Documenting the History of Emancipation Day Celebrations in Florida --Dr. Natalie King-Pedroso, Associate Professor of English at Florida A&M University, has collected oral histories from Black communities to document the historical and ongoing commemoration of Emancipation Day. She will discuss her efforts and share some of the stories she has recorded. The program will be held in the Gallery for Innovation and the Arts in the R.A. Gray Building at noon.

  • February 22, The Florida Highwaymen-- Senior Curator of the Museum of Florida History, Michelle Hearn, presents the story of the Florida Highwaymen, a group of Black artists who emerged from the then-rural agricultural communities of Fort Pierce, Gifford, and Vero Beach on the Atlantic Coast in the early 1950s. During the Jim Crow era, schools, businesses, and communities were segregated by race. Although some Black people were able to go to college, most were relegated to a life of manual labor in the orange groves, tomato fields, or packing house. To expand their opportunities, these young artists became entrepreneurs. They began selling their creations to businesses, tourists, and new homeowners in the postwar boom years, when Florida’s population grew dramatically. In the process of making a living through painting, they made a significant contribution to the genre of Florida landscape painting, helped to form an idealized vision of the state, and crossed racial divides. The program is free and will be held at 6:30 pm at the Wakulla County Public Library, 4330 Crawfordville Hwy, Crawfordville, FL 32327.

Throughout the month:

  • Through April 30, The Moses Roper Exhibit, Gallery for Innovation and the Arts, R.A. Gray Building, Division of Arts and Culture -- Moses Roper was a freedom fighter, author, lecturer, and survivor of slavery who dedicated his life to the abolitionist cause.  Once enslaved as a steward on an Apalachicola steamboat, Roper later became one of the first Black Americans to publish a slave narrative in Britain.  The exhibition will be the first in the world solely dedicated to exploring Roper’s life and legacy including his bold journey of survival, perseverance and escape in 1834. An 1840 edition of his book and new interactive digital content will be featured.  This project was developed by Apalachicola Main Street, Inc. in collaboration with Hillside Coalition of Laborers for Apalachicola (H'COLA), Dr. Hannah-Rose Murray, Meredith Deveraux, and Lady Dr. Dhyana Ziegler.  For more information about The Moses Roper Project, click here

  • The Grove Museum offers guided tours on slavery and civil rights in American history. Grounds open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.  House open for tours Wednesday through Friday 1 pm to 4 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.  Free admission and parking.

  • The Museum of Florida History -- Through the Museum of Florida History Speakers Bureau, curators and staff members offer presentations on a variety of topics on Florida history and other museum-related subjects including "The Florida Highwaymen—Black American Landscape Painters," and "Civil Rights in the Sunshine State."  For more information and to schedule a presentation, click here.


Black History Resources

To learn more about Black History Month, explore these additional resources available from the Florida Department of State.

National Register Recent Listings

Florida Artists Hall of Fame