2017 Black History Month

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is partnering with other local and national groups to celebrate Black History Month this February. In conjunction with Bright Star Theatre, the Nashville Public Library, the African-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Tennessee State University, author Jesse J. Holland, and music group The Princely Players, the presidential home will host four interactive and educational programs throughout the month.
In addition, The Hermitage developed a first edition of an African-American History Toolkit containing photographs, information on artifacts, and other resources exploring African-American history on a local, regional and national scale. The toolkit will be available online beginning Feb. 1, and free hard copies will be available upon request at The Hermitage Visitor Center.

2017 Black History Month Schedule

Songs of Freedom: An Interactive Kid’s Program

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Saturday, Feb. 4
10 a.m.–noon
Bring your kids for a fun and educational performance of “Freedom Songs: The Music of Black History,” with the national production company Bright Star Theatre. From the work songs of slavery and the hymns of the Underground Railroad to the blues of Beale Street and the anthems of the civil rights movement, actor/singers will tell the stories behind these famous and forgotten hymns, work songs and musical styles from across continents, genres and centuries. Following the program, kids will have a chance to make their own musical instruments and perform a grand finale parade. Complimentary cupcakes will be served.

Researching African-American Family History and Genealogy

Nashville Public Library, Downtown Branch
Saturday, Feb. 11
1–4 p.m.
Interested in discovering your family’s roots? Wanting to preserve your family’s mementos and photographs? Join us for a free afternoon workshop on genealogy and preservation at the Nashville Public Library. The African-American Historical and Genealogical Society will be discussing how to get started with your genealogy research and some of the resources available.

Following the presentation, AAHGS members and researchers from the Tennessee State Library and Archives will be on hand to meet with individuals and answer specific questions about your family research. Hermitage staff will be available to discuss options for preserving family photos and antique keepsakes for the long term.

Slavery in the White House With Jesse Holland

Otis L. Floyd – Joseph A. Payne Campus Center, Tennessee State University
Saturday, Feb. 18
2 p.m.
Author Jesse J. Holland will speak on his latest historical work “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African-American Slaves in the White House” – the first book to tell the story of the enslaved residents who built and lived in our nation’s most recognizable home. Holland will highlight some of the untold stories of these men and women, especially those who came from Tennessee during the presidencies of Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A and book-signing.

Annual Memorial Service

Saturday, Feb. 25
Hermitage Church, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
11 a.m.
Join us for our annual commemoration of those who were enslaved here at The Hermitage and throughout the country. The music group The Princely Players will perform a musical timeline of African-American music, from arrival to the Americas to emancipation. The performance will conclude with a procession to the enslaved memorial behind the Hermitage Church. Attendees can help lay 150 flowers, marked with the names of all those known to have been enslaved at The Hermitage. Hot chocolate will be served following the service.

Online Exhibit:

“Slave Culture from the Antebellum through the Civil Rights Movement”

As an extension of our public programming, The Hermitage collaborated with the Junior Curators from John Early Museum Magnet School as a continuation of our discussion of African American history. The Junior Curators developed an online exhibit which explores the history of slavery in the United States using historic photographic images from the Library of Congress and The Hermitage photograph collection. Slave Culture from the Antebellum through the Civil Rights Movement connects the Hermitage to the larger historical narrative of slavery in America and highlights the importance of preserving material culture.

All components of the project, including the interpretation and metadata entries, were completed by the 7th and 8th grade Junior Curators of John Early Museum Magnet School.

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