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In case you missed it last year, in honor of Black History Month, Green-Wood is again offering a tour focusing on famous black New Yorkers buried in the cemetery. The trolley tour will highlight and celebrate abolitionists, freed slaves, artists, musicians and Civil War heroes. Notables include artist Jean-Michael Basquiat (pictured above); Jeremiah Hamilton, who was New York’s first black millionaire; and Susan Smith McKinney Steward, New York’s first black doctor (also pictured). The tour will run from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday and costs $20. Head over to Green-Wood’s website to buy tickets. 

Image via Green-Wood Cemetery

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In honor of Black History Month, the Brooklyn Museum is hosting soul and jazz concerts, documentaries that challenge assumptions about racial identity, talks from black artists and poetry readings Saturday night. New Orleans-based band Water Seed will start the evening by performing “sophisticated jazz infused with funk,” and R&B singer Bilal will round out the end of the night with songs from his album “Love Surreal.” You could check out documentary screenings about soul food and the lives of queer women of color. Or listen to a poetry reading and discussion from Black Poets Speak Out, a collective inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement. See the whole schedule here, with events running from 5 to 11 pm on February 7 at 200 Eastern Parkway.

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Brooklyn Historical Society is hosting several unique events to celebrate Black History Month in February, including a talk with rapper Prodigy of Mobb Deep, documentary screenings and a tour of one of the largest private African Art collections in America. Harvard superstar professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., will kick things off Thursday, January 22 with a look at five centuries of African American history. Unfortunately, it is already sold out, but it is not too late to check out historian Eric Foner’s book talk on January 27, when he’ll discuss little-known figures of the underground railroad. And every Sunday at 3 pm, there will be free screenings of the documentary “Brooklyn Boheme,” which explores the black arts movement in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill in the ’80s and ’90s.

As part of BHS’ ongoing series of events with hip-hop icons, Mobb Deep will sit down with Wes Jackson of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on February 25, and they’ll discuss the intersection of literature and hip-hop. Finally, Clinton Hill native Eric Edwards will offer a tour of his extensive African art collection, which encompasses 1,600 pieces created over 4,000 years. Head over to BHS to see the full schedule of programs.

Photo of an Abolitionist banner via Brooklyn Historical Society and Massachusetts Historical Society

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If you’d like to learn more about some of New York’s most famous black figures, take the Black History Tour at Green-Wood Cemetery, where a historian will explain the backstory behind each grave on the tour. Highlights on the trolley tour will include artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, pictured above; Susan Smith McKinney, New York State’s first black doctor (also pictured); Jeremiah Hamilton, the city’s first black millionaire; and some of the city’s black Civil War heroes.

Cemetery historian Jeff Richman will discuss their lives and the contributions they made to New York City’s cultural heritage. Tickets cost $15 for Green-Wood members and $20 for non-members. The tour will take place this Saturday between 1 and 3:30 pm at Green-Wood Cemetery at 500 25th Street in Brooklyn.

Image via Green-Wood Cemetery

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Bibliophiles rejoice! On February 6th, three very different authors will discuss their equally different lives and new books in two Jamaica locations. Staring at 6 pm, Bill Cosby, the comedian, actor and activist, will share a panel with Frank Savage, a businessman and competitive sailor, as part of Black History Month celebrations at York College organized in conjunction with the Greater Queens Chapter of The Links. The Coz’s I Didn’t Ask to Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was) is a collection of his observations and wacky insights into life. Meanwhile, Savage tells the story of his rise from childhood poverty to the corporate world and yacht racing in his autobiography The Savage Way. At 6:30 pm, Sam Roberts, an urban affairs correspondent with The New York Times, will talk about his latest tome, Only in New York: An Exploration of the World’s Most Fascinating, Frustrating and Irrepressible City, at Queens Central Library.

Details: Bill Cosby & Frank Savage Book Talks, York College’s Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, Jamaica, February 6th, 6 pm, free.

Bonus details: Author Talk with Sam Roberts, Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, February 6th, 6:30 pm, free.

Photo: Bill Cosby/Facebook

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He had good reasons to sing “It’s a wonderful world.” In the 1950s, Louis Armstrong was the unofficial “Goodwill Ambassador” of the United States as his jazz music had fervent fans all over the planet. In 1957, the trumpeter toured South America, performing 67 concerts over six weeks in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela. Satchmo hung out musicians in Buenos Aires, spent time with President Juscelino Kubitschek and popular singer Cauby Peixoto in Brazil, graced the cover of periodicals in Chile and Uruguay, and performed a mock bullfight on stage in Caracas. The mementos he brought home — including records, tapes, magazines and photographs – are on display through April 30 as part of Señor Satchmo: Louis Armstrong in South America, an exhibit at his Corona house, which is now a museum (master bathroom below). During February, as part of Black History Month, each museum visitor will receive a complimentary, limited-edition photo of Armstrong in Buenos Aires in October 1957, wearing a catcher’s mask to protect his trumpet-playing lips and doing his best to avoid the mobs of adoring fans fighting for a chance to see and touch him.

Details: Señor Satchmo: Louis Armstrong in South America, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, on display through April 30th, complimentary photo offer in February with admission ($10/$7 seniors, students and children/$6 group rate/free for children under four), museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.

Photos by the LAHM