Scores of children gathered at Children's Museum of Atlanta to celebrate MLK Day with a variety of events on Jan. 15, 2018. We asked them what they knew and what they learned about Martin Luther King Jr. (Reann Huber/Reann.Huber@ajc.com)
For the AJC
The contributions of African-Americans throughout U.S. history have been unrelenting, unforgettable and oftentimes unbelievable.
During 2018, the country has themed Black History Month "African Americans in Times of War." Across the nation, this year's February celebration honors the 100th anniversary of World War I's end and the significant roles blacks have played in battle as far back as the American Revolution.
Black warfare achievements on and off American soil are far and wide.
A few history-making combat heroes and heroines include:
Robert Smalls was born into slavery and still became the first black naval captain of the Civil War;
Alexander Thomas Augusta enrolled into the Civil War as the first African-American out of eight to sign up for duty;
Aileen Cole Stewart became one of World War I's first black Army Nursing Corps nurses; and
the Tuskegee Airmen formed America's first black military aviators in the U.S. armed forces who flew with distinction during World War II.
To ensure their trailblazing legacies and others continue to live on both home and abroad, here are upcoming opportunities in Atlanta for city dwellers and tourists to learn more about African-American triumphs despite some of history's most challenging circumstances:
Known for celebrating Black History Month every month, the African American Panoramic Experience (APEX) Museum is the only museum in metro Atlanta solely dedicated to sharing the rich, untold story of the African Diaspora. APEX currently has an online exhibit titled "Blacks on Stamps: A Celebration of Black History Makers" to view digitally of distinguished African-American groundbreakers and icons the U.S. Postal Service has honored in virtually every career field via its signature stamp designs.
Dig into the center's extensive collection of papers, pictures and recordings to uncover the true stories behind African-American's impact on segregation/racial justice, employment, academia, neighborhood development and the law in Atlanta. This research/archival collection shares the lives of prominent African-American civic, political and business leaders of the mid-20th century as well. Call 404-814-4040 to experience this collection.
The Atlanta community will observe African-American heritage through high-spirited marching band performances, engaging guest speakers and culturally creative floats at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. The parade begins at Hurt Park and ends at Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Baker Street.
Discover the powerful stories of influential African-American leaders with your little ones through monthlong shows, art, books and dance. Kids can learn the sounds and moves of the Harlem Renaissance on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays at 11 a.m. and weekdays at 2 p.m.; take train adventures in literature to experience great paths African-Americans have traveled weekends from noon to 2 p.m. and weekdays from 11 a.m. to noon; explore the art of world-renowned African-American artists weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and try traditional East African dances that honor the roots of African-American culture Saturday, Feb. 17 from noon to 1 p.m.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights, 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta
Join author Gary Ford Jr.'s free discussion about his book and Motley's life as the only female lawyer on the Brown v. Board case, first African-American federal judge and first African-American woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. The event takes place Sunday, Feb. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Learn what life was like for iconic civil rights figure Martin Luther King Jr. in his Queen Anne-style birth home to his adolescent years. Located on 501 Auburn Ave., the 1895-built, two-story historic home offers free, ranger-led tours of its storytelling interior. Except for national holidays, the home is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for up to 15 people per tour.
Visit the home of one of most prominent black families in Atlanta's history who persevered through slavery to leadership in the African-American business community. General tours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Active duty military, students and seniors: $7; adults: $10.
Acknowledging Black History Month and Marvel Comics' much-anticipated "Black Panther" movie slated to open Friday, Feb. 16, this digital art exhibit will feature a free open discussion about black representation and identity in media with Atlanta creators and artists. The event takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at 249 Peters St. in the Castleberry Art District.
Oakland Cemetery's African-American History Tours: The Historic Oakland Foundation and City of Atlanta are hosting free, guided walking tours of its African-American grounds from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, through Thursday, Feb. 22. Selling out fast, the public tours take guests to the final resting places of Atlanta black history pioneers like Carrie Steele Logan, founder of the city's first orphanage for African-American kids, and Maynard Jackson, Atlanta's first African-American mayor.
Paying tribute to Roswell's African-American culture and history, this festival is one of the largest and most comprehensive observances in its community. Connecting to national Black History Month celebrations, the events last through Wednesday, Feb. 28 and features original art/history exhibitions; guest artists and cooking experts; and live musical performances and spoken word. Click here for the complete calendar of events.
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, 350 Spelman Lane SW, Atlanta
Showcasing more than 150 artworks by more than 60 artists inside Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, the "Soul of a Nation" lecture and exhibition will take place 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5.The event's art and Q&A session will examine how American cultural identity was reshaped during the Civil Rights Movement.
Coretta Scott King, wife of MLK Jr., established the now National Historic Site in 1968. An international resource center, the grounds serve as the final resting place of the couple and international tourist destination to explore the Kings' strategies to social change and collections of memorabilia and artifacts. The site is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 449 Auburn Ave.
Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road, Atlanta
The Soul of Philanthropy Atlanta and The National Christian Foundation will partner to honor Black History Month with Atlanta's top fundraising and faith thought leaders. During this three-session workshop, pastors, nonprofit professionals and business representatives will share experiences and expertise to gain meaningful community support and discuss the importance of volunteers. The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday, Feb. 22, at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.