Celebrate Black History in Cayuga County
February marks Black History Month, a time dedicated to celebrating culture, heritage and the contributions made by African Americans throughout history. During the month, many students across the northeast U.S. have time off from school, making it the perfect opportunity for a family trip to Cayuga County, where you can experience history in the place it was made.
Cayuga County is home to stories of individuals, past and present, who have shaped our world and the way we live today. As you celebrate Black History Month, recognize the contributions made by the region’s most influential African Americans. Read on to learn more and start mapping out your family’s Cayuga County experience.
- Harriet Tubman is one of many individuals who has had a long-lasting impact on the world. The abolitionist, suffragist and Civil War hero spent the last 50+ years of her life in Auburn, NY, where many landmarks of her legacy exist today, inviting visitors to walk the grounds she did. Visit the Harriet Tubman Home to see the exterior of her residence as well as the Home for the Aged, which she started to support those in the need within the community.
- Admire the Americans Who Tell the Truth: Portraits by Robert Shetterly exhibition at the Cayuga Museum of History & Art. Held in partnership with the Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree Project, this exhibition portrays individuals who are fighting for social, racial, economic and environmental justice – such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only are the portraits beautifully painted, but their stories will spark important conversations among your own family.
- GLOW Tours – led by Ted Freeman, descendant of Auburn’s founders, Harry and Kate Freeman – offer a guided tour that allows groups to learn about the history of the city. Discover the story of the community, its founders, the shaping of the Underground Railroad and what prompted Harriet Tubman to settle here. It’s the perfect way to learn the history of Auburn and the influential people who have called it home.
- A must-see during your visit is the “Harriet Tubman: Her Life in Freedom Mural,” painted by Black artist Arthur Hutchinson. This incredible work of art is much more than just a portrait of Harriet Tubman: it is a vibrant story of her life, featuring a series of scenes where she had a significant impact. The mural is located on the west-facing side of the historic Nolan Block building.
- The Auburn Public Theater (APT) entertains and inspires with its performances, and their commitment to celebrating diversity makes it a great and safe space for Black artists and performers to practice their craft. On February 10, APT is welcoming comedian Jackie Fabulous for an evening of hilarious and affable stand-up comedy. A semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2019, Jackie looks to inspire and empower women to “find the funny” in everyday life. Note: Jackie’s comedy is both family-friend and naughty.
- Another great stop in Auburn is the Equal Rights Heritage Center, which will welcome you and guide you through your visit to the area. Here, you can discover and learn more about Black individuals who have played an important role in our country’s history through the state-of-the-art exhibition titled “Seeing Equal Rights in NYS.” These interactive displays (think: posters, songs and videos) allow viewers to immerse themselves in the history of equality in New York State.