The Black Brigade

Black Brigade Monument at Smale Riverfront Park (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)
Black Brigade Monument at Smale Riverfront Park (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)

The Black Brigade was formed in 1862 during the Civil War to construct barricades to defend Cincinnati from Confederate attack. Initially, members were forced into service, but after a public outcry, African-American men volunteered and formed The Black Brigade. You can visit a monument to the brigade's efforts at Smale Riverfront Park, consisting of bronze statues and plaques, interpretive signs, and carved stones which include the names of all 718 members of the brigade.

Black-Owned Restaurants

BlaCk Coffee
BlaCk Coffee

Support local and Black-owned restaurants this month and all year long. Click here for a list of Black-owned restaurants serving up everything from coffee and pastries to barbeque to Southern foods.

Cincinnati Public Library

Book Fountain at Main Library (photo: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County)
Book Fountain at Main Library (photo: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County)

Participate in a virtual discussion hosted by the Cincinnati Public Library in honor of Black History Month. "Race & the City" is a critical conversation about the roots of systemic racism in Cincinnati. Upcoming discussions are February 24 and March 31, 2021. Also, from famous singers to abolitionists to journalists and photographers, the library has put together a list of 19th Century Black Cincinnatians You Should Know.

Children's Theatre of Cincinnati

Martin's Dream presented by Children's Theatre of Cincinnati (photo: Lisa Mauch/Cincinnati Public Library)
Martin's Dream presented by Children's Theatre of Cincinnati (photo: Lisa Mauch/Cincinnati Public Library)

The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati is digitally streaming its production of Martin's Dream, a 50-minute show that brings the historical figure of Martin Luther King, Jr. to life through the power of story, speech and song. January 4-February 26, 2021

Covington Black History Tour

James Bradley Statue on the Riverside Drive Statue Tour (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)
James Bradley Statue on the Riverside Drive Statue Tour (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)

Developed by the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, this self-guided walking tour includes 18 spots around Covington, Ky., that highlight the history and accomplishments of African Americans in the city. The tour includes landmarks like the statue of James Bradley, a former slave who worked his way to freedom and broke racial barriers in the world of education; and Randolph Park, named after the first African American on the staff of St. Elizabeth HospitalDr. James Randolph.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in Cincinnati during the formative years that led to her writing the anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Schedule a visit or take a virtual tour of the Harriet Beecher Stowe House to learn more about the author, the Underground Railroad, and the historic site that was listed in the Green Book in the 1930s and 40s. 

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (photo: Farshid Assassi)
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (photo: Farshid Assassi)

Standing as a monument to freedom, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center brings to life the importance – and relevance – of struggles for freedom around the world, throughout history and today. For Black History Month 2021, the Freedom Center is partnering with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Miami University, Northern Kentucky University and Heinz History Center to host virtual discussions that examine the Black experience in America: "Let’s Talk: You Have the Right to Remain Silent," February 6; "The Reemergence of Protests and Marches in America," February 8; "The Bonds of Family and Legacy," February 11; and "The Black Family and Generational Health," February 20. You can also visit the Freedom Center in person or explore online exhibits. And click here to take a photo tour of some of the Freedom Center's pivotal exhibits.

Robert S. Duncanson

Duncanson, Landscape with Classical Ruins, 1859, Springfield Museum of Art
Duncanson, Landscape with Classical Ruins, 1859, Springfield Museum of Art

Robert S. Duncanson is a 19th-century landscape painter whose talent eventually garnered him the support and commissions of prominent people who could see past his race. Learn more about the life and art of this renowned artist with Cincinnati Art Museum's online virtual exhibit. Visitors can also view eight Duncanson murals in person at Taft Museum of Art. The murals were commissioned by Nicholas Longworth to decorate the entry hall of his home, which is now the art museum. Duncanson's "Landscape with Rainbow" earned attention when it was presented to President Joe Biden and his wife in January as the inaugural painting.

Under One Roof: The African American Experience in Music Hall

Music Hall (photo: Mark Lyons)
Music Hall (photo: Mark Lyons)

This one-hour presentation by the Friends of Music Hall explores the history of African Americans, like Duke Ellington and Ezzard Charles, who helped forge the culture and character of Music Hall and the Cincinnati community. The presentation and a virtual tour of Music Hall can be scheduled through the Friends of Music Hall Speakers Series.

More Black History

Allen Temple AME Church was the first organized Black congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains when it was formed in 1824.

The Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW) was formed in Cincinnati in 1898 and today, IBPOEW boasts 500,000 members in over 1,500 lodges worldwide making it the largest Black fraternal organization in the world.

Union Baptist Church is the oldest African American Baptist church in Cincinnati. During the 1800s, the church served as a sanctuary for Black men and women crossing the Ohio River to escape slavery. The church provided them with food and clothing and set up a school to teach reading and writing. The church also runs United American Cemetery where many notable African Americans are buried including Underground Railroad conductors and abolitionists.