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Black History Month 2024: Black Historical and Cultural Sites (Westchester)

African Americans and the Arts


Bethany Arts Community (Ossining, NY)

The Bethany Arts Community (BAC) presents its 4th annual Black History & Culture exhibition, "Black History & Culture: BLACK PRESENCE. PROFOUND INFLUENCE." Curated by Ossining Village Historian Joyce Sharrock-Cole, this award-winning exhibition opens on February 2, 2024, and runs until March 8, 2024, in BAC's galleries. Expanding beyond Ossining, it shares historic narratives with communities that have globally influenced each uniquely themed Exhibit Gallery, highlighting significant periods in American History shaped by the Black presence.

Ella Fitzgerald Statue (Yonkers, NY)

Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996), the most popular female jazz singer in the U.S. for over half a century, faced racial challenges while conquering bigotry through her music. Raised in Yonkers, she overcame discrimination in white-owned clubs, becoming a musical ambassador for the country. In her honor, artist Vinnie Bagwell created the bronze statue "The First Lady of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald" in 1996, located near the Yonkers Metro-North train station.

The Neuberger Museum of Art, the African Art Collection (Purchase, NY)

African art has been a vital component of the Neuberger Museum of Art since its 1974 opening. The collection significantly expanded in 1999 with a generous gift of 153 works from the late Lawrence Gussman, a prominent collector from Scarsdale, New York. Primarily focused on central Africa, the collection provides artistic perspectives on over 30 cultures, spanning from Mali to Mozambique.

Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site (Yonkers, NY)

Dating from the 1680s, Philipse Manor Hall is located near the confluence of the Nepperhan (Saw Mill) and Hudson Rivers, originally the site of a Munsee Lunaape village. Spanning over 200,000 acres, the estate served four generations of the Philipse family, supported by enslaved individuals and European tenant farmers. The Philipse family, before the Revolutionary War, were prosperous merchants, with enslaved Africans playing a crucial role in their success and in the development of Westchester.The Philipses' global commercial activities linked Westchester to the transatlantic and Indian Ocean slave trade. Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site today offers a unique perspective on Indigenous, European, and African lives at PMH, illuminating the complex relationships from the Dutch Colony of New Netherland to the American Revolution and beyond.

Skinny House (Mamaroneck, NY)

Constructed in 1932 by Black-American carpenter Nathan Thomas Seely, this three-story house on a narrow lot was a response to losing his home and business during the Great Depression. Seely, facing financial and racial challenges, ingeniously built the 10 feet wide house on a 12.5 feet wide plot using salvaged materials. Despite limited resources, the house impressed the New York State Board for Historic Preservation with its efficient design and careful engineering, showcasing Seely's ingenuity and commitment to providing housing for his family.

Hudson River Museum (Yonkers, NY)

Presented to the public as a collection for the first time, these selected works document the Hudgins family’s abiding support of the arts and their vital legacy of Black American collectorship, one that continues to prioritize the success of Black and Brown artists and ensure a more equitable and expansive vision of American art.

Villa Lewaro (Irvington, NY)

Madam C. J. Walker's historic residence, "Villa Lewaro," located in Irvington, New York, serves as a tribute to the resilience of the American entrepreneurial spirit. As a pioneering figure in cosmetics and business, Madam CJ Walker overcame racial challenges to become the first self-made female millionaire in the United States. Villa Lewaro was a notable gathering place for intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance, including James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes. The preservation of Villa Lewaro is a testament to Walker's remarkable life. Acquired by the New Voices Foundation in 2018, the property earned National Historic Landmark status in 1976 for its architectural significance. Its well-maintained interiors retain a high level of historical integrity.

Ella Fitzgerald Statue

Black History Month: “The First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) -  Town of Cortlandt, NY News

Yonkers Metro-North Railroad Station Plaza
5 Buena Vista Avenue, Yonkers

Skinny house

175 Grand Street, Mamaroneck, New York

Villa Lewaro

Madam CJ Walker's House, Villa Lewaro, Still Stands in Irvington NY

Villa Lewaro, 67 N Broadway, Irvington, NY 10533

Events & Restaurants

2024 Black History Month Events in Westchester

Explore the Westchester Family news outlet's curated list of Black History Month events across Westchester. Delve into the stories, history, culture, and art of African-Americans to gain a deeper understanding of their narratives.

Black-Owned Food Spots in Westchester to Visit Right Now

Highlighted in Westchester Magazine, explore an extensive list of Black-owned businesses in Westchester while treating yourself to top-tier eats. Commemorate Black achievements by delving into the culinary establishments that shape Black American food, both at a broader scale and in our local communities. The best way to honor and celebrate is by supporting these businesses. 

Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence!

Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.

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75 Grasslands Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Tel: (914) 606-6600