ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Office of General Services (OGS) is celebrating Black History Month by featuring free exhibits at the Empire State Plaza. The exhibits celebrate the history, accomplishments and culture of African Americans in New York State.

“Each year, Black History Month provides OGS with the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize the central role this community has played in nearly every aspect of New York State’s cultural history,” said OGS Acting Commissioner Jeanette Moy. “I encourage everyone to visit the Empire State Plaza in February to see and experience the informative exhibits that OGS, our state agency partners, and African American organizations created for this occasion.”

OGS will be hosting a Black History Month Celebration on February 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Empire State Plaza concourse. The event includes a free performance by jazz pianist Sharp Radway, a craft show, and food available for purchase from Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen.


Selections From the New York State Harlem Art Collection

A selection of six works of art from the Harlem Art Collection will be displayed near the Empire State Plaza Visitor Center entrance. The works selected represent a range of artists, styles, and materials, including acrylic painting, graphite drawing, and mixed media. The artists represented in this Black History Month display include Barbara Chase-Riboud, Lennon Bernard Cameron, Suzanne Jackson, Winston Kennedy, Russ Thompson, and Randy Williams. 

A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World.

This exhibit focuses on the impact of the 17th century Dutch slave trade network in North America, the Atlantic, and Africa. Located near the Plaza concourse Madison Avenue entrance, the exhibit explores the interconnectedness of the African, Caribbean, South American, North American, and European trade networks of the Dutch West India Company.

New York State’s 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art and Essay Exhibit.

Each year, the New York State Education Department invites schools to honor Dr. King’s memory by submitting original student artworks and essays that reflect Dr. King’s teaching. This year, 2,700 students from more than 90 public and private schools across the state submitted their creations. Several of these student works will be on display near the Empire State Plaza Visitor Center.

The historic Rapp Road Community in the Pine Bush section of Albany

The community was settled during the Great Migration of millions of African Americans from the American South to the industrialized Northeast in the 1900s. The Rapp Road Historic District is a cluster of 23 homes built by African Americans who migrated predominantly from Shubuta, Mississippi between 1927 and 1963. 

The Underground Railroad

This exhibit is presented by the Underground Railroad Education Center in Albany. The Underground Railroad was the movement enslaved African Americans and their descendants used to gain freedom in the 19th century. New York State’s Capital Region saw thousands of enslaved people seeking freedom in the years leading up to the Civil War. The center interprets the Underground Railroad’s history and its relevance today. 

The 369th Veteran’s Association

This display will explore the role of the 369th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion and affiliated units during World War II. Known as the Harlem Hellfighters, the all African American 369th Infantry Regiment from New York was dispatched to fight for France during World War I. The Harlem Hellfighters were subsequently reorganized as the 369th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) in 1940 and were inducted into federal service in 1941. The 360th provided anti-aircraft defense for the Marine Corps on Hawaii and was broken up in 1943 into the 369th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion and the 870th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. In 1945, the 870th participated in the Battle of Okinawa.

For more information, you can visit the Empire State Plaza website.