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Washington – RealEstateRama – Office of General Services (OGS) Acting Commission Jeanette Moy today announced the 2022 Black History Month observance at the Empire State Plaza will feature exhibits and events celebrating 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,” Acting Commissioner Moy said. “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.”

Black History Month Celebration

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

Sharp Radway is a pianist, composer, arranger, and author who resides in Brooklyn. Sharp has worked with several jazz luminaries and served as music director, pianist, and arranger for The Celebration of Lionel Hampton Big Band and The New City Ska Orchestra.

The Exhibits

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.

In 1976, then-State Senator H. Carl McCall and the Harlem State Office Building Committee on Arts and Culture established the New York State Harlem Art Collection as a product of the community and to fulfill the State’s desire to bring a positive cultural component to the Harlem State Office Building. The collection has over 100 significant works of art produced by predominantly Black and Latino New York City area artists. When the collection was assembled, it signified an important cultural contribution to the Harlem community. Under OGS’s stewardship, the collection’s unique artistic vision and powerful expressiveness have resonated far beyond Harlem, attaining a worldwide audience and international importance.

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 and highlights the activity between Curacao and New Netherland, which later became the English colony of New York and then New York State. The exhibit examines the role that slavery played in the creation and maintenance of the Dutch trading empire and the impact on the lives of enslaved people affected by the trade.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation staff created the exhibition with the support of a grant from the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition and Resistance at Yale University and an immersive study session at the Yale Public History Institute of Yale University.

New York State’s 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art & 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. The student art and essays illustrate Dr. King’s Six Principles and Steps of Nonviolence and celebrate Dr. King’s birthday.

This year, a record-breaking 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 entire exhibit as well as New York State’s 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance, are posted online at www.empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking.

There will also be exhibits devoted to:

  • 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, please visit empirestateplaza.ny.gov.


For Immediate Release
Joseph Brill
518-474-5987 |

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