NPF’s African American Experience Fund Invites Americans To Dive Into History

Thursday, January 31, 2013NPF News
​Learn How to Visit, Volunteer, and Support These Historic Places at

Washington, D.C. (January 31, 2013) - Each February, our nation pauses to collectively recognize the significant contributions African Americans have made to our country.  The African American Experience Fund (AAEF) of the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, celebrates Black History Month by inviting everyone to experience the full spectrum of African American history through stories, events and milestones that are preserved across the national park system.

“Our national parks represent places where history has taken place,” says Lydia Sermons, executive director, African American Experience Fund. “Our lives are touched today, by history that began more than more than 150 years ago when President Abraham Lincoln was inspired to begin writing the Emancipation Proclamation at Fort Monroe National Historic Site which ended slavery in America.

And 50 years ago thousands of Americans Marched on the National Mall and joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his “I Have a Dream,” speech; an event which inspired the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall.

Throughout February, there are unique events taking place at parks supported by the African American Experience Fund.  Visit or volunteer at a park near you, and learn how to support the critical work of AAEF to maintain, enrich and grow these vital places. 


Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
What was the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP)?
February 9, 2013; 11:00 AM
Program will discuss what the Civilian Pilot Training Program was and what constitutes a Tuskegee Airman as well as similarities and differences.

Tuskegee Institute Industries:  The Importance of Self Sufficiency
February 9, 2013; 1:30 PM
Join park staff as they discuss the variety of skills taught at the school and why it was crucial for the success of the students.

Can You Sustain Yourself? 
February 16, 2013; 10:00 AM
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, Lowndes Interpretive Center, Join a ranger to learn general techniques to self-sustainability through home gardening. Understand the methods of tenant farming and sharecropping in Lowndes County which led to the formation of Tent City. The first 20 participants will receive a FREE at-home plant starter kit. Feel free to bring your own potting materials.

* All events are FREE and open to the public. 

Boston African American National Historical Site
Freedom Rising Lowell Lecture Series “Giants of Abolition, Frederick Douglass, John Brown and Abraham Lincoln
Thursday, January 31, 2013
This event launches the new Lowell Lecture Series and the Museum's yearlong commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the first black soldiers from the north to serve in the Civil War. Hear from this noted scholar about how these giants of abolition helped change the course of American history
Location: African Meeting House, 46 Joy Street, Boston, MA 02108

MLK and Signs of Freedom
Now through the end of February, 2013
Don’t miss this new exhibit of rare photographs by Ernest Withers of Martin Luther King Jr., poignant scenes of the American Civil Rights movement, and powerful broadsides from organized freedom movements dating back to the 1850s
Location: Abiel Smith School, 46 Joy Street, Boston, MA 02018

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Celebrating the Legacy of Josephine Pankey
Saturday February 9, 2013; 1:00-3:00 PM
With her giving spirit, Josephine Pankey refused to let racism tarnish her ambition or defer her dreams. With self-determination, she became a leading philanthropist, educator, community activist and community developer in Little Rock, Arkansas.

From the Pulpit to the Movement
Saturday February 22-23, 2013
Reverend James Webb II will commence in dialogue with students at Central High School and Baptist College on the March to Washington. Webb, a child of the Civil Rights Movement worked to secure voting rights, and interfaced with Sheriff Clark on the steps of City Hall in Alabama, participated in the Poor People's Campaign leading to the 1963 March on Washington D.C. Webb will speak on Saturday, February 23 to the general public on the subject "From Martin to Mandela to Me," examining the influences of these individuals on the making of America.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Frederick Douglass Birthday Celebration
Saturday, February 16, 2013; 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
For the Frederick Douglass Birthday celebration, the theme this year is on Douglass' involvement in the Civil War.  We will have Civil War Re-enactors that will portray U.S. Colored Troops, a Civil War exhibit that is housed in a tractor trailer, children's activities, music, house tours, and a    variety of exhibitors in our visitor center.  The event is Free.

Civil War Combat on the Silver Screen
Sunday, February 17, 2013; 1:00 PM
Explore the history of Civil War combat through scenes from “Gettysburg”, “Gods and Generals”, and “Glory.”  See what they got right and what they got wrong.  Learn about how the tactics of the day shaped the construction of the Civil War defenses of Washington, and the role these defenses played in protecting the capital.
*Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is located at 1411 W Street SE, Washington, DC 20020, (202) 426-5961

For more information on these and many other February events, or for year-round activities across the national park system, visit


Established in 2001, the African American Experience Fund (AAEF), a program of the National Park Foundation, is dedicated to protecting, preserving and telling the stories of the natural, cultural, and historical legacies of African Americans within the national park system.


The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America’s nearly 400 national parks and their programs.  Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America’s treasured places.