City of Salem’s Human Rights Coalition announces Black History Month Events and Activities

Charlotte Forten Grimke

The City of Salem’s Human Right’s Coalition is excited to present a series of events and activities in honor of Black History Month.

Black History Month Community Celebration & Flag Raising - Saturday, February 3, 2024 @ 2:30pm

Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square – 1st Floor, Salem MA - Free & All Are Welcome!

The Salem Human Rights Coalition invites you to be a part of a Black History Month Community Celebration & Flag Raising. Hot chocolate and a big helping of community pride will be served!

Artist Ai Qui Hopen of Humanity Memorial will on site, seeking feedback from the community on her Charlotte Forten Memorial design. The community is invited to connect with the artist to provide feedback on details for the commissioned Charlotte Forten Memorial sculpture such as Charlotte’s expression and likeness, which of her writings to include, and where they should adorn the statue.

An engaging speaking program led by the City of Salem Human Rights Coalition and including a variety of Salem residents and local Black-centered organizational leaders will formally kick off Black History Month in Salem.

Following the speaking portion of the event, guests will be invited to join the City of Salem Human Rights Coalition outdoors in Riley Plaza for a formal Flag Raising.  (Attendees are encouraged to dress warmly in anticipation of chilly outdoor temperatures.)

Come celebrate and honor Black History in Salem, stay for the hot chocolate and community!


Salem Public Schools Charlotte Forten Display at Old Town Hall – On view February 19th – 29th 2024

With a special thanks to all of the participating students and teachers, Old Town Hall is pleased host to a unique installation featuring ‘idea boards’ and other projects from a variety of Salem Public School classrooms on the theme of Charlotte Forten’s life and legacy. Along with this display will be a brief history of Charlotte Forten and her connections to Salem, an overview timeline of her life, a small family tree, images of what the finished sculpture will look like, and project updates. Open the Monday of February school vacation week, this event is free & open to the public. The public is invited to visit and view the exhibit at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem MA, from February 19th – 29th 2024, exhibit hours each week: Mon. Tues. & Wed. 10am - 4pm; Thur. 10am - 7pm.; Fri. 9am-12noon.; Sat. & Sun. 9am - 4pm.


Ode to Charlotte Forten & Other Black Salem Stories Community Event – Saturday, Feb. 24th @ 11am

The community is invited to attend a pilot programming initiative lead by the Salem Human Rights Coalition to elevate and spotlight Black stories from Salem’s past and present. The event will take place at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem MA, on the 1st Floor Colonnade among the installation of SPS student ‘idea boards’ and is free and open to all.

The event will include live historical interpretations and presentations on the life and writings of Charlotte Forten Grimke and why her legacy matters to Salem to this day. Come learn a bit about Charlotte and other prominent Black stories in Salem’s history, hear updates on the City’s Charlotte Forten Memorial Project, and share in poetry, songs, comradery, and more!


Charlotte’s Salem for Salem Public School Students – Monday, Feb. 26th 2024 @ 9, 10, & 11am

Note: This event is not open to the general public.

The City of Salem and History Alive Inc. will welcome approx. 100 Salem Public School elementary students to participate in a free immersive interactive learning opportunity, entitled ‘Charlotte’s Salem’ on Monday, Feb. 26th at Old Town Hall.

Produced by Salem's longtime resident theater company History Alive Inc., this inclusive adaptation of their immersive historical walking tour ‘Charlotte's Salem’, is an interactive theatrical experience where students will engage with ideas, products, and politics as Charlotte Forten would have experienced them during her time in Salem. Samples from Charlotte's journals and poetry will be shared, along with highlights from the lives and experiences of other members of Salem's Black leaders and community members of the time. Students learn through hands-on engagement just how much Charlotte's legacy is still connected to our lives today. This opportunity is sponsored by the City of Salem and provided by History Alive Inc. This program fits well with the students’ current learning path and dovetails with the idea boards on display in the building. Old Town Hall, located at 32 Derby Square, Salem MA, is an accessible building. This opportunity is sponsored by the Charlotte Forten Memorial initiative and is provided by History Alive Inc. The program aligns with students’ current learning paths and dovetails with the idea boards on display in the building. 

Lastly, keep an eye on the Salem Public Schools and Salem Arts & Culture social media feeds throughout the month of February for a series of special Charlotte Forten themed posts. Follow us at @salemschoolsK12 (Twitter/X); @salempublicschools (Facebook, Instagram); and @SalemArtsCulture (Facebook, Instagram).

Lisa Peterson
Chief of Staff – Mayor Dominick Pangallo
City of Salem
(978) 619-5600 |