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Historian Jelani Cobb discusses Civil Rights, Ferguson, and race in America.

Calendar of Programs



Fiction by Black Writers: Who Are the Readers?Fiction by Black Writers
Tue, Feb 21, 6:30 pm
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith, Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi…some of today’s biggest names in fiction are black writers, and yet a predominantly white publishing industry maintains the assumption that black literature lacks marketability. Join writer and distinguished academic Dr. Elizabeth Nunez for a panel discussion challenging this assumption, with Essence Magazine book editor Patrik Henry Bass, Vice President, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of Random House’s One World Chris Jackson, President of the Authors’ Guild Roxana Robinson, and editorial director at Akashic Books Ibrahim Ahmad.

Groupmuse at Brooklyn Historical SocietyA Chamber Music Celebration of Black History Month
Thu, Feb 23, 7:30 pm
Tickets now available through Groupmuse!
BHS is pleased to partner on this special program with Groupmuse, the arts organization that brings classical musicians to living rooms for intimate listening parties. For Black History Month, join us in BHS's grand "living room" to hear works by African American composers and lyricists, including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Maya Angelou. Enjoy performances by the violin, cello, and piano ensemble Warp Trio, percussionist Rick Martinez, as well as Sylver Wallace, vocalist, and LiKUiD, emcee.


LGBTQ RightsLGBTQ Rights: The Struggles, Victories, and On-Going Fight for Equality
Wed, Mar 1, 6:30 pm
$10 / Free for Members
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The fight against LGBTQ discrimination is at the leading edge of civil rights work today. An expert panel,
including Susan Sommer, Associate Legal Director and Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal, James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project, Cara Page, Executive Director of the Audre Lorde Project, and journalist Mark Harris, whose marriage to Tony Kushner was the first same-sex marriage to be featured in the NY Times’ “Vows” column, will discuss them past, present, and future of the fight for equality. Linda Villarosa, director of the journalism program at the City College of New York, moderates.

Are We There Yet, Sisters? Will We Ever Be? A Conversation with Julie Scelfo and Debora Spar
Thu, Mar 9, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members
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Power dynamics, double standards, leaning in, work-life balance… are gender disparities still ruling our female lives? Hear from two women who have, literally, written the book. Debora Spar is Barnard College’s 7th President and the author of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection. Julie Scelfo’s just published work, The Women Who Made New York, chronicles dozens of untold stories of women who made New York City the cultural epicenter of the world. They discuss glass ceilings, sexism, and getting older and wiser in this program presented as part of Women’s History Month.

Jane JacobsThe Legacy of Jane Jacobs
Thu, Mar 16, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members
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In 1960 Jane Jacobs’s book The Death and Life of Great American Cities sent shockwaves through the architecture and planning worlds. Join us as New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante talks to Matt Tyrnauer, director and producer of the acclaimed documentary Citizen Jane: Battle For the City, Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, and Dr. Samuel Zipp, Associate Professor of American and Urban Studies at Brown University and co-editor of Vital Little Plans: The Short Works of Jane Jacobs, about Jacobs’ extraordinary impact on the urban landscape.

Book Talk: City of DreamsBook Talk: City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York
Mon, Mar 20, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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The United States is a country built on immigrants, and New York has long been a defining port of entry for those looking to make this place home. Historian Tyler Anbinder shares the sweeping story of how newcomers have continually helped to define and redefine this city and country over the past few centuries, and shows how together, we have created a beautifully dynamic, deeply complex community.

Whose ParkWhose Park? Equity in NYC's Green Spaces
Wed, Mar 22, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members
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In our congested city, parks and green spaces aim to provide some respite for all. But do they indeed serve every New Yorker equally? Is sharing our green space more easily said than done? New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman moderates a candid discussion with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and former Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer about parks, equity, and the complicated mediation between users.

The MothThe Moth StorySLAM: Partners in Crime
Wed, Mar 29
7 pm doors; 7:30 pm show
Tickets available by BHS and Moth eblasts in early March. Don't miss the emails by signing up here and here.
America's favorite live storytelling competition returns to BHS! In connection with our exhibition Truman Capote's Brooklyn: The Lost Photographs of David Attie, the theme of the evening is Partners in Crime. Come and tell a 5 minute story about those who egg you on: the Harper Lee to your Truman Capote, the Thelma to your Louise. Regal us with tales of relationships that push you to the edge but get you out alive.


The Brooklyn AmericansScreening: Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans
Mon, Apr 3, 6:30 pm
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Brooklyn hockey fans cheered when the Islanders moved to Barclays, but few realized that the borough was home to an earlier, little-known professional hockey team named the Brooklyn Americans. Join us for the premiere of director/producer Dale Morrisey's new documentary about this forgotten story, followed by a talk back with MSG sportscaster Stan Fischler and New York Times hockey reporter Allan Kreda.

Sam Roberts and Pete HamillSam Roberts in Conversation with Pete Hamill
Thu, Apr 6, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members
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Join The New York Times's Sam Roberts as he talks about life, writing, and coming home to Brooklyn with award-winning writer Pete Hamill.

Jackie Robinson Documentary Screening Part 1Documentary: Jackie Robinson, Part One
Introduced by filmmakers Sarah Burns and David McMahon
Wed, Apr 12, 6:30 pm
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On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson first put on a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey and broke the color barrier in professional baseball. To celebrate, we are screening Ken Burns’s documentary on the life and legacy of this American icon over the course of two nights. We’re honored to welcome co-directors, producers, and writers Sarah Burns and David McMahon to introduce Part One, which looks at Robinson’s journey from his birth in rural Georgia through his successful first season with the Dodgers.

Offered in connection with BHS’s exhibition on Jackie Robinson and his historic breaking of major league baseball’s color barrier.

Siri HustvedtPerson Place Thing
with Randy Cohen and Siri Hustvedt
Thu, Apr 13, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members
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Randy Cohen brings his popular podcast back to BHS, this time with special guest, award-winning novelist and essayist Siri Hustvedt.

Superfund BrooklynSuperfund Brooklyn
Tue, Apr 18, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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Three major environmental remediation project sites lie within or on Brooklyn’s borders, and each at big development sites: Newtown Creek, Gowanus Canal, and Wolff-Alport. Join Jarrett Murphy, Executive Publisher of City Limits, as he talks to a panel of experts about the history of these sites, cleanup efforts, and what this means for the borough.

Documentary Screening Jackie Robinson Part 2Documentary: Jackie Robinson, Part Two
Introduced by WSJ columnist Jason Gay
Wed, Apr 19, 6:30 pm
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We conclude our screening of the Ken Burns production, Jackie Robinson, with Part Two, which takes us through Robinson’s career with the Brooklyn Dodgers and into his life beyond baseball, when he found new ways to fight discrimination. Wall Street Journal sports columnist Jason Gay introduces the film.

Offered in connection with BHS’s exhibition on Jackie Robinson and his historic breaking of major league baseball’s color barrier.

If These Walls Could TalkIf These Walls Could Talk
Sun, Apr 30, 2 pm
$50 / $35 for Members
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Elizabeth Call returns to BHS for her immensely popular introduction to Brooklyn house research. In this intensive workshop, you’ll gain hands-on experience using archival images, records, and documents to uncover the secret history of your Brooklyn home.

Brooklyn Heights Tours

Big Onion Brooklyn Heights TourHistoric Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour

Explore New York City’s first Landmark District on a special tour co-sponsored by Big Onion and BHS! End your excursion at BHS, where you'll receive free admission and a behind-the-scenes look at our magnificent 1881 building. Check out the schedule of upcoming tours HERE and start planning your next Brooklyn adventure!Big Onion


Brooklyn Historical Society requires 24 hours notice before the date of the event to refund a ticket. No refunds are provided after that point. This means no refunds are provided on the day of the event and all subsequent days.

Bank of AmericaPublic Programs are made possible, in part, by a generous grant from Bank of America. 

Additonal funding provided by The Agnes Varis Trust.