“Look at your neighbor and say ‘Neighbor, let us march on,’” said Danny Rivera Jr., pausing to speak to onlookers during his rendition of the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Tuesday at City Hall.

The air buzzed with excitement and a profound sense of community during a flag-raising ceremony and commemoration of Black History Month.

Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston’s Equity & Inclusion Cabinet announced the 2024 Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” on Monday. And Tuesday, the city kicked off a series of Black History Month events in Boston, ranging from a Black Veterans Appreciation Luncheon to a ’90s-themed roller skating party called The Melanin Roll to partnerships with the Boston Public Library and Boston Parks.

In her remarks, Wu told the audience that one of the unique aspects of the physical design of City Hall is that there are no false ceilings. “So we are going to have Danny Rivera’s beautiful, heartmoving rendition of the Black national anthem continuing to be lifted up throughout [the] building for a very long time.”

The Rev. Art J. Gordon, pastor at the St. John Missionary Baptist Church, opened the celebration with a prayer, telling the audience that the purpose of this event is “to affirm the Blackness in our history and heritage and all of those who have made this country great.”

The mayor also honored two Boston artists, Paul Goodnight and Shaumba-Yandje Dibinga, in Tuesday’s celebration.

Goodnight, who was raised in Boston, is an artist whose work is inspired by the trauma he endured in the Vietnam War. His works have been displayed in the Smithsonian, at the 1996 Olympic Games and in the home of Maya Angelou. Dibinga founded the local performing arts organization OrigiNation, which is now home to four professional youth dance companies and was awarded the Boston NAACP Image Award.

Taneshia Nash Laird, the president and CEO of the Greater Roxbury Arts and Cultural Center, emphasized in her keynote speech the impact that Black voices have on the creation of culture and community in Boston and across the country. She listed off prominent Boston creatives from Phillis Wheatley to Ed O.G.

“To all of America, I will assert that Black Boston’s past is so much more than Crispus Attucks and the one-time homes of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X,” Nash Laird said. “We are more than that. We are also an incubator and host of artistic talent. We are a crucible of American culture.”