Illustration by Ji Sub Jeong/HuffPost; photos from Getty
It’s February, which means Black History Month has arrived. The month is designated as a way to celebrate the triumphs of black Americans throughout history. There are plenty of events, parades and celebrations to attend, but many event planners will be away from home and on the road. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t join the fun—events are taking place all over the country. We’ve gathered a list of exciting events happening in U.S. cities for you to attend this month.
The City of Angels is proud of its diversity. The Department of Cultural Affairs’ African American Heritage Month screens 170 films over the course of 12 days in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza as part of Pan African Film & Arts Festival. You’re bound to find your new favorite movie here. Or visit The Aquarium of the Pacific’s African-American Festival, which celebrates diversity in African-American and African cultures with Mardi Gras “second-line” dancers, jazz musicians and interactive drum circles.
San Francisco Bay Area
The Bay Area embraces its melting pot of cultures. So, it’s no surprise that opportunities to celebrate this essential part of our history are everywhere. If you’re around San Francisco, visit the Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now, showcasing African and African-American dance and culture. In the East Bay, the Oakland Museum of California has “Question Bridge: Black Males,” on display, an interactive exhibit featuring face-to-face interactions through video, allowing you to engage in conversation with more than 160 black men across the U.S. Learn about the past, present and future through their personal stories.
Harlem, New York
New York’s Harlem was once considered the “Black Capital of America.” The neighborhood continues to embrace this culture today. Stop by Harlem Fine Arts Show, which features both an exhibition and sale of African-American art. The show also includes an opening reception, youth empowerment and lecture and artist talks. Or, pick up a ticket and head to The Apollo Theater, where you can listen to a concert that will pay homage to black protest music, or attend their open house for a look into its history and future.
Hundreds of thousands of Southern blacks migrated to Chicago in the early 20th century; explore the impact of this culture in a variety of events throughout the city. Grab some bites during Chicago Black Restaurant Week, which features black-owned eateries for your inner-foodie. Stop by the Black History Month Celebration at Homan Square with live music and dances, or watch The Second City perform a variety of sketches created by black cast members.
Louisiana isn’t afraid to detail its sobering past, which is part of what makes Black History Month so unique in New Orleans. The New Orleans African American Museum of Art Culture and History’s goal is “to preserve, interpret and promote the African American cultural heritage of New Orleans, with a particular emphasis on the Tremé community.” You can also visit Whitney Plantation, which opened in 2014. Visit fields where enslaved people were forced to work, view artwork and restored buildings and read hundreds of first-person slave narratives.
Miami is always ready for a party, and their celebrations of Black History Month reflect that. All throughout the month, experience history and culture in fun and exciting ways. Miami-Dade County hosts an annual Black Heritage Festival, which features music, entertainers and African fashion. Away from the fiesta, you can participate in the Trayvon Martin Peace Walk/Talk, a reception honoring former President Barack Obama’s vision and a variety of art exhibits.
Boston is dedicated to honoring Black History Month to the fullest. Join the African American Patriots Tour, where a guide dressed in 1800s attire will teach you of the bravery of black Bostonians. You’ll learn about plenty of figures who defied the odds stacked against them. Museum of African American History, Boston and Nantucket will feature an exhibit on Frederick Douglass, which includes historic newspapers, photos and handwritten letters.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning events occurring at the Capital. Watch Alvin Ailey, a renowned diverse dance company, perform multiple programs of captivating choreography. You can also attend Afternoon Aviators: Simulators and African-American Pilots, which showcases black pilots who achieved their aviator dreams. Study the messages vividly told by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison in a special lecture series at Montpelier Arts Center.