February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.
Black History Month began in 1926 as part of an initiative by writer and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson, and since 1976, every American president has proclaimed February as Black History Month. In honor of the successes and advancements Black Americans have achieved and contributed to society, check out these local ways to celebrate Black history and learn in 2024.
BLACK HISTORY WALKING TOURS
Hosted by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. as part of the World of Winter programming are various Black History Walking Tours throughout the month of February. These one-hour tours specifically examine Grand Rapids' African American population from 1826 to present day. To see specific dates and more details, visit World of Winter.
MOVIES GALORE AT WEALTHY THEATRE
All month long, Wealthy Theatre has programming those looking to honor and celebrate Black History Month won't want to miss. From Coming to America on February 6 to The Color Purple (from which a portion of ticket sales benefit local organization Black Art Matters) on February 7, you'll want to secure your tickets early.
GRAND RAPIDS AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
A visit to the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives is a definite must. It's here visitors could explore exhibits and galleries showcasing memorabilia, artifacts, art and imagery celebrating Black stories, lives, culture and history. Lead by Director and Curator, George A. Bayard III, GRAAMA is open year-round with programs and events for adults, children and families.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY PROGRAMMING
During Black History Month, Grand Valley State University and the Office of Multicultural Affairs are hosting a number of events that are in celebration of Black History Month. Some events include a film screening of Judas and the Black Messiah on February 21, a "For the Culture: Quiz Bowl" in collaboration with the GVSU African & African American Studies program on February 27 and Taste of Soul, a celebration and sampling of soul food.
BLACK HISTORY AND STORIES AT GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC LIBRARY
Venture to Grand Rapids Public Library with your young ones for Black History Month Storytimes, taking place early in the month at a number of GRPL branches. Storytimes, ideal for children up to age five, will highlight Black stories and include songs, fingerplays and hands-on fun. Classes end with a special art activity and playtime.
Of course, these are just a few options for celebrating Black History Month. Be sure to check out Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses for a directory of Black-owned businesses in the area to support all year round.
Courtesy of West Michigan Woman.