10 Local Events Honoring Black History Month

Puppet shows, plays, photography, and more


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U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith // Photograph Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts

Metro Detroit observes Black History Month with a full agenda of programming. Add some of the following events to your February calendar and engage with the resounding impact of African Americans on the city’s and nation’s history, culture, and arts.


Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: Join author and photographer Terrence A. Reese as he discusses his book, Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans. The documentary-style photo series encapsulates the personal lives of renowned African Americans who’ve profoundly impacted the political, economic, and social landscape of the 20th century and beyond. Feb. 10. 315 E Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-494-5800; thewright.org

The Detroit Institute of Arts: The DIA will honor African-American creativity with a full month of curated programing. Events celebrating black education and entertainment include artist demonstrations, film screenings, puppet performances, live music, and more. Programming for the month was conceived through a collaborate effort with local African American artists and leaders, including Aaron Foley, Marsha Philpot, Megan Davis, Ryan Myers-Johnson, Sabrina Nelson, Sydney James, and Tylonn Sawyer. Feb. 2-23. Free with admission. 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org

Detroit Historical Museum: African American History Day is a free event for the whole family. Guests are invited to learn about Detroit’s African American history through stories, educational programming, drop-in-tours, and more. Feb. 24. 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1805; detroithistorical.org

Michigan Science Center: Throughout the month, the Michigan Science Center will be celebrating the work of African American scientists inside the Explainer Station. Kids are invited explore through activities focused on heart dissections, binary communication, cockroaches, and more. Feb. 1-25. Free with admission. 5020 John R St., Detroit; 313-577-8400; mi-sci.org

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation: Delve into African American history ranging from the beginnings of jazz music to the presidency of Barack Obama. Guests can gain a deeper understanding of the civil rights movement and the contributions of African American innovators. Feb 1-15. Free with admission. 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.org

PuppetART Theatre: Families are invited to the Jazz Café at the Music Hall for Oh Ahanse!, a West African-inspired puppet show. The show tells the tale of Kwaku Ananse, the spider man who wants to earn the right to tell stories to his people when the sky god Nyame gives him three daunting tasks. Feb 25. $10+. 350 Madison St., Detroit; 313-887-8501; puppetart.org

Allesee Dance Theatre: To Sangana, a dance company of cross-campus theatre majors and minors, wo;; celebrate the rich cultural traditions of African heritage and contemporary African-American experiences in this special performance. This combination of music, theatre, visual art, and movement aims to invigorate and educate audiences. Feb 10. 12+. 4841 Cass Ave #3226, Detroit; 313-577-3508; theatreanddanceatwayne.com

Hilberry Theatre: George C. Wolfe presents The Colored Museum, a satirical play that has electrified and discomforted audiences by redefining ideas of what it means to be black in contemporary America. The play unpacks stereotypes, both past and present, with funny and poignant stories about African-American culture and experiences. Feb. 2-18. 12+. 4743 Cass Ave, Detroit.; 313-577-2972; theatreanddanceatwayne.com

Rochester Hills Public Library: The Black Scrolls Network welcomes you to join Names Unspoken: Unsung Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, where educator and historian Jamon Jordan will discuss many of the unknown people and events of the Civil Rights Movement. Feb 6. Free. 500 Olde Towne Rd., Rochester; 248-656-2900; rhpl.org

Elmwood Park Library: At another Black Scrolls Network event, Jamon Jordan will delve into the significant history of Detroit’s Black Bottom, Paradise Valley, and Hastings Street neighborhoods. Jordan will lecture about the underground railroad, housing segregation, and the policies that helped to create the areas, and then eventually lead to their destruction. Feb. 17. Free. 550 Chene St., Detroit; 313-481-1730; detroitpubliclibrary.org

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