Celebrate Black History Month with These Local Events

Here’s a look at the exhibits, activities, and more taking place this year.
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The Rosa Parks Bus in on display at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation's "With Liberty and Justice for All" exhibit. // Photograph by KMS Photography, The Henry Ford Museum

From panel discussions and exhibits to film screenings and much more, here’s a look at what organizations and institutions across the metro Detroit area are doing this year to celebrate Black History Month 2024.

The Satin Doll Revue

Unlimited Sky Productions and The Preservation of Jazz presents this jazz show in celebration of Black History Month. At the center of the show is a performance by jazz artist Sky Covington’s Satin Doll Review. The evening promises “soulful melodies, timeless classics, and a tribute to the rich cultural legacy of Black icons. Feb. 12. Aretha’s Jazz Cafe, 350 Madison, Detroit; jazzcafedetroit.com

The Henry Ford

The Dearborn museum is presenting many exhibits you can visit during Black History Month. Locals can stop by the museum to see the exhibit, “To Establish the Rule of Justice:” 60 Years of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which explores the Civil Rights Act and how it changed the course of the country. The Rosa Parks Bus will also be on display in the With Liberty and Justice for All exhibit for guests to learn how important she was for the Civil Rights movement. Plus, curator discussions, music and dance performances, a screening of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, guided tours, and much more. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation; 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; thehenryford.org.

Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

The jazz ensemble heads out on their 50th annual February North American tour in support of their upcoming album, Open Me, A Higher Consciousness of Sound and Spirit, just in time for Black History Month. The show makes a stop in the Motor City on Feb. 17. N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, 52 E. Forest Ave., Detroit; pitchperfectpr.com

Southfield Parks & Recreation

Gather at the Southfield Pavilion on Feb. 3 for the Southfield Parks & Recreation Department’s free Black History Month kick-off event, which features dance performances, a head wrap demonstration, music spun by DJ Deezy D, and more. The Black History 101 Mobile Museum and a Black-owned Business Marketplace, will also be on site. The department will also host a Conversation & Cocktails event on Feb. 10 with musical and spoken word performances, along with a free movie night on Feb. 16. Thee will also be a Black History Month luncheon on Feb 15, performances by The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers on Feb. 23, and the Walk Through History display. Ticket fees apply for some events. City of Southfield Parks and Recreation, 26000 Evergreen Road, Southfield; cityofsouthfield.com.

Detroit Book City

This year, Detroit Book City is celebrating Black History Month with two special events. The first is the Black History Book Fair on Feb. 3, featuring some of your favorite Black authors at Party with a Tee in Wayne. The 8th Annual African American Family Book Expo falls on Feb. 17 and offers the chance to purchase autographed books by Black independent authors from across the country while celebrating Black History Month. Admission is free with an Eventbrite ticket. Detroit Book City, 27260 Southfield Road, Suite, 201, Lathrup Village; detroitbookcity.com.

TechTown Detroit

The Black Business Reunion: Uniting the Community for Prosperityconference will celebrate the legacy of both veteran and up-and-coming Black-owned businesses. The event will feature two panels: The Elders’ Corner, which features some of the area’s most successful business owners who will share their top tips, and The Youngins’ Show-and-Tell, which showcases emerging entrepreneurs. Feb. 22. Wayne State University Industry Innovation Center, 461 Burroughs St., Detroit; techtowndetroit.org

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

The Wright Museum’s 22,000-square-foot space features over 20 galleries including the And Still We Rise exhibit. This exhibit starts in ancient Africa and covers all the way to the Civil Rights movement and beyond. Visitors will be able to see what living conditions were like back in those times and see stories that will touch the soul. The museum will also host special events that center around Black history throughout the month including a book talk and celebration for Ibram X. Kendi, film screenings, and conversation sessions with Benjamin Crump and Nikki Giovanni. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 Warren Ave., Detroit; thewright.org.

University of Detroit Mercy

The University of Detroit Mercy is presenting a number of Black History Month events including Black history trivia and Jeopardy, book discussions on titles like By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners and Master, Slave, Husband, Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom, along with panel discussions, special Black History Month basketball games, tours of Motown Museum, workshops, and so much more. University of Detroit Mercy, 4001 West McNichols Road, Detroit; udmercy.edu.

Emagine Entertainment

In celebration of Black History Month, select Emagine theaters will screen four African American-influenced films including Do the Right Thing (R) Feb. 2-8, Mo’ Better Blues (R) Feb. 9-15, Straight Outta Compton (R) Feb. 16-22, and American Gangster (R) Feb. 23-29. Ticket fees apply. Visit website for locations; emagine-entertainment.com

Ann Arbor District Library

The Ann Arbor District Library has a Black Lives Matter Mural on the south side of Library Lane. Eight artists worked for nearly a year on the piece to show what “Black Lives Matter” means to them individually. They also have many more resources regarding Black Lives Matter on their website. Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 South 5th Ave., Ann Arbor; aadl.org.

Oakland Community College

Tastebuds will be tingling at Oakland Community College’s A Taste of Heritage, History, & Hope – Black History Month Lunch Buffet. On Feb. 1, the Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice Office are joining forces with the Culinary Studies Institute to make authentic dishes in honor of Black History Month. The cost is $15 and you need to register before the event. Oakland Community College, Building J, 27055 Orchard Lake Road., Farmington Hills; oaklandcc.edu.

This post has been updated for 2024.