Black History Month Events Happening Across Metro Detroit

The Henry Ford, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and Detroit Experience Factory are all hosting activities this February
Black History Month - Rosa Parks The Henry Ford
The Rosa Parks bus is on display in The Henry Ford’s With Liberty and Justice For All exhibit. // Photograph by KMS Photography

Institutions across the metro Detroit area are hosting events in celebration of Black History Month. From programs on race relations and kid’s activities to film screenings and museum exhibitions on food and activism in the Black community, there’s plenty of ways to learn more about Black history this February. Check out these events and more below.

The Henry Ford 

This Dearborn museum is hosting a variety of activities for Black History Month. From Feb. 1-March 31, check out a pop-up exhibit called Food Soldiers: Nutrition and Black Activism, and on Feb. 17, attend a free virtual program called THF Conversations: Being Culturally Responsive as an Educator with education consultant and author Zaretta Hammond. The Henry Ford is also highlighting the exhibit With Liberty and Justice for All, which features the Rosa Parks bus, and artifacts related to African American history. Feb. 1-31. No cost with museum admission; buy tickets here and register for the virtual program here. The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.com

Warren Public Library 

Get crafty this Black History Month with the Warren Public Library’s paper quilt activity. In February, the Maybelle Burnette Branch is inviting children to decorate a paper quilt square that honors Black history. The squares will be put together to create one large paper quilt that will be on display throughout the month. No cost; call to register. Feb. 6. Maybelle Burnette Branch, 23345 Van Dyke Ave., Warren, 586-353-0579; warrenlibrary.net 

University of Detroit Mercy

Pulitzer prize-winning author Caleb McDaniel headlines Detroit Mercy’s Black History Month events. McDaniel tells the story of Henrietta Wood, who received the largest-known amount of restitution for slavery awarded by a federal court, in his book Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America. “It was not a very widely known story before I got started on the research for the book,” says McDaniel. “I think it’s important to include the lives of African American women in the ways that we tell American history, because their experience provides a perspective on the nation’s history.” No cost. The McDaniel event takes place on Feb. 2; the university is also holding other Black History Month programs and activities for students, Detroit Mercy employees, and the larger community throughout February. Virtual; udmercy.edu

Black History Month - the wright museum
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is hosting events throughout the month of February. // Photograph courtesy of Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

This Detroit museum is your go-to for all things Black History Month. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is hosting a wide range of events in February, including a weekly virtual series featuring performers with the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers; a Black films series that will show 13th, Hidden Figures, and more; a virtual discussion that will focus on Black fashion during the Harlem Renaissance with designers Shawna McGee and Leonard Davis; and a virtual speaking event for kids (ages 8-18) that gives them the chance to express their thoughts on equality and Afrofuturism. Learn more about these events and others on the museum’s website. Feb. 3-28. No cost with museum admission for in-person events; register online for virtual events. In-person at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-494-5800; and virtual at thewright.org 

Detroit Experience Factory 

In February, join the nonprofit Detroit Experience Factory for three virtual tours related to Black history. On Feb. 6, check out the Black Joy and Inspiration in Detroit tour and hear inspirational stories from the city. On Feb. 9, the A Short History of Racism in Detroit tour will discuss redlining, Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, the uprising of 1967, and more. And on Feb. 23, the Innovation and Inspiration: Black Art and Artists tour will showcase the Black artists who call Detroit home. Donations are accepted for “practically free tickets.” Feb. 6-23. Virtual; detroitexperiencefactory.org 

Oakland University Libraries and Center for Multicultural Initiatives

The Virtual Panel Discussion: Black Lives Matter Activists event will feature a conversation with panelists Teferi Brent, who is a member of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Black Leadership Advisory Council; Victoria Burton-Harris, an attorney and mass incarceration activist; Jai Carrero, Oakland University’s Black Lives Matter president; and more. The panel is moderated by activist and professor Shea Howell of Oakland’s Communication Department. The panel takes place on Feb. 4; Oakland is also holding other programs and activities for students, university employees, and the larger community throughout February. No cost. Virtual; oakland.edu

Detroit Public Library and League of Women Voters Detroit 

The African American Suffrage Movement: Fighting Against All Sides virtual program will cover how Black women — and some men — fought for the right for women to vote in the U.S. Rhonda Craig, president of the League of Women Voters Detroit, will lead the event, and a Q&A session will follow her presentation. Feb. 9. No cost; register online. Virtual; eventbrite.com  

Black History Month - michele norris npr
Catch Michele Norris, former co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered, during a Wayne State University virtual keynote lecture on Feb. 9. // Photograph courtesy of Wayne State University

Wayne State University 

Wayne State University is hosting a keynote lecture called Eavesdropping on America’s Conversation on Race with Michele Norris, former co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered, author of the 2010 book The Grace of Silence: A Memoir, and founder of The Race Card Project. During the event, Norris will share her experiences with race, culture, and communication. “Michele Norris’s work on race relations has propelled conversations around the world — I’m excited to see the momentum carry through to Wayne State,” says Marquita Chamblee, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at the university. A moderated Q&A will follow the lecture. No cost. Feb. 9. Virtual; events.wayne.edu 

Pages Bookshop 

Rochelle Riley, director of Arts and Culture for the city of Detroit, recently published a book called That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World. During a virtual event with Pages Bookshop, Riley will discuss the new release, which features photographs of children — one of whom is her grandson, Caleb — dressed as business owners, educators, and civil rights leaders alongside detailed biographies. No cost; guests can register online and are encouraged to donate to Pages. Feb 11. Virtual; pagesbkshop.com 

Sterling Heights Public Library 

Join the Sterling Heights Public Library for a mid-morning Black History Storytime. Members of the city’s Ethnic Community Committee will read books aloud to a virtual audience to celebrate the month. No cost. Feb. 2. Virtual; events.getlocalhop.com 

Detroit Institute of Arts 

The DIA is hosting a wide range of Black History Month events in February. Catch a digital performance of music by pioneering composer Florence Price; tune into a weekly food and drink demonstration series called Wind Down Wednesday’s – A Celebration of African American Chefs and Mixologists; learn about the work of African American painter Hughie Lee-Smith during a lecture with art historian Alona Cooper Wilson; and celebrate Blackness through photography with your kids during two special Zoom events. The museum’s Detroit Film Theatre is also showing a lineup of films related to Black history as part of its DFT @ Home series. Learn about these events — and others — on the museum’s website. No cost. Through March 1. Virtual; dia.org  

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