February 1st is the official kick-off of Black History Month, and with it come festivals, exhibits, and lectures celebrating African-American history and culture. Below is a sampling of 2008 events happening across the country. For a list of regularly occurring events, see Celebrate Black History Month All Year Long.
381 Days: Montgomery Bus Boycott Story Exhibit
This traveling Smithsonian exhibit will be at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis during Black History Month. The display and accompanying events tell the story behind the bus boycott that started in Montgomery, Alabama. Included in the exhibit are speakers, films, concerts, and other educational opportunities.
When: February 7–April 13. Please check museum Web site for event specific times and dates.
Where: National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN.
Cost: Regular museum admission rates.
The History of African American Migrant Women During World War II
The City of Oakland has a long list of activities related to the 2008 Black History Month including poetry, museum exhibits, films, and music. The above talk, held at the Oakland Museum of California, features Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, chair of the history department at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, and Betty Reid Soskin, community liaison to the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front Project in Richmond. Santangelo will lead a discussion about the struggles of African-American women who moved to the East Bay during WWII to work in the war industries.
When: 10:30 a.m., Monday, February 25.
Where: Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA.
Cost: Free admission.
Festival Sundiata is the Pacific Northwest’s largest African-American festival celebrated during Black History Month. The theme for their 28th annual event, held on President’s Day weekend, is “Shades of Black—Colors of Success.” The festival includes music, education, photography, art, and cuisine with an emphasis on culture and history.
When: February 15–18, with selected exhibits running through February 24.
Where: Seattle Center, Seattle, WA.
2008 Night of 100 Stars
The DuSable Museum of African American History is holding its annual “A Night of 100 Stars: Chicago African-American History Makers” Gala. This award honors black Chicagoans, current and former, who have made outstanding contributions to business, medicine, entertainment, and finance. The evening includes an awards ceremony, dinner, drinks, and entertainment.
When: 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, February 16.
Where: DuSable Museum, 740 East 56th Place, Washington Park, Chicago, IL.
Cost: $300 per person; proceeds benefit the museum’s educational programs and its 2008/2009 exhibits.
Jazz at the Lincoln Center
The Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York City will be holding an array of musical events for Black History Month, including two concerts from the American Songbook series: R&B singer Bettye LaVette and jazz singer Jimmy Scott. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will be performing “Ellington Love Songs.” A free trombone jazz battle will take place at Dizzy’s Club, Coca-Cola.
When: Various events will take place throughout February; please see Web site for specific time and dates.
Where: The Lincoln Center, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY.
Cost: Varies depending on event; some shows are free.