February is the month we celebrate African American culture.
Whether it’s art exhibitions, lectures and panel discussions, musical performances or community celebrations, there are plenty of places to visit where we can be inspired to carry on our culture’s knowledge and legacy.
Originally called Negro History Week, Black History Month was established in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History.”
Woodson dedicated his life to educating African Americans about the achievements and contributions of their ancestors.
The Chicago Defender presents a guide to Chicago’s 2024 Black History Month events and activities that highlight Black achievement, creativity, ingenuity and history.
The event will feature a keynote speaker, live music and a silent auction.
An original member of the ground-breaking Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, El’ Zabar and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble has performed African percussive traditions blended with avant-garde jazz for half a century. They will play at the Promontory Chicago.
Proud South Sider Sherman “Dilla” Thomas — founder of Mahogany Tours, son of a Chicago police officer, and TikTok dad — explains how the power of storytelling can change the narrative about Chicago.
This is your chance to show off your paint skills and celebrate Black History Month. Plus, there will be a ton of beautiful African-American canvases to paint.
The Grammy-award-winning musician joins the Chicago Jazz Orchestra to present a musical portrait of Civil Rights icons like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama at the Chicago Symphony Center.
The extraordinary life and legacy of jazz drummer Max Roach is celebrated with a film screening and performance at the DuSable Museum.
In partnership with the South Side Home Movie Project, with support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, the SSCAC hosts a special screening that showcases the select cinema reels of Ramon Williams, the Black IBEW electrician and film hobbyist who documented Bronzeville between the 1940s and 1960s.
Get ready for an all-day screening of films by and about Black women. In 1976, Faith Ringgold and a group of Black feminist artists organized this first-ever Black women’s film festival. In 2024, the Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts is still going strong.
Preview recordings of Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders who were part of the historic Chicago Breadbasket Movement at the Chicago History Museum.
Nat Myers explores the intersection of blues with soul and gospel and gives a nod to his Black and Korean heritage with complex blues rhythms at the Logan Center for the Arts.
Prepare to laugh out loud at this revue of songs, sketches and improv that is all about Black joy at Second City.
Chicago BLACK Restaurant Week
Feb. 11 – Feb. 25
A restaurant event for us and by us that is all about showcasing us, as in our extraordinary restaurants. Visit a business of your choice on the CBRW participants list (see themed days for more info) and go support. If you choose, take your pics, and tag CBRW for a repost.
This event promises to be historic as it showcases legendary Westside Blues artists alongside some of the next generation of Blues players.
Now until Feb. 11
Witness the premiere of Grammy-Award-winning jazz musician Terrence Blanchard’s “Champion,” an “opera in jazz” that chronicles the life of welterweight Emile Griffith, now playing at the Lyric Opera.
Dance across a musical landscape that features African rhythms accented with funk, jazz and soul influences during Cameroonian musician Peter Jericho’s free Black History Month concert at Old Town School of Folk Music.
You can celebrate Black culture by crafting earrings that show off your Black pride all while sipping your favorite beverage. Remember to bring the wine as this is also a BYOW event as well.
This special BHM event will feature a variety of vendors, including local artists and entrepreneurs.
This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the history and contributions of Black Chicago through activities centered on “African Americans and the Arts.”
Celebrate Black history and learn about community reparations initiatives at this Kehrein Center for the Arts celebration.
Black Creativity Career Showcase
Celebrate Black Creativity by engaging with local African-American artists, scientists, and engineers to explore innovative work in our city.
Glide across the floor in the iconic dance created on Chicago’s south side during this monthly event that includes stepping lessons and performances.
Join us for a hilarious conclusion to Black History Month at Studio Prolific’s Immersive Comedy Show Experience.
The Month of February
Take a guided tour of the historic Wabash Y, which stood at the heart of cultural and economic progress for Blacks in Bronzeville.
This long-running showcase of African American art has occurred every year at the MSI since 1970. The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition features paintings, drawings, fine art prints, sculpture, mixed-media, ceramics and photography by Black artists.
Explore the array of art, sculptures, lithographs and drawings adorning the walls of the historic Johnson Publishing Company building – Chicago’s inaugural high-rise crafted by a Black architect.
Explore six decades of artwork, encompassing story quilts, paintings, soft sculptures and performance pieces that encapsulate the multifaceted career of Faith Ringgold—an artist, activist, educator, and author.
This exhibition chronicles Dr. King’s enduring legacy, with a particular focus on his impactful presence in Chicago during the 1960s.
Explore the captivating journey of Pauli Murray, a Black LGBTQ+ lawyer, poet, activist and priest whose profound influence extended to the Civil Rights Movement and Supreme Court decisions. The American Writers Museum showcases the remarkable life and impact of this multifaceted individual.
This exhibit delves into the theme of racial injustice, examining the contributions of Black writers from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement.
Embark on a journey through the rich history and cultural legacies of Chicago’s Bronzeville, Englewood, and North Lawndale communities throughout the entire month with acclaimed urban historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas.
Celebrate Black History Month every day, continue to impact the world, come together to eat, or even while doing the cha cha slide. We reserve the whole month to remember, uplift, honor, and recognize the achievements and contributions of African Americans.