Celebrate Black History Month in West Michigan


Feb. 1

Black History Month Trivia Contest. Participate in Hackley Library’s annual Black History Month Trivia Contest. Form a group with your friends and family (up to 4 per team) and pit your knowledge against other teams. Register your team for this free event by calling 231-722-8011, or by visiting HPL’s online events calendar. Hackley Public Library. 2-3 pm. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 3

Poetry Open Mic Night & Black History Month Calendar Awards. Read your own poetry, or read works from your favorite Black History/Black Experience/African American poet. If you wish to share a poem/piece, please register by calling 231-722-8011, or by visiting HPL’s online events calendar. Walk-ins welcome. Hackly Public Library. 6-7:30 pm. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 4

Black History Month — Dr. Damani Phillips. Dr. Damani Phillips will be presenting the Black History Month Keynote Lecture, entitled “Jazz in the Fight for Civil Rights: Jazz as Activist Music.” 5:30-7 pm. Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, Concert Hall. Click here for more information.   

Feb. 8, 15, 22

 Black Family History Series. Join us for a series of workshops that will help you learn about and document your family’s genealogical history. Hosted by local genealogist Joyce Daniels, the series will help you investigate your roots and connect with others around family history. Registration is not required, however a lunch will be provided if you RSVP to rsvp@grpl.org. Main Library. 10:00 am – 3:30 pm. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 8

Sweet Soul Food Contest. Get your recipes out and find your best soul food dessert. Bring enough for attendees, plus the judge, to taste. Register your dish by calling 231-722-8011, or by visiting HPL’s online events calendar at hackleylibrary.org. Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place contestants in the adult category, as well as to the 1st place winner in the children’s category. 2-3 pm. Hackley Public Library. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 10

Celebration of Gospel. A musical tribute to Black Gospel with a reflection on the impact it has had on the African-American community. 7 pm. Cook DeWitt Center. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 11

Afro-Latinx Identity & The African Diaspora. A presentation “Theorizing Destierro: Home & Embodied Resistance in Afro-Atlantic Literature.” Food Provided. 2-3pm. 2263 Kirkhof Center. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 14

Positive Black Women Celebration of Black Arts. An annual event hosted by GVSU Positive Black Women to give honor and recognition to those that have shaped “our” history. PBW presents: A Celebration of Black Arts. All are welcomed to attend. Lunch will be provided. 2263 Kirkhof Center. Noon-1 pm. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 16

Taste of Soul Sunday. Celebrate African American history and culture with live music, hands-on activities, and free food samples from area restaurants. Main Libary. 1-4:30 pm. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 19

Conversations of Color. A discussion involving the experiences of African students as they navigate living in the United States and being African-American. Conversations of Color are conversations initiated and facilitated by students. Topics and issues will vary every session. This small and open venue offers students the opportunity to share, talk, discuss and learn from each other, as well as initiate programming on areas and topics of issue or concern.Office of Multicultural Affairs, 1240 Kirkhof Center. Noon-1 pm. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 20

The Continual Struggle: The American Freedom Movement and the Seeds of Social Change with Brian Washington. Join Brian Washington as he discusses his artwork on display in The Continual Struggle exhibit. Washington is a California based artist, attorney and arts advocate. Reservations are appreciated. Gerald R Ford Museum. 7 pm. Click here for more information.  

Taste of Soul.  A presentation on the scraps that African-Americans were given to feed themselves. A movie presentation “Coming to America.” 6-9 pm. Holton Hooker Multipurpose Room. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 21-Jun. 14

A Beautiful Struggle: Black Feminist Futurism. A Beautiful Struggle: Black Feminist Futurism is an interdisciplinary contemporary art exhibition that explores the integration of Black feminist and Afrofuturist ideas.  UICA. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 22

Giant Awards. The Giant Award recognizes members of the African American community for their exceptional contributions in shaping the history, culture, and quality of life of the Grand Rapids community. Each award is named after local ‘giants,’ serving as a memorial to their notable service-leadership. 6-9 pm. J.W. Marriott. Click here for more information

Back in Black: A Black History Month Celebration.  A drag benefit for Ruth Ellis Center, put on by Beauty Beyond Drag Productions. 9 pm-midnight. Creston Brewery.  Click here for more information. 

Ebony Road Players present: “The Meeting.” You won’t want to miss this moving play, depicting the supposed meeting of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Differing in their philosophies, but alike in their mutual respect, the two men debate their varying approaches to the same grave social problems, both prepared to die for their beliefs but neither aware of how soon their assassins’ bullets await them. Hackley Public Library. 2-3 pm. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 24

Black History Night -— The Drunken Retort. Bring fun/funny Black History Facts, bring songs celebrating blackness, jokes celebrating blackness, bring poetry about Black History, or about your history as a person of color. There will be 14 Open Mic Slots for Poets, Musicians, Singers, Comedians, and any other talented human beings. Stella’s Lounge. 8-11:30 pm. Click here for more information

New Year Nonfiction Book Discussion: Becoming Michelle Obama.

Discuss the compelling book, “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama. Copies will be available behind the HPL reference desk one month before the discussion on a first-come, first-served basis. Please bring copies back to the discussion. 6 pm. Hackley Public Library. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 25

13th Annual. Grand Rapids Legacy Luncheon. Community leaders, corporations, schools, and individuals support this unique annual affair that promotes through scholarships positive examples in our state’s African American community as well as educate our youth on the importance of using African American history as a platform for future growth.11:30 am- 1 pm. New Hope Baptist Church. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 27 

With this Faith: Black Freedom Struggles and Democratic Faith Dr. Randal Jelks. Black American communities have exhibited an abiding faith in democracy-based in religion and culture. This talk will explore how various participants in Black Freedom Struggles and thought about democratic governance and the faith that it takes to live out its principles. Reservations are appreciated. Gerald R Ford Museum. 7 pm. Click here for more information.  

MCC Black History Month Celebration: Love in Action Award Banquet. Black History Month closes with this annual awards dinner celebrating unsung community heroes who are nominated by their peers. Tickets for the banquet are $30 each or $180 for a table of six. The deadline for purchasing tickets is Feb.13. 6-8 pm. Muskegon Community College. Click here for more information. 

Feb. 29

Celebration of Soul. Celebration of Soul. A five-star community event, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Celebration of Soul Gala honors community leaders who are advancing the arts, education and inclusion in West Michigan. Social reception, 5 pm, JW Marriott. Concert, 8 pm, DeVos Place. Click here for more information.

African American Live Museum. Travel through time l as you learn about historical African American figures through live performances throughout Woodland Mall. 2-5 pm. Woodland Mall. Click here for more information. 

Jon Covington and the Men from the Documentary BLACK MAN. Muskegon native Jon Covington’s documentary Black Man comes to life in a live version at Hackley Public Library. 2-4 pm. Hackley Public Library.  Click here for more information. 

Through Feb. 29

Voices of the Civil Rights Movement. In partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal, GRAAMA is hosting, “Voices of the Civil Rights Movement,” an interactive kiosk featuring stories and interviews with leaders of the struggle for equal rights. Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.  Click here for more information.