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Black History Month in Grand Rapids

Each February, Grand Rapids celebrates Black History Month with a series of special activities and events exploring the local African American experience. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the ways African Americans have helped shape the past and present of Grand Rapids – and how African American culture is helping move the city forward in exciting new ways.

Check back for more events as February draws closer.

History Comes Alive

Visit the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives to explore a treasure trove of material honoring the lives, history, culture and art of local African Americans.

Stroll downtown to see bronze sculptures commemorating former Grand Rapids Mayor Lyman Parks, civil rights icon Rosa Parks and Helen Claytor, the first African American president of both the Grand Rapids YWCA and national YWCA.

Embark on a free, self-guided tour of significant local sites – download informational podcasts to accompany you on the Black History Tour of Downtown and the Grand Rapids Civil Rights Tour.

Engage Grand Rapids Running Tours for an African American History on the Grand experience – you’ll burn calories while you learn about the local African American population from 1826 to present.

Join the Black History Walking Tour of downtown Grand Rapids, starting at noon at Rosa Parks Circle on Feb. 1, 8 & 15.

Learn, Take Action, Celebrate

Drop by the Grand Rapids Public Library for information and entertainment:

Attend the 13th Annual Grand Rapids Legacy Luncheon, a celebration of African American scholarships and funding for local nonprofits. Feb. 25.

See Yourself in Art

See Hamilton, the smash-hit Broadway musical that interprets the founding of our country through an African American musical idiom. Jan. 21-Feb. 9.

Visit Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to explore The Continual Struggle, an exhibit depicting the pain, sacrifice and emotion of those who fought for freedom during the civil rights movement. Starts Feb. 20.

Visit the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts to see Beautiful Struggle: Black Feminist Futurism, an interdisciplinary art exhibition exploring the integration of Black feminist and Afrofuturist ideas. Starts Feb. 21.

Entertaining Ideas

Laugh yourself silly at Comedy Night featuring nationally acclaimed comedian Michael Jr. – it’s a family-friendly benefit for New Creations Prison Ministries. Feb. 1.

Head to Creston Brewery for Back in Black: A Black History Month Celebration, a fantabulous drag-show benefit for Detroit’s Ruth Ellis Center, which serves the needs of at-risk LBGTQ youth. Feb. 22.

Join the Grand Rapids Symphony and special guest jazz trumpet great Terence Blanchard for Symphony with Soul, an annual celebration of African American musical expression. Feb. 29.

Check out these African American performers at area nightclubs:

Fantastic Food

Treat yourself to delectable delights at these African American-owned and influenced eateries:

Check Out These Black-Owned Restaurants in Grand Rapids

Celebrating history means celebrating the people, traditions, cultures, and of course, food! We are commemorating Black History Month by featuring Grand Rapids’ black food culture and by shining a…

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Explore our complete list of Black History Month Events

    Please note that while every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the events listed, we recommend contacting the event and/or location directly to confirm the details. Special events may require tickets that need to be purchased in advance. Please direct questions to event organizers.
     
    Did we miss an event? Please submit it to our Calendar of Events to be included!