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.
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 the national YWCA.
Get together and share ideas with movers and shakers in the local African American community while enjoying live jazz and delicious cuisine, the first Friday of every month at Linc Up. Feb. 2.
Congratulate the local African American leaders who have been honored with 2018 Giants Awards from Grand Rapids Community College. The Feb. 3 awards program is sold out, but you can read about the honorees here. One of these individuals will be named the Giant Among Giants at the ceremony.
Choose from an incredible lineup of Black History Month events at Grand Valley State University:
Celebration of Black Arts, Feb. 3.
Black Activism Through Sports, Feb. 6.
Body Image and Blackness, Feb. 9.
Positive Black Woman Luncheon, Feb. 14.
A Taste of Soul, Feb. 16.
Voter Registration Drive, Feb. 16.
Accidental Courtesy, Feb. 20.
Conversations of Color, Feb. 21.
Racial Battle Fatigue Syndrome, Feb. 27.
Explore African American culture and confront community challenges at the Grand Rapids Public Library:
Black Family History is a series of workshops designed to help African Americans research their family’s history. Feb. 3, 10, 17 & 24.
Taste of Soul Sunday includes art, music, literature, history and food. Feb. 18
Speak Up GR: Individual Rights and Community Policing is a vital panel discussion. Feb. 20.
Honor diversity at the Grand Rapids Public Museum Ethnic Heritage Festival, a daylong celebration of music, dance, crafts and food representing the various ethnic groups that call West Michigan home. Feb. 3.
Don your finest attire for the 2018 Grand Rapids Legacy Luncheon, which celebrates Black History month while raising money for local student scholarships. At the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton on Feb. 26.
Let the Music Move You
Head to The Pyramid Scheme for performances by Bamfomania with Razz Na$-T, Shamar Alef and Kayo Kane (Feb. 2) and lyricist/poet/MC Talib Kweli (Feb. 17).
Get down to iconic band George Clinton & The P-Funk AllStars at 20 Monroe Live on Feb. 3 and Jeezy – The Cold Summer Tour on Feb. 25.
Drop by Billy’s Lounge for three great shows: The Bob Marley Birthday Bash 2018 on Feb. 3; Lady Ace Boogie, JRob and Bedrock, Callab, Ajax Stacks, Flexadecibel and DJ Dean Martian on Feb. 10; and Asamu Johnson and the Associates of the Blues on Feb. 16.
Bring the kids to Four Score and Seven Years Ago – an exciting and suspenseful children’s musical about a young man who escapes slavery and befriends a Confederate soldier. At East Kentwood Fine Arts Center Feb. 6.
Enjoy the smooth sounds of GRAMMY Award-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter at St. Cecilia Music Center Feb. 22.
Learn about the lifelong friendship between two men of different races – Gerald Ford and his college football teammate Willis Ward – in Victors of Character: A Story of Loyalty, Integrity, a theatrical production at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Feb. 15.
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!