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.
History Comes Alive
Visit the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives to explore material honoring the lives, history, culture and art of local African Americans. February programs include the West Michigan Minstrel Show, which examines the “art” of using theatrical makeup to caricaturize and mock black people.
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.
Positive Black Women Valentines Celebration, Feb. 14
Film & Discussion: Lean on Me, Feb. 15
Celebration of Gospel, Feb. 17
Get Yo Mind Right, Feb. 19
Conversations of Color, Feb. 20
Black Islam in the United States, Feb. 21
Building Your Brand, Feb. 22
Film & Discussion: Moonlight, Feb. 22
Black Girls Rock!, Feb. 26
Attend the 12th Annual Grand Rapids Legacy Luncheon, featuring author and media personality Shannon Lanier, and president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Vera Bumpers. Feb. 5.
Visit Grand Rapids Public Library for information and entertainment:
Visit the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts to view Warm Water: New Works by Charles Edwards – a collection of re-narrated visual works based on the event that sparked the Chicago Race Riot of 1919.
See how random acts of racism rock a fictional campus community in the Calvin College Theatre Company production of Spinning into Butter. Jan. 30 - Feb. 2.
See “Sorry To Bother You,” a satirical and psychedelic skewering of race, capitalism, media and modern-day society, on the big screen at Wealthy Theatre. Feb. 5.
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!