February is Black History Month – a time to celebrate the accomplishments African Americans have made, as well as a time to reflect on their roles throughout history and the present. We recognize the pandemic has made celebrating more difficult than ever, but there are still many things to do, listen to, read and watch to celebrate Black History Month. We rounded up some of the activities you can do at home or safely around Ohio for the month.
Things to Do
Thursday, February 4 – Sunday, February 21
While this museum is currently closed, they are offering a few exhibits and online programs led by historians, educators and community leaders throughout the whole month of February.
Tuesday, February 4 – Tuesday, February 25
“We’ve Known Rivers”, a group of storytellers who share African American experiences through presentations, has four free virtual performances this month to celebrate.
Friday, February 26 – Saturday, March 6
For the 43rd annual African American Heritage Festival, this year will center around the word “furaha,” which is the Swahili word for “rejoicing.” This virtual festival will have talent and poetry showcases, cultural awareness programs and their annual Gospel Festival.
Monday, February 1 – Sunday, February 28
The ASALH has put together a series of free virtual events to celebrate Black History Month through the ASALH’s YouTube channel.
Monday, February 1 – Sunday, February 28
For the first time ever, BAM is providing their annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a free stream on their website. This stream features keynote speakers, political appearances, musical performances and poetry readings, and will be available through the whole month of February.
Thursday, February 4 – Thursday, February 18
For three Thursdays in a row, Columbus Metropolitan Library is offering five free, educational events for all ages. Visit their events page to register!
Saturday, February 6
Come join MRCPL for their first completely virtual Black History month celebration. Along with musical events and shared stories, MRCPL will also be providing free take-home meals and crafts that can be picked up ahead of time. For more information, click the link above.
Monday, February 1 – Wednesday, February 24
Ohio University is sponsoring a variety of events to celebrate Black History Month, including lectures, panel discussions, readings and networking opportunities. Advance registration for each event is required.
Thursday, February 25 | 3:30 p.m.
Come share your great reads at this Black History Month celebration, facilitated by Nicole Schuman and Primrose Nganwa Igonor.
Things to Read
- 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia by Molefi Kete Asante
- Barracoon: The Story of The Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shutterly
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Tigerland: 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing by Wil Haygood
- Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
- The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois
- Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
- How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
- You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
For more books, check out Goodreads’ book list for Black History Month.
- “I, Too” by Langston Hughes
- “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
- “Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander
- “Canary” by Ria Dove
- “History As Process” by Amiri Baraka
For more poetry, check out the Poetry Foundations’ Black History Month list.
Things to Watch
- “4 Little Girls” (1997)
- “13th” (2016)
- “A Raisin in the Sun” (1961)
- “Birth of A Nation” (2016)
- “Crooklyn” (1994)
- “Fences” (2016)
- “Fruitvale Station” (2013)
- “Get on the Bus” (1996)
- “Glory” (1989)
- “Hidden Figures” (2016)
- “Malcolm X” (1992)
- “Marshall” (2016)
- “Race” (2016)
- “Selma” (2014)
- “Southside With You” (2016)
- “The Butler” (2013)
- “The Color Purple” (1985)
- “The Hate You Give” (2018)
- “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” (2006)
- “The path to ending systemic racism in the U.S.”
- “The difference between being “not racist” and antiracist”
- “A celebration of natural hair”
- “Color blind or color brave?”
- “How art gives shape to cultural change”
- “We need to talk about an injustice”
For more Ted Talks, check out Talks to celebrate Black History Month.
Things to Listen To
- Code Switch
- Historically Black
- In Black America
- Smithsonian Channel Presents Black History Month
- Stuff You Missed in History Class
- The Black History Buff Podcast
- Yo, Is This Racist?
- Identity Politics
- Revisionist History Podcast
- Black History Salute Spotify (explicit)
- Black History Month Apple Music (explicit)
- Black History Month Prime Music
Whatever you do to celebrate Black History Month, we hope this list helps you find some new ideas of things you and your family can do!
Looking for more things to do around Ohio? Check out all that Ohio has to offer here!