Founded by the black explorer Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, Chicago’s black history runs deep.
You only have to delve into the creation of gospel and electrified blues, or read about the country’s first African American president to get a glimpse into Chicago’s significance to America’s black cultural history.
Whether you’re interested in books, concerts, discussions or performances, there are lots of ways to honor Black History Month around the city. Consider these highlights throughout February.
February 3, 10am – 4pm, Free
Harold Washington Library
In partnership with the Soulful Chicago Book Fair, the African American Lit Fest presents a stellar line-up of local African American authors, books and publishers for readings, storytelling, panel discussions, and other activities. Featured authors include jazz musician and educator Maggie Brown and noted poet and scholar Haki Madhubuti.
February 9, 7pm, Free
Theater on The Lake
Legendary jazz drummer Von Freeman influenced countless musicians and helped to nurture two generations of local musicians whom he often invited on stage with him. Two quintets of Chicago’s rising Jazz stars will pay homage to Freeman, including drummer Alvin Cobb.
February 1-27, 9:30am or 11:30am, Free
DuSable Museum of African History
Experience live performances of music, dance, and theater at weekly live matinees at the DuSable Museum of African American History. The West Indian Dance Theater Company kicks off the festivities on February 1 with Afro-Caribbean fold dance and music. Lady Moses: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman, Legacy of Black Magicians and Breakin It Down: Hip Hop History are some of the performances that will be featured.
February 24, 3pm, $15
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s African American Network honors Black History Month with a concert by noted composer and conductor Renee Baker, ‘Identity of Color: Black Composers in New Music.”
February 27, 6:30pm, $10
Chicago History Museum
Natalie Moore, WBEZ journalist and author of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, moderates a panel discussion that connects with the Chicago History Museum exhibit, Race: Are We So Different? The hour-long discussion is followed by a 15 minute Q&A session.