Back to all RPSA updates

RPSA February Blog: Black History Month Events and Activities

In 1926, American historian Carter G. Woodsen, known as the father of Black History Month, had an idea to organize a week that would be dedicated to celebrating the history of Black Americans and educating future generations. This month offers a variety of events and activities to celebrate Black History Month. Here are a few things you can consider doing with your youth over the course of Black History Month.

Visit a Museum/Art Exhibit

DuSable Museum of African American History: “Equiano: Stories” and “The March,” an immersive exhibit curated by Viola Davis that dives into the historical significance of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The museum has curated a variety of events scheduled throughout the month. Check out the African Dance event on Feb. 16th. 

Joliet Area Historical Museum: The Joliet Area Historical Museum has curated an exhibit that takes a comparative look at African American history in two cities equal distance from Chicago’s center: Joliet to the south and Lake Forest to the north. The exhibit will be available until March 1st.

Springfield & Central Illinois African American History Museum: Features exhibits which tell authentic stories about African American life in Central Illinois past and present. Special events and private guided tours can be made outside of general admission times.

Film Screenings and Documentaries

Organize screenings: Host screenings of impactful documentaries or movies that covers Black history and culture.

Ex: Selma, Hidden Figures, The Space Race, The Great Debaters

Peoria Public Library: Black History Month Film Festival, which will take place every Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Also, this February, they will have STEM activities inspired from iconic black scientists.

Connect Black History Month to Nature

Forest Preserve: Black History Month Story Trails, where visitors can walk through the trails and listen to stories that will showcase a prominent black figures on February 21 from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. Crabtree Nature Center will host a Black History Month Celebration where visitor can learn about the importance of Black environmentalists and how the Forest Preserves’ trails relate to the Underground Railroad Movement.

Alexis Nikole Nelson (@blackforager): Watch this video for an exploration of some of the surprising edible plants you can find in D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic region. Alexis will share her foraging history and expertise to help get you started on your own found-food journey.

Community Events:

Host/Participate in a Black History Month Event: Host special performances, concerts, or plays that celebrate African American culture. Check your local organizations for performers and support.

Host a Community Forum: Invite the community to events and forums that focus on important discussions about Black history, social issues, and community development. Invite guest speakers, particularly individuals from the Black community, who can offer valuable perspectives and share their unique experiences.

Before planning your activities, be sure to check local event listings, community websites, and cultural institutions for the most up-to-date information on events happening in your area during Black History Month.