Local Events To Check Out During Black History Month

February 18, 2021

February is a month dedicated to honoring the historical legacy of Black Americans and the African Diaspora. It’s a time to not only celebrate past achievements, but also to look inward in confronting inequalities and to look forward towards a greater future. The Bay Area has long been a hub of rich diasporic culture, and there are countless ways to engage with our community’s events, from digital museum exhibits to drive-in film screenings. 

Virtual Events

The Joyful Noise Gospel Singers Sundays

“Songs, Poems, and Stories of Black History” takes place at 4pm every Sunday this month. The upcoming February 21st presentation will be “Jim Crow, Work Songs, and the Blues,” with profiles on Fannie Lou Hamer and Bessie Smith. The final installation on February 28th features “The Civil Rights Movement: Freedom Songs,” with profiles of Bernice Johnson Reagon and Harry Belafonte. View here.

Food for the Soul: Screening of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Amazing Grace’

The Marin County Free Library is partnering with the County of Marin African American Employees Association to present an online screening of Aretha Franklin’s concert film, documenting her return to her gospel roots. The virtual event will take place on February 19th at 7pm.

African Roots and Rhythms with Unique Derique

Register to learn the art of Hambone body percussion from The Bay Area’s very own Unique Derique. There will also be a discussion of Hambone’s evolution in America through a presentation and performance suitable for all ages. The free event will take place on February 20th at 3pm. Register beforehand here.

The History of African Americans in Santa Clara County

Celebrated author and beloved local Jan Batiste Adkins will be hosting a program with the Los Altos History Museum to commemorate contributions by black visionaries in the Bay Area from 1777 to the present day. Told through photographs and stories of African-American pioneers of the region, Adkins will also offer research from her book, “African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County.” Taking place on February 24th at 5pm, the event may be accessed here.

Richmond Art Center Presents: Art of the African Diaspora

Richmond Art Center is hosting an online group exhibition now through May 16th, wherein artists will present virtual open studios, discussions and other events. The program includes “At This Very Moment: A Richmond Art Center Community Photo Project,” an exhibit of photographs by Richmond community members curated by Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh.

In-Person Events

KQED Presents: A Love Supreme, Black History Month Drive-In at Fort Mason

Mark your calendars for February 23rd, because KQED is hosting a drive-in movie night from 8-10pm. The program will feature shorts by local Black artists and a screening of WHEN THE WATERS GET DEEP, a film that revolves around the Oakland band, SOL Development. More details here.

Tomika Iyalla the Nigerian Queen Presents: Afro Groove

Immerse yourself into the culture of African dance with this in-person event. This is a unique opportunity to learn afro dance movement from areas ranging from Nigeria to South Africa. Taking place in an outdoor, distanced class setting, prepare to let loose and have fun! With masks and COVID safety measures in place, stop by on February 27th at 1pm. Details here.

Photo courtesy of the Richmond Art Center/Val Kai.
“The 2nd Line” by Val Kai is part of “Art of the African Diaspora” exhibition at the Richmond Art Center.

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