Where You Can Find Black History in St. Louis

Wednesday January 15, 2020

By Explore St. Louis Guest

During the month of February explore Black History Month in St. Louis with events and attractions that celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans. A common theme for Black History Month 2020 is “African Americans and the Vote.”

Beginning Feb. 1, the St. Louis Public Libraries will host events with the topics of “Leaders in the Suffrage Movement,” “Make Your Mark” and “Can You Guess the Political Party.” One of the highlights of the SLPL’s month-long celebration is the “Black History Month 2020 Panel Discussion” on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Central Library location from 3-5:30 p.m.  At the event, the panelists will discuss the importance of voting locally and voting in the black community. Panelists include Tishaura Jones, Treasurer, City of St. Louis; Michael Butler, Recorder of Deeds, City of St. Louis; Gena Gunn McClendon, Director of Voter Access and Engagement and Financial Capability, from theCenter for Social Development at Washington University; and Carole Strawbridge, League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis. A meet and greet with the panelists will take place after the discussion. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis and no tickets are needed to attend this event. The St. Louis Public Library system is offering a full list of Black History Month programming on their website, slpl.org.

The St. Louis County Library system will offer a “Beginning Reader Book Club” for children ages 5 - 8. The book club will feature books such as, Let the Children March on Sunday, Feb. 19 from 4  -  4:45 p.m. at the Grand Glaise Branch and Trombome Shorty on Friday, Feb. 24 from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Cliff Cave Branch. Other branches will offer additional programming including: “After School Art: Kehinde Wiley,” “Adrinkra Symbol Making,” “African American Folktales,” as well as “African American History at Bellefontaine,” Black History Month bingo, jeopardy and trivia and a multitude of other activities at different branch locations. Go to the slcl.org website for more details about all of the events offered by the St. Louis County Libraries.

The Metro Theater Company brings the premiere of Ghost to the Grandel Theatre in the Grand Center Arts District, Feb. 2 - Mar. 1. Ghost is the story about a young man who harnesses his talent on the track team while battling the difficult realities of his past and present. As he bonds with his teammates and coach, the young man gains a sense of belonging at last.

The Missouri History Museum and Soldiers Memorial Military Museum will host a series of events. A round table discussion titled “Unflinching: The Power of the African American Vote,” will be held at the Missouri History Museum on Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. Guest lecturer, Dr. Miller W. Boyd III, will honor the efforts of soldiers in “The Founding of Lincoln University: The USCT and Black Education in Civil War Missouri,” on Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. and don’t miss the community screening of “The Kinloch Doc: The Story About Missouri’s First Black City,” on Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum.

The Saint Louis Art Museum will screen the film ‘Black Is the Color’ (2017) on Friday, Feb. 7. The film highlights key moments in the history of African American visual art, featuring the works of Edmonia Lewis, Jean-Michel Basquiat and others. A free ticket is required.

At the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark, you can step into the King of Ragtime’s home where he composed what would become legendary music.

Pay tribute to African American history with a visit to The Griot Museum of Black History & Culture, Old Courthouse, National Blues Museum and numerous other sites across St. Louis. These venues are a great way to learn more about theses significant moments in time.