10 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in St. Louis
During the month of February, we celebrate Black History Month through exploring various events and attractions in the St. Louis area which honor the history and achievements of African Americans. Here are some ways you can go out and enjoy what St. Louis has to offer in the black history department.
You have until Feb. 10 to enjoy an inspiring exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum entitled, ‘Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis.’ You may remember Wiley was chosen by former U.S. President Barack Obama to paint his official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. In this exhibit, Wiley recreates famous works of art with African Americans from St. Louis. The artist is known for decorative backgrounds as well as calling attention to the politics of race, power and representation of people of color in his work. The Saint Louis Art Museum will feature gallery talks covering the exhibit and Abstraction in African American Contemporary Art in February.
The St. Louis County Library will offer showings of featured films such as, “Hidden Figures” on Friday, Feb. 1 from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Grand Glaise Branch and “Black Panther” on Monday, Feb. 25 from 2-4 p.m. at the Daniel Boone Branch and others. There will also be many other events throughout the month including: the taste of Africa, games from Africa, book discussions, Story Time: Black Authors and Illustrators as well as arts, dance, Tracing Your African American Ancestors, Black History Month bingo and trivia and a multitude of other activities at different branch locations. Go to slcl.org for more details about all of the events offered by the St. Louis County Library.
One of the highlights of the Saint Louis Public Library’s month-long celebration is the Black History Month 2019 – Featured Speaker former St. Louis Cardinal, Ozzie Smith on Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Central Library location from 2-4:30 p.m. Reporter Rene Knott of KSDK (Channel 5) will moderate the conversation. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis and no tickets are needed to attend this event. Visit the slpl.org website for an extensive list of programming beginning Feb. 1 with topics ranging from The Great Migration, “I, Too, Am America” by Langston Hughes to Exploring Black Excellence: Past, Present, and Future.
The Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, named in honor of a free woman of color who took a stand against slavery and used her home as a depot for the Underground Railroad, is the first Missouri site of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. In 1855, she was arrested for aiding in the attempted escape of nine slaves across the Mississippi River to freedom in Illinois. The 16th Annual Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Festival will be held in the spring along the Riverfront (4500 E. Prairie Ave.) The 2018 celebration brought to life the story of Unfair Fair: Prejudice on the Pike. This year promises to be another successful event highlighting another moment in black history.
It’s season 42 for The Black Rep, and this season brings the world premiere Canfield Drive (Jan. 9-27) to Edison Theatre. When the shooting of unarmed teenager Micheal Brown erupts in Ferguson everyone struggles with the greatest questions of our time. And that’s not all we have to look forward to from The Black Rep. In Milk Like Sugar (Feb. 13-Mar. 3), 16-year-old Annie Desmond’s choices lead her to a life-altering pact with her friends in a journey of hope, and lastly, Nina Simone: Four Women (May 16-June 6, 2019), explores the powerful lyrics of Nina Simone.
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.
Speaking of music, the St. Louis Symphony will celebrate with their annual concert Lift Every Voice: Black History Month Celebration on Friday, Feb. 22 at Powell Hall. The concert showcases African-American culture and community traditions that have influenced the history of St. Louis and beyond with soulful music.
A visit to The Griot Museum of Black History & Culture, Old Courthouse, National Blues Museum and numerous other sites across St. Louis are also great ways to learn more about significant moments in history.