February is Black History Month, a time to pay tribute to African Americans and their centuries-long struggle for freedom and equality. Explore the following 10 ways you can celebrate the African American community and learn more about their contributions to American history.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Tuesday, Feb. 2 | 7–8:30 p.m.
Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” and Keisha N. Blain, author of “Set the World on Fire,” will come together for a virtual discussion on their upcoming book: “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019.” The anthology, edited by Kendi and Blain, comprises 400 years of African American history, divided among 90 writers, poets and thinkers.
During the moderated discussion, Kendi and Blain will talk about the continued impact that eras such as slavery, Reconstruction and segregation still have on the United States. Contributors Herb Boyd, Kali Nicole Gross, Peniel Joseph and Annette Gordon Reed will participate in a discussion on the impact of the African American community on the social justice trajectory of American history. This event is free and open to all. Register at nmaahc.si.edu.
Tuesday, Feb. 23 | 7–8 p.m.
The museum will host a variety of panelists, including Algernon Austin, to discuss COVID-19’s impact on the economy and African American community and the critical steps that need to be taken to address the issue. Michael Fletcher, senior writer for ESPN’s “The Undefeated,” will moderate this virtual panel. This event is free. No registration is required.
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
Celebrate the 95th annual Black History Month Virtual Festival throughout the month of February. This year’s theme, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” features author talks, the presentation of the Inaugural ASALH Book Prize, discussions on African American cultures and traditions as well as the portrayal of African Americans in the media and more. All of the programs are free and will be broadcast on ASALH’s YouTube channel.
The marquee event, “Finding Our Roots in African American History: A Conversation with Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham,” will take place on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. Tickets are $50, $125 and $150.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture
Monday, Feb. 15 | 7–8 p.m.
Celebrate Presidents Day and relive the days of the Obama White House with Lawrence Jackson, former official White House staff photographer for President Barack Obama. Jackson’s book “Yes We Did: Photos and Behind-the-Scenes Stories Celebrating Our First African American President” captures intimate and notable moments from the Obama administration and features personal recounts from President Obama and the people around him. This event is free and requires registration.
Thursday, Feb. 25 | 1–2:30 p.m.
Join Kaiser Permanente and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for the second annual “African Americans in Health Care Awards” honoring local African American leaders in the health-care field. Distinguished honorees include Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, health commissioner for Baltimore City; Annette March-Grier, founder and president of Roberta’s House and Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
This year’s guest of honor is UMBC alum Dr. Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Shanta Corbett, a viral immunologist at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health and one of the lead scientists in the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III, president of UMBC, will interview Dr. Corbett. This free event will be held over Zoom. Registration is required.
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Wednesday, Feb. 3 | 6:30 p.m.
As part of the National African American Read-In, the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature, the library will be hosting a virtual event for Black History Month. Celebrate African American literature by dedicating time to read Black authors and share a passage from one of your favorite books. This event is free and will be held over Zoom. No registration required.
Wednesday, Feb. 10 | 7–8 p.m.
“We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy” by Elijah Cummings is not only a memoir about the life of the late Rep. Cummings, but a call to action for Americans in the battle for our modern-day democracy. Presented in partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture, join Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, book collaborator James Dale and moderator Dr. Freeman Hrabowski for an intimate discussion on Cummings’ memoir and legacy. This free event will be held on Zoom and the library’s Facebook page. Registration is required. Order your copy of “We’re Better Than This” from the Ivy Bookshop.
Baltimore County Public Library
Tuesday, Feb. 16 | 7–8:30 p.m.
Join BCPL in a discussion about select articles focusing on Black history and racial justice, presented in partnership with the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project. You can register for the event and find the selected articles here.
Wednesday, Feb. 3 | 7–8:30 p.m.
BCPL will host “Shipbuilders on Baltimore’s Harbors: African American Entrepreneurs,” a virtual event sponsored by the Friends of the Perry Hall Library. The event will focus on the history of Fells Point as a major hub of shipbuilding in the late 1700s and how it led to the creation of The Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company, the first African American-owned and -operated shipyard in the United States. This event is free and will be held over Zoom. Registration is required and closes one hour before the start of the event.
Virtual Conversations with Black Leaders and Business Owners
Throughout the month of February, Hotel Revival will host virtual conversations with Black business owners about their journeys and hopes for the future. Featured guests include Keyia Yalcin, owner of “Fish Net”; William Walker, founder of “A Tribe Called Run”; Bianca Willis, founder of Learning to Live; Donae Burston, CEO of La Fête Rosé; Aaron Joseph, co-founder of CAnE Collective and Kim Ellis, CEO of Breaking Bread. All of the conversations are free to watch and will be streamed virtually on the hotel’s Facebook page.