Since its designation in 1976, the United States has celebrated Black History Month annually in February. President Gerald Ford called upon the country to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” In Columbus, there are plenty of ways to do just that. Below, we’ve rounded up a number of events, exhibitions and activities for people of all ages to help you get started.
Columbus Cultural Orchestra Performance
February 12, 2:00 - 3:30 pm | Columbus Museum of Art
Head to the Columbus Museum of Art for a pop-up performance from the Columbus Cultural Orchestra in honor of Black History Month. This event is free to attend!
CBUS Soul Sculpture Trail
In partnership with the Greater Columbus Arts Council, this trail explores sculptures throughout Columbus from African American artists Melvin Edwards, Chief Baba Shongo Obadina, Andrew F. Scott, Omar Shaheed, Bill Agnew, Barbara Chavous, Larry Winston Collins, LaVerne Brown. Each artist on this tour not only celebrates the African American culture but also contributes heavily to the progression of the arts by engaging young African-Americans to make their own contributions to their communities and/or art history.
2023 Aminah Day
February 18, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm | King Arts Complex
Join The King Arts Complex to celebrate one of Columbus’ great visual artists, Aminah Robinson. The program is an opportunity for people of all ages to connect with local artists and be inspired by Aminah’s rich contributions to the Arts. All Arts Day is a free, community event. Surround yourself with inspiration and storytelling with themed projects inspired by her work. Kick-start your imaginations with prompts designed for a wide range of ages, abilities, and materials. Advance registration is free but required, get tickets here.
Hanby House in Westerville
Guided and Self-Guided Tours Available
Learn about Benjamin Hanby, an abolitionist and composer, whose family lived in the home from 1853-1870. The family moved to Westerville because his father helped to establish Otterbein University. The Hanby House is managed locally by the Westerville Historical Society. To schedule an appointment to tour the site, please email WHSpres@westervillehistory.org.
Columbus Black History Tours
Upon Request Pending Availability
Learn the ins and outs of Columbus' Black History with tour guide, author and local historian, Rita Fuller-Yates. Uncover the history of notable buildings such as the Lincoln Theatre, the Pythian Theater, St. Paul African Episcopal Methodist Church and more. Tours are available virtually at any time or in person for groups pending availability.
Long Street Cultural Wall
Take a stroll along the Long Street Cultural Wall on the bridge connecting the Near East Side to Downtown Columbus. This collaboration by local artists Kojo Kamau and Larry Winston Collins features a combination of photography and block prints providing an educational walk through Columbus' Black History.
Pioneers of African American Cinema
February 3 & March 3 | Gateway Film Center
Join Gateway Film Center in for their series celebrating the Pioneers of African American Cinema. Screenings include The Scar of Shame (1929) on February 3 and Birthright (1938) on March 3. Each screening will also include a selection of short films and a reception beginning shortly before show time.
Washington Gladden Social Justice Park
Visit the first park in the nation dedicated to the theme of social justice, located downtown at the corner of Broad Street and Cleveland Avenue. Designed to bring Columbus together to build the path to a better future through art, education and constructive dialogues, the park serves as an introduction to Columbus’ social justice pioneers.
UNITY: THE 45TH African American Heritage Festival
February 24, 2022 – March 4 | Student Life Multicultural Center
This weeklong festival will feature talent and poetry showcases, intriguing cultural awareness programs, and the annual Gospel Fest. This year's Festival will be in person and events will be filled with passion, excitement and Black culture.
Columbus Metropolitan Library Events
Dates and times vary based on Columbus Library branch | See library locations and events list here
The Columbus Metropolitan Library has a plethora of events to recognize Black History Month! Notable events include a poetry workshop with the Black Women Poetry Collective for ages 12-17, a look at the Underground Railroad and the impact that central Ohioans had in the abolition of slavery, Turtle Shell Tales with Lyn Ford and more!
Ohio History Center Events
Dates and times vary based on the event | Ohio History Center
The Ohio History Connection is hosting events at the Ohio History Center and its other locations honoring Black History Month. Check out the link below to view the full list, but a few we're highlighting here are The Tea Room (a contemporary version of the African American Tea Ceremony that began in the mid-19th century) and a screening and discussion of As A Matter of Black, a documentary curating the work of local artists during the civil unrest of 2020.
Community Screening of Black Boys followed by a Panel Discussion
Feb 4, 11:00 am - 2:30 pm | The Lincoln Theatre
The YMCA of Central Ohio invites you to The Lincoln Theatre for a community screening of Black Boys, a documentary by Sonia Lowman. A panel discussion will follow the film featuring community leaders. The award-winning documentary, "Black Boys" by Sonia Lowman illuminates the full humanity of Black men and boys in America. An intimate, inter-generational exploration, Black Boys strives for insight into black identity and opportunity at the nexus of sports, education, and criminal justice. Learn more and reserve your tickets below.
Rally Point - More than Clothing: The Triple Nickel Story
Feb 4, 11:00 am | Virtual presented by National Veterans Memorial and Museum
Join the National Veteran Memorial and Musem for another presentation of their Rally Point series featuring Veteran Entrepreneurs. This time take a deep dive into the story of Triple Nickel, a Black-owned apparel brand based in San Antonio reshaping what it means to "look like a Veteran." You can join the presentation virtually on Facebook or Youtube.
The Legacies of Redlining
February 18, 1:00 pm | Columbus Metropolitan Library
Ohio Wesleyan University Professor John Krygier and a panel of researchers and advocates will discuss the history of redlining in Columbus. This program coincides with the YWCA of Columbus’ “Undesign the Redline” exhibit, on display at Main Library from Feb. 15 through March 15. Adults.