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.
Black History Month Pop-Up Concert Tour
Throughout the month of February
Celebrate Black History at at local establishments and business throughout the month of February with this collective of multi-generational musicians of color performing high-quality jazz, classical, and hip-hop music.
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.
Aminah Robinson Day
February 17, 12:00 pm - 4:00 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.
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.
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, with activities happening at 23 different branches. The Main Library will be hosting a hip-hop experience on Sunday, February 4, and most locations will offer a Black History Month Discovery Quest, an activity that enables people aged 7 and older to learn about Black history and to connect them with books on the topic.
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 Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond The Mask, a documentary on the life and legacy of the first African American poet & writer to gain international fame.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum Events
Virtual content and programming | National Veterans Memorial and Museum
During Black History Month, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum is sharing the experiences, challenges and triumphs of Black American Veterans by telling their stories. Check back each week during February for new content that includes virtual programming and education.
The History of Black Firefighters in Columbus
February 10 (11:30 am - 12:30 pm) & February 19 (6:30 pm) | Columbus Metropolitan Library - Karl Road and Martin Luther King Branches
The Martin Luther King Branch on Long Street and Karl Road Branch will have a featured presentation on the history of Black Firefighters in Columbus on February 10 and 19, open to all ages. From the first Black firefighters on record in 1879 to current ongoing recruiting efforts, learn interesting facts about interesting and courageous people and some of the obstacles they faced.
The Lincoln Theater with Executive Director Suzan Bradford
Feb 20, 12:00 pm | Ohio Statehouse Atrium
Executive director of the Lincoln Theater, Suzan Bradford, will speak on the history and legacy of the Lincoln Theater in Columbus. This event is free and open to the public, and it's one of several Black History Month programs and activities happening at the Ohio Statehouse throughout the month of February.