Jeffery Robinson, Seattle civil right lawyer, activist, father and subject of the documentary film “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” contemplates a tree where Black Americans were publicly lynched.
February is Black History Month, a time to dedicate attention to and seek deeper understanding of the many contributions of Black Americans to science, art, music, culture, human rights and more. Local museums and other organizations invite families to take part in workshops, discussions and celebrations, online this year, of course.
Ongoing: Honor Black businesses and artists from the past and present by heading downtown for a self-guided tour following several local businesses listed in the “Negro Motorist Green Book”. Listen to historical accounts through each step of the tour read by members of Black & Tan Hall and local artists. Download the app to follow along or listen in a web browser.
Through Feb. 13: Shoreline Public Schools presents Black Voices, a series of online events celebrating Black excellence. Hop online for a Black author book fair and take part in a talk by bestselling author Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.
Through Feb. 13: Check out this riveting one-woman show about the life and work of civil rights activist and hero, Fannie Lou Hamer. Watch the live performance in person or purchase access to stream it at home.
Tuesday, Feb. 1, 6 p.m.: Gather your crew around the computer and join the King County Library System for a Black History Month trivia night. Preregister.
Feb 1–23: As part of its Black History Month programming, visit any branch of Tacoma Public Library to pick up a family tree starter kit, including login info to TPL’s Ancestry.com subscription to dive deep into your own family’s history. While supplies last.
Wednesdays, Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23: Another take-home kit put together by the Tacoma Public Library, this craft kit explores the folklore of Freedom Quilts. Available at select branches while supplies last.
Feb. 2–26: Also hosted by TPL, visit select branches to take part in a scavenger hunt exploring Tacoma’s black history and learn about real Tacoma heroes.
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 4:30 p.m.: Join the conversation online with White River Valley Museum educator and KCLS librarian to listen to and discuss the story “The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learn to Read”. Objects and information from the WRVM will help illuminate the history of Black students in our region and the evolution of accessible education. Preregister.
Feb. 10–28 (select dates): Select a theater near you and book tickets to the groundbreaking documentary film “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.” This moving film examines the history of white supremacy and anti-Black racism in the United States and features Seattle attorney and activist Jeffery Robinson, founder of The Who We Are Project.
Sunday, Feb. 13, 1 p.m.: Join the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) for an interactive story time featuring “The ABCs of Black History,” followed by a virtual field trip to a Black-owned business.
Thursday, Feb. 17, 5 p.m.: NAAM presents its Black History Month Keynote Program with the nation’s first African American Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Lonnie Bunch III. Bunch will discuss the past, present and future of Black history in this free, virtual program. Register online.
Feb. 19–21: Visit MOHAI and learn about the Black & Tan Club, one of the first interracial establishments in Seattle to host a variety of iconic and local music acts. Discover more about the influential history of Seattle’s Black jazz scene through a powerful collection of oil paintings by artist Bonnie Hopper titled “The Black and Tan Collection.”
Feb. 19, 11 a.m.: Another powerful program at MOHAI, join for a dialogue about the history of the Green Book and its relevance today, along with a contemporary look at segregation, migration and the rise of leisure travel. Co-presented by The Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Black & Tan Hall, Bonnie Hopper, artist, Chris Hopper, producer, and The Washington State Historical Society.
Tuesday, Feb. 22: In honor of Mae Jemison, the first Black female astronaut to travel in space, the Tacoma Public Library is offering a free space-themed craft kit to bring home. Pick up during library hours at the Mottet or Kobetich branches, while supplies last.
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2:30–5 p.m.: Join NAAM and the Heinz History Center online for a free viewing of the film "Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali" followed by a talk with the film’s director, Marcus Clarke. Register online.
Feb. 26–March 12: Celebrate Black voices with a night at the opera, IRL! Seattle Opera presents “Blue,” a contemporary take on African American life including love, family, loss and police brutality. Purchase tickets in advance.
Saturday, Feb. 26, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Head to the People’s Community Center for a celebration of Black history and culture with powerful musical and spoken word performances, art and pool activities, a scavenger hunt, food trucks and much more!
Sunday, Feb. 27, 5 p.m.: Join the Northwest African American Museum at the Seattle Sounders season opening home game to honor Black History! The event will start with the Black National Anthem performed by NAAM’s African American Cultural Ensemble. There will also be a Knowledge is Power children’s books giveaway highlighting Black authors and illustrators, and a popup exhibition on Black history. Plus, Sounders soccer!