Celebrate Black History in February and Every Month
Madison is celebrating Black History month this February with programming centering black voices and experiences, and there are many ways for you to join. Black History Month is an annual celebration of the achievements by African Americans and a time to honor the central role of Black Americans throughout history and in the present day.
This annual month-long celebration grew out of “Negro History Week,” established by historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans in 1928. Black History Month has been recognized nationally since 1976, with a specific theme identified by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This year's theme, "Black Resistance" explores how "African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings," since America's founding, and calls on everyone "to study the history of Black Americans' responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified and respected."
I encourage you to learn more about Black history and gather with others in your community to celebrate Black achievements, as well as learn about the work still to do to make our society and our community more inclusive and equitable for all.
Madison Public Library has a list of many free activities in February and beyond, as well as books, movies and other resources to explore.
A few selected events include:
Daughters of the Dust screening at Lakeview Library
- February 3, 6-8PM | Lakeview Library
Goodman South Madison's Friday Family Films
Fridays in February, 5:30-7:45PM | Goodman South Madison Library
- Ruby Bridges (February 3)
- 42 (February 10)
- The Great Debaters (February 17)
- Harriet (February 24)
Films also available for free streaming via Kanopy with a free account.
Wisconsin Book Festival: Love Released Again
Sunday, February 19, 2PM | Central Library
Book launch of new works by local authors Poet Fabu, Sherry Lucille and Catrina J. Sparkman.
Tinkering Tuesday: Lois Mailou Jones Masks
February 21, 4:30-6:30PM | Meadowridge Library
Drop in to the children's area at Meadowridge Library for art, making, tinkering and fun! Celebrate Black History Month by learning about renowned artist Lois Mailou Jones and create a mask in her style with oil pastels!
Wisconsin Book Festival: Above Ground
Monday, April 3, 7PM | Central Library
A remarkable poetry collection from Clint Smith, the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of How the Word Is Passed. Clint Smith’s vibrant and compelling new collection traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood, and explores how becoming a parent has recalibrated his sense of the world.
Wisconsin Book Festival: The Tradition
Thursday, April 27, 7PM | Central Library
Presented in partnership with the UW Program in Creative Writing & winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Beauty abounds in Jericho Brown’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, despite and inside of the evil that pollutes the everyday.
See all the library’s resources and events at the Madison Public Library Black History Month web page.
In addition, the Madison Senior Center is hosting our own Deputy Mayor, Dr. Linda Vakunta, for the Voices of Color series in February. Dr. Vakunta works with housing and human service issues for the City, and she was recently named as one of Wisconsin’s 52 Most Influential Black Leaders in 2022. You can hear her in conversation with Melvin Hinton on Thursday, February 16 at 10am. The event is virtual; email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.