15 Black History Month Events for Chicago Families

February is Black History Month. But did you know that the precursor to Black History Month, Negro History Week, was created in 1926 here in Chicago by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History? He selected the month of February to overlap with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1976, it became Black History Month. Decades later, there are now several family-friendly events taking place in the city where you can learn more about and celebrate Black history.

Virtual Field Trip at DuSable Museum of African American History

While the DuSable Museum is temporarily closed, you can take a virtual visit with Mayor Lightfoot in the Stay Home. Hit Play series. The museum is also hosting virtual events while closed. Visit its website for more information.

From Sand Ridge to Freedom Road

Feb. 6, 2021

  • Hosted by: Sand Ridge Nature Center
  • Cost: Free

Discover how the ancient shoreline Michigan City Road was formed and its connection to the Chicago to Detroit route of the Underground Railroad on Facebook Live.

Holiday Craft Time with Portage-Cragin and Sulzer: Black History Month

Feb. 6, 2021

  • Hosted by: Chicago Public Library

Join the Portage-Cragin Branch and Sulzer Regional for a monthly holiday craft program. This month’s theme is Black History Month. You must register online before picking up your craft materials bags from the libraries.

Black History Month Banner Craft

Feb. 10, 2021

  • Hosted by: Waukegan Park District
  • Cost: Free

Create your own banner craft at home. The Waukegan Park District will guide you virtually while teaching you about significant Black history.

Black History Read Alouds

Feb. 8, 18, 23 2021

  • Hosted by: Wheaton Public Library

Celebrate Black History Month as the staff at Wheaton Public Library reads some picture book biographies over Zoom. Each week, they’ll introduce you to an important historical figure or two. Register for each session individually.

Bisa Butler: Portraits

Museum reopens Feb. 11, 2021

Bisa Butler’s portrait quilts vividly capture personal and historical narratives of Black life. She strategically uses textiles — a traditionally marginalized medium — to interrogate the historical marginalization of her subjects while using scale and subtle detail to convey her subjects’ complex individuality. Bisa Butler: Portraits is the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work and will include more than 20 portraits.

Black by Popular Demand: A Virtual Celebration

Feb. 15, 2021

  • Hosted by: Chicago Public Library

Celebrate Black History Month with a Jeopardy-style trivia game highlighting the most influential African Americans in the world.

A Bit of History: Dramatic Portrayal of Harriet Tubman

Feb. 17, 2021

  • Hosted by: Tinley Park Public Library
  • Cost: Free, registration required for online link.

Get a glimpse of Harriet Tubman’s triumphant life in this compelling performance by actress Cynthia Maddox. The live presentation is interactive, and guests may be visible to other participants.

Fam Bam Dunham Dance Jam

Feb. 20, 2021

  • Hosted by: Kido Chicago and Free Mvmt Shop
  • Cost: $5 suggested donation per family

Enjoy a special dance class for Black History Month. Ashley Rockwood from Free Mvmt Shop will teach our families the Dunham Technique (created by Katherine Dunham, a pioneer of modern dance), a very athletic dance form infused with African and Caribbean style.

Mandela: Struggle for Freedom

Opens Feb. 20, 2021

Mandela: Struggle for Freedom traces the history of the fight against apartheid in South Africa, with Nelson Mandela as one of its central figures. With immersive environments, Mandela promotes human rights with a clear message: all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Black History Month Story Time

Feb. 20, 2021

  • Hosted by: Chicago Public Library, Back of the Yards Branch

Join the Back of the Yards Branch for a fun Black History Month story time for the whole family. They’ll share songs, rhymes and books, plus suggestions for at-home activities to honor and celebrate Black people all over the world.

Little Leaders + Little Legends Storytime with Vashti Harrison

Feb. 20, 2021

  • Hosted by: Sam’s Club

Wonder, inspiration, truth – just a bit of what you can expect from the historical stories of trailblazing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color by Vashti Harrison. Kids and adults will enjoy learning about these exceptional men and women through her beautifully illustrated and engaging book series.

Storytime with Meena Harris

Feb. 20, 2021

  • Hosted by: Sam’s Club

Lawyer, entrepreneur, and New York Times best-selling author Meena Harris joins for a 30-minute Zoom reading of her newest picture book, “Ambitious Girl.” A true story based on her mother, Maya, and aunt, Vice President Kamala Harris, this is this perfect story for anyone who’s ever felt underestimated or overshadowed.

Black History Month Virtual Concert: Preserving and Persevering

Feb. 25, 2021

  • Hosted by: Chicago Children’s Choir
  • Cost: Free

This Chicago Children’s Choir’s 2021 Black History Month concert explores how the power of Black music has been the cultural key in both preserving African traditions in America and in helping millions persevere in the face of racial injustice.

Diamond’s Dream

Through May 21, 2021

  • Hosted by: Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Cost: $25 suggested donation

Diamond, a pre-teen African-American boy, has fallen asleep on a CTA Red Line train while on his way to visit his dying grandmother. When he awakes, time and reality have shifted, and he meets the ghost of a young African-American girl, a shape-shifting elder spirit who died of Spanish Flu 100 years ago to the date. Both are confronted with paranormal puppets and images representing society’s ills – ignorance, poverty and racism. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

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This story originally published on Jan. 30, 2019. It has been updated with the most recent information.


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