February is Black History Month

Black History Month, or African American History Month, is celebrated nationally each year during February. It is a time to highlight the contributions and achievements of African American individuals, as well as their struggles for freedom and equality in the United States.

Hennepin County libraries will honor Black History Month this February with public programs, displays and activities in libraries, and recommended online book lists.

You are also welcome to visit our unique collections at Sumner Library and Minneapolis Central Library to dig deeper into the rich history of African Americans: 

Programs and events during Black History Month 2020

Hope in the Struggle: A Conversation With Dr. Josie Johnson

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Josie Johnson, one of the most important civil rights activists in Minnesota. Dr. Johnson will discuss her memoir, "Hope in the Struggle," about her experience championing social justice throughout the ongoing civil rights movement in the United States – specifically in Minnesota. Discussion will be followed by Q&A. At Linden Hills Recreation Center, 3100 W. 43rd St., Minneapolis, Saturday, February 1, 2-3:30 p.m.

On Screen: Black History Month

Watch the film, and also celebrate the moments, memories and people in Black history that inspire you. At Brooklyn Park Library, 6-9 p.m., Mondays:

  • February 3: Hidden Figures
  • February 10: Black Panther
  • February 24: Lion King (live action 2019)

Toni Morrison – an Appreciation

Toni Morrison was one of America’s greatest writers. Her amazing array of powerful stories and use of language delved deeply into this country’s horrific attitudes and behaviors concerning race and the black experience. In these difficult and contentious times, reading and reviewing her works have become more urgent than ever. Please join English Professor Emeritus Toni McNaron, as we gather for a discussion and heart-felt appreciation of this vital American author, editor, and Nobel Prize winner. Sponsor: Friends of Walker Library. At Walker Library, Wednesday, February 12, 2-3 p.m.

Teen Tech Workshop: Smart Room Technologies

In 1976, African American engineer and inventor Clarence L. Elder received a patent for one of the first “smart room” technologies ever, still in use nearly everywhere today. Join the Teen Tech Squad in a hands-on workshop to discover how they work and try to beat the Motion Sensor! For teens. At Webber Park Library, Thursday, February 13, 5-6:30 p.m.    

On this Spot: South Side Stories with Daniel Pierce Bergin

Explore Black history of south Minneapolis in this pop-up documentary with live narration from award winning filmmaker Daniel Pierce Bergin. The film visits the Spokesman Recorder Newspaper, Martin Luther King Park, and Hosmer Library with a focus on place, the past and the people whose stories are found on these spots. At Hosmer Library, Saturday, February 15, 2-3:30 p.m.

On Screen: "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am"

Join us in a video celebration and an insightful examination of the life of author Toni Morrison, as we view the acclaimed documentary: "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am." The film features Toni Morrison, as well as other notable observers, speaking about her life and the powerful themes and ideas she wrote about throughout her literary career. Sponsor: Friends of Walker Library. At Walker Library, Saturday, February 15, 2-4 p.m.

Author Talk: Daphne Brown

Writer, speaker, human development specialist and Minneapolis native Brown will discuss her book, "Spiritual Healing for a Woman's Soul," about personal, passionate and courageous accounts of triumph and deliverance from the "bondage of the past." Books will be available for purchase and signing. Funded by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. At Brooklyn Park Library, Saturday, February 15, 3-4 p.m.

Edina Reads: Toni Morrison

On what would have been Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison's 89th birthday, students from Edina High School, the Edina Community Education Writers' Group, and members of the public will read from Morrison's novels, from writing inspired by her, and writing to honor her work as groundbreaking writer of American fiction and the African American experience. An Edina Reads program in honor of Black History Month. Sponsors: Friends of the Edina Library, Edina Senior Center, Edina Community Foundation, Edina High School, Edina Community Education, Edina Art Center, Edina League of Women Voters. At Edina Senior Center, located in the lower level of the library, Tuesday, February 18, 6:30-8 p.m.

Celebrating Seitu Jones, Minnesota African American Artist

Celebrate Black History Month by honoring the achievements of Minnesota Black artist Seitu Jones. Jones is a visual artist who has created over 30 large-scale public art works, won numerous awards and been granted multiple fellowships. He also helped create a 5-acre farm in a city park in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood. Sponsor: Minnesota's Black Community Project. At Minneapolis Central Library, Saturday, February 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

400 Years of Minnesota History with Lissa Jones

Join us as the host of KMOJ’s Urban Agenda, Lissa Jones, presents 400 Years of Minnesota History.Jones will discuss black life in Minnesota since George Bonga. George Bonga was a Black Indian fur trader, one of the first people of African descent born in the part of the Northwest Territory that later became the State of Minnesota. Program will include a fun quiz and Q & A time. Funded by Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. At Hosmer Library, Saturday, February 22, 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m.

Elma Gene’s Journey to Freedom

The story of Elma Gene's Journey to Freedom was written as a play based on the brave and courageous children who participated in the Children's March in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. It will be told through engaging storytelling and powerful monologues by presenter Michelle Perdue. Funded by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. For all ages. At Brooklyn Park Library, Saturday, February 22, 3-4 p.m.

Lady Days: An evening with Thomasina Petrus

Local jazz singer Thomasina Petrus will present a musical bio performance of some of America's first and finest female jazz vocalists including Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. Petrus will channel these jazz greats of the past celebrating their talent and strength while honoring their struggle and determination. Funded by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Appetizers and beverages will be served. At New Rules, 2015 Lowry Ave N., Minneapolis, MN, Monday, February 24, 7-8:30 p.m.

Recommended book lists

Online resources