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 and communities, as well as their struggles for freedom and equality in the United States.

Hennepin County libraries will honor Black History Month this February with online events and videos, and by sharing the history and art of African Americans in displays and online book lists.

Sudduth Collection

The Sudduth African American History and Culture Collection at Sumner Library was named after community leader Gary N. Sudduth.

Online events and videos

Local African American Artist Series

Watch the prerecorded virtual programs on-demand from January 25-February 28 on Hennepin County Library’s YouTube Channel. Collaborator: 30,000 Feet. Funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

  • David Buchanan: Framing Our Stories, January 25-February 28
    Grades 9-12. Learn about the five basic elements to creating videos and telling stories about Black culture and social justice. Watch now.
  • Frank Sentwali: Speaking Your Truth with Spoken Word, February 1-28
    Grades 5-8. Artist Sentwali will talk about a social justice art piece and the power and art of spoken word to address social justice and culture. Watch now.
  • Ashley DuBose: Sing a Song of Hope, February 8-28
    Grades 5-8. Learn the basic elements to writing a song and how lyrics and music can be a powerful tool to share perspective, inspire hope and evoke positive change in the Black community.
  • Kenneth Caldwell: The Power of a Pencil and Paint, February 8-28
    K-grade 5. Using just five basic shapes and art supplies of your choice, explore how to create a fist, a symbol of Black culture and social justice.

Nickel Boys Book Discussion, Monday, February 8, 7 p.m.

Join the Minneapolis Central Library book club for this online discussion. Register today.

Building Racial Empathy Among Youth: An Artist Perspective, Monday, February 15, 6 p.m.

Grades 9-12 and adults. Join local African American artists David Buchanan, Kenneth Caldwell, Ashley DuBose and Danez Smith in a moderated conversation about art and building racial empathy among youth. Collaborator: 30,000 Feet. Funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

This program hosted by 30,000 Feet via Zoom. The link to the live online discussion will be emailed to registrants in advance. Register today.

Discussion of the TESTIFY exhibit with Alan Page, February 17, 7 p.m.

Join us as we welcome Justice Alan Page for a dialogue about items from the TESTIFY exhibit, which debuted at the Minneapolis Central Library's Cargill Gallery in 2018. The online event will revisit items from American history curated by the Diane and Alan Page Collection, helping to ground and provide context for current events. Register today.

Black History Month Films: The Role of the Arts and Artists in Social Justice Movements

The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery (MAAHMG) and Hennepin County Library invite you to honor Black History Month and reflect upon the role of arts and artists in social justice movements as you watch these three short films from MAAHMG. Partner: Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery. Sponsor: Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

  • Black Lives Matter - The Making of the Mural in Minneapolis: A video about the making of the Black Lives Matter mural, organized by the museum and painted by 16 local artists on Plymouth Avenue. Watch now.
  • UN-HEARD: A video compilation of performing artists expressing the emotions of the movement featuring an improv monologue by Alexis Camille; dance by LaTanya Cannady, Suzette Jornae, Naysha Glover and Ahzreanah Harris; spoken word by Joe Davis, Hannah Hagen, Sandrine Sugi, and Nico Moore; and sound designer and vocalist Andrea (Queen Drea) Reynolds. Watch now.
  • Save The Boards to Memorialize The Movement: An uprising was sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police. People took to the streets to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Artists supported the movement by creating murals expressing the pain, anger and resilience of the community on plywood boards on damaged buildings. "Save The Boards to Memorialize The Movement" is a project to preserve this artwork which documents the fight for racial justice.
    The project is a collaboration between "Save the Boards" led by Kenda Zellner-Smith, "Memorialize the Movement" led by Leesa Kelly and the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG). The plywood art boards are being collected, stored and documented and will be shared with the community in an outdoor exhibition in May 2021. Watch now.

A Conversation with the Cofounders of the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG), Tina Burnside and Coventry Cowens

Online event. Saturday, February 20, 2-3 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. Register today.

Save the Boards to Memorialize the Movement: A Conversation with "Save the Boards" founder Kenda Zellner-Smith and "Memorialize the Movement" founder Leesa Kelly

Online event. Saturday, February 27, 2-3 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. Register today.

BLACKOUT History Month! Thursday, February 25, 7 p.m.

Celebrate Black History Month with a virtual show featuring BLACKOUT, the first all-black improv group in Minnesota! BLACKOUT is a mix of comedy, social justice and arts access. Since 2015, their unique format of conversation-inspired improv has been the catalyst for hard conversations with levity.

Virtual doors open at 7 p.m., show time starts at 7:15 p.m. Hosted by Sumner Library staff.

Registration opens February 1. Registrants will be emailed a Zoom link to the program in advance of the event.

Stories with Crown Shepherd, Friday, February 26, 1 p.m.

In this 45-minute program, we will focus on challenging children to look into their future and express what they want to be when they grow up.

Book lists

Lists of recommended books from Hennepin County Library’s Black History and Culture Team

Online resources