Celebrate at the Northwest African American Museum, Seattle Art Museum, The Museum of Pop Culture and more.
February is Black History Month, an American tradition dating back to historian Carter G. Woodson’s 1926 declaration of “Negro History Week” in February, chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12 and Frederick Douglass on Feb. 14. As part of the United States’ Bicentennial in 1976, the expansion of “Negro History Week” to Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government, with President Gerald Ford urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
1.The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) hosts “What the Griot Said: Black History Month Storytelling,” from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2. The event includes a docent-led tour for adults introducing the exhibit “An Elegant Utility,” exploring Seattle’s historic Central District Northwest African American community through a collection of photographs, household items and other personal history of artist Inye Wokoma’s family, illustrating the larger story of African Americans in Seattle. NAAM is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays in the century-old Colman School building, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle, admission $5-$7; 206-518-6000 or naamnw.org.
2. The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) kicks off their monthlong celebration Friday, Feb. 3, at “Through the Eyes of Art,” featuring remarks by Seattle native and political strategist Angela Rye, a regular commentator on CNN, BET and other media outlets. Live performances include trumpeter Owuor Arunga, R&B singer Josephine Howell, and the reunion show of Seattle hip-hop group Ghetto Children, taking the stage for the first time in 19 years. The event also includes a Seattle Public Library mobile pop-up library featuring African-American literature, and the Servant of the People award presentation; 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, $12-$15. Upcoming MoPop events feature a performance by Northwest Tap Connection, mini film screening and discussion about the healing power of dance, 7:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 18, $8-$10; and Campout Cinema 25th anniversary screening of “Juice,” for ages 21 and older, 8 p.m. Feb. 23, $14; 325 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle; 206-770-2700 or www.mopop.org.
3. Seattle Art Museum’s exhibit “Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, ” the epic series that chronicles in words and pictures the exodus of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in the decades after the First World War, is on display through April 23. The exhibit also celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Seattle-based artist. Related events include: an art lecture at 11 a.m. Friday Feb. 3; Migration Stories open mic for community members to share their stories, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9; and pop-up performance by professional dance company Step Afrika! inspired by the work of Jacob Lawrence, 1-1:30 p.m. Feb. 19. Seattle Art Museum is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, until 9 p.m. Thursdays, 1300 First Ave., Seattle; $12.95-$19.95, ages 12 and younger free; 206-654-3100 or seattleartmuseum.org.
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4. Shoreline City Hall celebrates Black History Month with “Aftermash,” an art display in a variety of mediums exploring the black experience, opening with a special reception at 6:45 p.m. Feb. 9, then on view from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through April 21 at Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave. N., Shoreline; free; cityofshoreline.com.
5. Step Afrika! evening of dance, body percussion and spoken word combined with projections of Jacob Lawrence’s “The Migration Series” 60-panel artwork that chronicles the exodus of African-Americans from the rural South, performances at 8 p.m. Feb. 16-18, Meany Center for the Performing Arts, University of Washington, Seattle; $45-$50, $10/UW students; 206-543-4880 or meanycenter.org/.
Know of any other events? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Post will be updated.