Black History Month in OKC - MetroFamily Magazine
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Black History Month in OKC

Photo by Alex Tahman, courtesy of Myriad Gardens

Reading Time: 5 minutes 

February is Black History Month which means organizations across the metro are hosting a variety of family-friendly events and exhibitions, both in-person and virtually, for families who want to explore Black history and culture. Here are several local events and museum exhibitions happening in the Oklahoma City metro.

(Editor’s note: This is a working list last updated Jan. 20, 2022. Check back often for updates. If you know of any events not included in this list, please let us know by emailing tips@metrofamilymagazine.com.)

Learn

Jan. 31-Feb. 6

FREE Notable Black History Icons Scavenger Hunt at Ralph Ellison Library (2000 NE 23rd St) features  a scavenger hunt throughout the library to discover special cards detailing several notable Black icons. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m.

Feb. 1-28

UScelluar Black History Month Art Contest with Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County (online). Vote for your favorite piece of original artwork of influential Black STEM icons, including historical figures, world leaders, scientists and educators. The art was created by six finalists and anyone 18 or older can vote.

Feb. 5

Seizing Justice: The Greensboro 4 Smithsonian film screening at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr) features a screening of the documentary, followed by a panel discussion about the Oklahoma sit-in movement. Best suited for ages 12 & up. Adults, $10; students & seniors, $5. 1-3 p.m.

Feb. 10

FREE “From Tulsa to Beyond: African American Genealogy in the Indian Territory and Oklahoma” virtual presentation presented by the Oklahoma History Center (Zoom) features guest speaker Nicka Smith (citizen of the Cherokee Nation). Attendees will learn how to research the lives of their ancestors using tribal records (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole), federal records, newspapers, college/university collections, historical society records and more. Noon.

A Very OK Podcast LIVE: All-Black Towns at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr) features a live podcast event. OHS Executive Director Trait Thompson and Dr. Bob Blackburn of the OHS’s A Very OK Podcast will interview Henrietta Hicks of Boley, Shirley Nero of Clearview, and Oklahoma Senator Kevin Matthews of Tulsa about Oklahoma’s historic All-Black towns. Preregister. For ages 21 & up. 6 p.m.

Feb. 21

FREE A History Of Oklahoma’s All-Black Towns at the Ralph Ellison Library (2000 NE 23rd St) features a guest-panelist discussion about the important history behind the little-known All-Black towns in Oklahoma. 7-8 p.m.

Feb. 22

FREE Black History Month Storytime with the Downtown Library (Zoom) features an online storytime in honor of Black History Month. Enjoy interactive songs, stories and rhymes from the comfort of your home. 11-11:30 a.m.

Feb. 28

FREE The Urban Poets – Black History Month at the Ralph Ellison Library (2000 NE 23rd St) features an open mic night for local poets. In February, there will be a movie screening and discussion. 7-8:30 p.m.

Bonus: 

Listen to this new Raising OKC Kids podcast about the historic opening of the Greenwood Rising Museum in Tulsa. Philip Keith Armstrong, interim executive director of the museum, talks about the impact of this world-class facility.

The Conversation Workshops, a locally-based grassroots effort to provide insight about race and its effects on our social, economic and political contexts, offers a guide to learn about Black leaders, historic and modern-day, every day this month, plus links for music, interviews and more that illustrations how Black history is a shared history.


See

Through March 1

FREE I am… presented by the J’Parle Artist Group at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) explores Black history and culture in Oklahoma from Tulsa’s Black Wall Street of the 1920s to the vibrancy and diversity of today through the works of several unique black artists.  Monday & Tuesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Ongoing

FREE Inclusion in Art – Spirit of Color from the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (virtual) features works of art by nine prolific artists of color living in Oklahoma, honoring their long-standing commitment to the arts, community, sacrifice and achievements.

FREE The Life of Clara Luper: A Pioneer of the American Civil Rights Movement from the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (virtual) features archival material and historical information to present a timeline of Luper’s life and accomplishments.


Read

“Books inspire. They teach. They give comfort. They entertain. Books, and the information they impart, change people – usually for the better. Books that reflect your own culture and reality are critical.” – Camille Landry

Camille Landry, a writer, political activist and the owner Nappy Roots Books, an independent African American bookstore, art gallery, gathering space and community center, selected several books that focused on the rich history of African Americans. Here are a few of her selections:

  • The Hello, Goodbye Window, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka. This delightful picture book tells the story of a biracial little girl and her relationship with her grandparents, who provide a magical place for her to stay when Mom and Dad are busy.
  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison and Kwesi Johnson. Two picture books that chronicle some of the exceptional people in Black history. These books are sure to be a welcome addition to any child’s library. They will also serve as inspirations for children to know that they can do anything they set their mind to, no matter what challenges they may face in life.
  • Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Centered around Arturo Schomburg, this book tells the story of how his collection of books, letters, music and art found its way to becoming a collection at the New York Public Library.
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. The Watsons are headed to Birmingham to visit their grandmother. During their visit, their Grandmother’s church is bombed. Taking place at the time of the 16th Street Baptist Church

For more books that celebrate the Black experience that can be enjoyed by young readers of every race and nationality, read Landry’s blog about how Black history is American history.

Bonus: 

Extend your storytime with these coloring pages by Angela Charles highlighting Black historical figures Ruby Bridges, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Madam CJ Walker and Frederick Douglass.

Angela Charles is the creator behind Tote Box Kids, a virtual store on the Teachers Pay Teachers online marketplace, and owner of AnjiZign Studios


Eat

“In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou

When deciding where to spend your dollars, you are making an investment in our community. That investment helps shape what our metro looks like and, by supporting a diverse landscape of local businesses, you are helping to keep our city vibrant, amplifying a variety of voices, entrepreneurs and creatives.
Here are some of our favorite local Black-owned restaurants in the Oklahoma City metro for you to consider supporting this February, during Black History Month, and year-round.

For more local Black-owned restaurants and shops, check out our list.

For even more local events and things to do, visit our searchable calendar fill with family-friendly events every day of the week. Or sign up for our e-newsletters to get all of MetroFamily’s best resources sent right to your inbox!  

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