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. 4, 2023. Check back often for updates. If you know of any events not included in this list, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.)
Heritage Activity Table: Black History at the National Cowboy Museum (1700 NE 63rd St). Learn about the different perspectives of Black history in the West. African-American soldiers, known as Buffalo Soldiers, played an important role in the West. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
FREE Heroes of Black History Challenge at the Almonte Library (2914 SW 59th St). Take a journey around the library to decipher the secret code and learn about heroes that have helped move society forward through politics, art and action. Activity available during regular business hours.
FREE History Speaks presents: Jasmine Guy & Kadeem Hardison at Oklahoma Christian University (2501 E Memorial Rd) features two stars from “A Different World” to discuss the revolutionary television show. Free to attend. 7-9 p.m.
FREE Celebrate Black Excellence – Lorna Simpson at the Capitol Hill Library (327 SW 27th St). Explore Lorna Simpson’s artwork and create your own versions inspired by her remarkable work. Best suited for teens & adults. Preregister. 6-7 p.m.
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. 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Step Afrika! at OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center (7777 S May Ave) features the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The show blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, traditional African dances and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience. $29 & up. 7:30 p.m.
Heritage Activity Table: Women’s History at the National Cowboy Museum (1700 NE 63rd St). Learn about Stagecoach Mary Fields – the first Black woman mail carrier in the United States. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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.
Through March 1
FREE Voices at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) explores the perspectives of six local Black artists and how they use art to communicate and reflect. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Feb. 18-May 14
Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features a tribute to black activists, scientists, teachers and performers as well as international heads of state working to bring peace to the world. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the collection of more than 1,000 works by Johnson given to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by the Harmon Foundation. Adults, $14.95; kids (17 & under), free. Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. .
Art and Activism at Tougaloo College at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features works of art from the collection of Tougaloo College, a historically Black college in Mississippi. Founded in 1869, Tougaloo College played a central role in the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for racial equality. Adults, $14.95; kids (17 & under), free. Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
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.
FREE Edmond’s African American History: Land Run to Integration from Edmond History Museum (virtual) explores the history of African American families in Edmond, segregation and more.
“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.
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.
“In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou
- Big O’s BBQ – 285 S Santa Fe Ave, Edmond
- Brielle’s Bistro – 2113 S Air Depot, Midwest City
- Carican Flavors (Caribbean American homestyle) food– 2701 N Martin Luther King Ave
- Culture Coffee – 1029 NW 6th St
- Freezing Cow – 6401 NW Expressway
- Off the Hook – 125 W Britton Rd
- Taste of Soul Egg Roll – 4605 SE 29th St
- The Hive Eatery – 1149 E 2nd St, Edmond
OKC Black Restaurant Weeks is an annual showcase supporting Black-owned restaurants. Organizers will host specially priced lunches, brunches and dinners at participating restaurants. 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!