Living history

16 Ways To Celebrate Black History Month This February

Whether you’re an amateur artist, theater-lover, or bookworm, there’s something for everyone.

By Catherine Wendlandt and Shelby Stewart

Black History Month has arrived. 

Designated as a time to celebrate African-Americans' remarkable achievements and contributions, the month-long celebration expanded from its original founding as "Negro History Week" by Carter G. Woodson.

Houston alone is rich in Black History, from notable people to consequential places. In Bayou City, Black History Month will be celebrated every day through a series of marketplaces, lectures, and performances.

Below, find 15 ways to celebrate in Houston.

BLCK Market

For the third year in a row, owner and founder of BLCK Market, J.O. Malone, is bringing his Black-owned retail marketplace to Avenida Houston. Each Saturday this month, Malone will bring 50 locally black-owned businesses to the outdoor market, including artists, designers, and entrepreneurs offering a wide variety of products and services. 

Every Saturday in February, 1–5 p.m. on the Plaza at Avenida (between the GRB & Discovery Green). 

Celebration of Black Voices Festival 

In the first-ever event of its kind, Houston Public Library has created a month-long celebration, highlighting Black luminaries across the nation. The event will feature the creativity of Black artists, poets, and storytellers, including the likes of the 2021 Texas Writer Award winner Don Tate, Houston's Poet Laureate, Outspoken Bean, Houston Youth Poet Laureate Avalon Hogans, and actress Jean Donatto as Rosa Parks.

Central Library, 500 McKinney Street. Saturday, February 19, from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Register on the website.

“In Their Own Words: Genealogy in the Slave Narratives”

Clayton Library will present "In Their Own Words: Genealogy in the Slave Narratives," with guest speaker Renate Y. Sanders. The research center will take a deep dive into genealogical information about enslaved families, their owners, and their communities. 

Clayton Library, 5300 Caroline Street. Friday, February 4, from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Register for the event online.

Harris County Cultural Arts Council Art Exhibit

The HCCAC will curate an art exhibit at Avenida Houston for February. The exhibition, a part of Houston First's Black History Month Celebration, will honor and commemorate local Black artists. HCCAC Fellow Ted Ellis will headline the opening of the gallery. Other prominent artists will also participate in the undertaking, including famous muralist Alice Patrick, Jean Mathieu-Baptiste, Adonnia, Cecilie Nicole Baxter, Linda Simeon Kelly, Linda Luna, Madelyn McCraney, and Allyson Bryant Moon.  

Every Saturday in February, 1–5 p.m. on the Plaza at Avenida (between the GRB & Discovery Green).

“The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks: Family Reflections on Medical Research, Consent, and her ‘Immortal’ Life”

In 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital took Henrietta Lacks's cells without her knowledge. Her cells became the first immortal human cells grown in a lab and have aided medical innovations like the polio vaccine, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. In this moderated discussion, Lacks's family will discuss how they found out years later. 

The African American Library at the Gregory School, 1300 Victor Street. Wednesday, February 2, from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Register online.

Live Music at Avenida Houston

Throughout February, KTSU will host live music at the main stage at Avenida Houston. Performances will feature entertainment from local bands with a different genre highlighted each Saturday, starting with jazz on February 5 and closing with gospel and inspirational on February 26. 

Every Saturday in February, 1–5 p.m. on the Plaza at Avenida (between the GRB & Discovery Green). Check the schedule for live music set times.

Black Literature Matters Book Fair

In collaboration with Black Men Build, Black Literature Matters amplifies Black voices for Black History Month through the Black Literature Matters Book Fair. Authors and poets will be able to present their works to the public. 

Black Literature Matters Book Fair, 2300 Pierce Street. Saturday, February 19, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. To register, visit Eventbrite.


A DAY of REMEMBRANCE: A Black History Month tribute to the Sugar Land 95

The Society for the Justice & Equality for the People of Sugar Land commemorates the lives and the work of the souls that fell victim to convict leasing in Sugar Land. The event will honor the discovery of remains four years to the day later through an educational tribute. 

Fluor Corporation, 1 Fluor Daniel Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77478. Saturday, February 19, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. To register, visit Eventbrite.


Black Owned Business Exhibition

Bayou City Event Center will host a Black-owned business exhibition with over 50 vendors, from fashion to culinary to artisan candles. There will also be a special scholarship giveaway for emerging young entrepreneurs who have the opportunity to showcase their products or service.

Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Road. Sunday, February 13, from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. To register, visit Eventbrite.

KTSU Daily Moments in Black History  

KTSU-FM, Texas Southern University's student radio station, and Houston First have joined forces to create "Daily Moments in Black History," a series that will pay tribute to the legacy of African American legends from Houston. 

KTSU 90.9 FM Houston. Daily.

Ensemble Theater presents, The Lawsons 

The Ensemble Theater presents The Lawsons,  a romantic story of courting, love, and a fight for freedom. The story follows Bill and Audrey Lawson, a Black couple from Houston that participated in sit-ins and protests in the 1950s. 

Ensemble Theater, 3535 Main Street. Throughout February. To purchase tickets, visit the website.


Culture: Our New Normal Exhibition. A Look Into Black Culture

Bisong Art Gallery's new exhibition will explore the current events in the Black community and how it shapes the present reality. The multidisciplinary exhibit will feature paintings, drawings, sculptures, and mixed media from various artists. 

Prairie View A&M University NW. Houston Center, 9449 Grant Road. Friday, February 4 at 6:00 p.m. To register, visit Eventbrite.


Sawari Tours presents Black Houston Bus Tours

Learn about the history of significant Black landmarks in Houston with Sawari Tours Black Houston Bus Tours. Throughout February, Sawari will feature Houston's Black History and Houston Black Art. 

Houston This Is It Soul Food, 2712 Blodgett Street. Saturday, February 26, from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and again from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets start at $35. To purchase tickets, visit Eventbrite.


Paint Your History

Embrace your crafty side with the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum's monthly Paint Your History event series—where each month, the art highlights a different piece of African American history. 

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, 3816 Caroline Street. February 9 at 6:00 p.m. $5, Paint Your History ticket; $10, access and museum admission. Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, 3816 Caroline St. Learn more here.

The Watsons Go To Birmingham

Main Street Theater's interpretation of The Watsons Go To Birmingham is based on Christopher Paul Curtis' critically acclaimed book. Set in 1963, at the height of race relations in America. The Watsons travel from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama, to witness one of America's saddest tragedies, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. 

Main Street Theater, 3400 Main Street. Through February 13. Tickets start at $23.50. To purchase tickets, visit the website.


Apollo Chamber Players: Library Voyage Live

Join LSC-Tomball Community Library for a celebration of Black culture. The free event is a multidisciplinary program of music and poetry starring the Apollo Chamber Players and special guests Houston Poet Laureate, Outspoken Bean, Dr. John Cornelius, Professor of Music at Prairie-View A&M, and singer Kenneth Gayle.

Lone Star College Tomball Community Library, 30555 Tomball Parkway, TX 77375. Friday, February 18, from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. To register, visit Eventbrite. 


CAMH’s The Dirty South Exhibit

Since November, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston has hosted The Dirty South Exhibit, and the exhibition will conclude its run this month. On view until February 6, the collection encapsulates the Southern Black experience in America. Read more about the production here. 

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose Boulevard. On view through February 6. For more information, visit the website.

Move Into The Future Art Installation and Pop-Up 

Together, United We Dream and Black Lives Matter Houston will debut a brand new art installation and pop-up shop this month in the heart of Third Ward. The structure, created by artist Wyatt Closs includes a series of tile portraits that showcase immigrant youth and their fight for justice, plus works from ​​Mer Young, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Alex Arzu. The pop-up shop will include work from Black, indigenous and immigrant artists.

Emancipation Park, 3018 Emancipation Ave.Saturday, February 26 at 11:00 a.m. Free. More information here. 

All Month Long 

Become an Ally

Use this month to learn more about the African American experience in the US. The YMCA of Greater Houston has plenty of resources, including activities, definitions, links, and more, through its Equity Innovation Center. Also, check out our list of books to read your way to anti-racism. 

Read a Book

After you finish our list on anti-racism, check out Houston Public Library's Black History Month reading list. There are dozens of essays, memoirs, biographies, histories, and more, including The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama. HPL also has E-book and audiobook options. 

See the complete reading list here.

Support Local

One of the best things you can do this month is support a local Black-owned business. If you're looking to eat, check out our recommendations—some of our favorite restaurants. If you want to shop, check out this list of awesomely creative Black-owned shops around town.

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