Feb 01, 2017

Looking for ways to celebrate National African American History Month (also known as Black History Month) in the Ann Arbor area? A lot of activities, special exhibits and events are happening throughout the month. Below is a small sample of six ways to observe National African American History Month in the Ann Arbor area.

1. Black History Month Film and Discussion at the Ann Arbor District Library. On February 8th the Ann Arbor Downtown Library is providing a free screening of the 2012 documentary, “Alice’s Ordinary People”. The movie highlights the history of Alice Tregay and the important role she played in standing up to injustice in her community. Following the movie, the award-winning director Craig Dudnick will lead a discussion of the film’s themes and topics. The move is intended for grade 6 through adult. 

2. Oral History 101 at the Ypsilanti District Library. Learn how to create an oral history and listen to oral histories from the A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive. This free event on February 26 is in partnership with the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. 

3. The African American Cultural and Historical Museum. This Museum was established in 1993 to collect, document, preserve and present the historical and cultural contributions of Washtenaw County's African American community. It has historically functioned as a ''museum without walls'' and the Museum is in the process of moving to a permanent home at 1528 Pontiac Trail in Ann Arbor. The museum offers bus tours of the Underground Railroad featuring sites (more than twenty, including historic homes and cemeteries).  Reservations may be made by calling the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County at (734) 761-1717. The tour costs are $20 per adult and $10 per student.

4. 'Black History Month' special exhibit at the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti. The Riverside Arts Center has a special exhibit showcasing local area African American artist and their art. The exhibit includes visual, literary and performance art. The exhibit is Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 3 pm to 8 pm, and on Sundays from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. 

5. Special collection at the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. A featured collection titled ‘Mary L. Beasley Collection, 1930 – 1950’ is at the Bentley Historical Library. Mary L. Beasley was president of a women’s organization that supported Black-owned businesses and helped train Detroit’s young African Americans for careers in business in the 1930’s. The Bentley recently acquired her collection, which includes an autographed copy of longtime Detroit mayor Coleman A. Young. 

6. Wild Swan Theater continues its 37th season with Drum Me a Story in celebration of Black History Month.  This collection of African tales was selected and developed for children ages 3 through 9 and is 45 minutes in length.  These humorous stories, including two different Anansi stories illustrating the cleverness of Anansi the spider man, and “How the Turtle Got Its Shell,” will be performed through storytelling, acting, and drumming. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for youth and seniors. 

How are you celebrating National African American History Month? Let us know by tweeting to us at @VisitAnnArbor or sharing with us on Facebook at Facebook.com/VisitAnnArbor. If you’re looking for even more things to do in February, view our calendar of events

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