INDIANAPOLIS — In 1986, The U.S Congress officially designated the month of February as National Black History Month, encouraging the American people to observe the life, achievements, and history of Black Americans with activities and ceremonies.
Now, across the country the month is filled with events to fill your calendar.
Things to do in Indianapolis for Black History Month:
1. MLK Shining a Light
Downtown Indy Inc's will continue to showcase the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr with its light technology from Feb.1-28. The presentation presented by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, will be projected nightly at 6:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on the AES Indiana building.
2. Art & Soul Festival
Indy Arts Council's 27th annual Art & Soul Festival returns with several events in Indianapolis highlighting black art, music, dance, and literature. The festival kicks off on Feb.3 with a First Friday Gallery. The festival also features an artist showcase on Feb. 8th and a finale celebration at the Indianapolis Arts Garden on Feb. 25.
3. Lunch with the Legislators
The Indy Black Chamber of Commerce will host a free Lunch with the Legislators event at the Indiana State House on the 2nd floor of the South Atrium – 200 W. Washington St., from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.16.
This networking event will provide an opportunity for all business owners and individuals to meet with legislators to about the laws that may assist local businesses and the economy, as well as individuals and the community as a whole.
4. Black Heritage Preservation Research Workshop
On Feb. 7. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Indiana Landmarks is hosting a day-long workshop to share techniques and resources for uncovering, researching and documenting Black heritage.
The workshop will feature a performance by Freetown Village actors showing how Black history can be brought to life, research and writing tips, and information about grant writing and grant-making organizations.
The event is free with RSVP and lunch is provided. The workshop will also be available via zoom.
5. Celebrate Black History Month at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
On Thursday, Feb. 2, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis will celebrate Black heritage in history, science, art and music through storytelling, special activities and performances featuring Alyssa Gaines, 2022 National Youth Poet Laureate, and other artists. Admission is $6.
There are also places to stop to connect to Black history located in the museum all year long. Visit their website to find a list of things to check out.
6. The Crown Hair Show for the Culture
Indy Juneteenth will bring a Hair show to Indianapolis. Black hair stylists, black owned hair care products and black owned salons will compete and showcase the beauty of black hair.
The event will be located at Martin University Hardin Gathertorium on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Get tickets here.
7. Legacy: Celebrating Black Voices
Garfield Park Arts Center will exhibit artwork by Black Artist for free from Feb. 3 through Feb.25. Visitors will find paintings, drawing, mixed media and sculptures by Black artists.
Learn more here.
8. Kyle T. Mays: Leon Jett Memorial Lecture
On Feb. 16 at the Eiteljorg Museum, Mays (Saginaw Chippewa), a professor of African American Studies and American Indian Studies and History at UCLA, will speak about hip-hop music by Native artists.
Tickets are $15 for non-members and $10 members.
9. Meet the Artists Exhibit
The 35th Annual Meet the Artists exhibit at the Indianapolis Public Library from Feb.1 through March 25 showcases Black artists, fashion designers, authors, comedians and musicians.
A Gala Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 5:30 to 11 p.m.
Learn more here.
10. The Afro-Jewish Intersection: Revealing Our Connections
Through March 3 at JCC Indianapolis view the exhibit by two local artists: Kassa Bekele and William Rasdell. Bekele is an Ethiopian American painter. Rasdell is a photographer who has traveled around Africa in search of Jewish enclaves. He has also spent time within the community of Ethiopian Jews in Israel.
Bekele and Rasdell provide an artistic experience that helps sew together thousands of years of common history and belief that leads right to the present day.
A gallery reception will be held on Feb. 2 for food, conversation and a chance to Q&A with artist.
The event is free, but registration is appreciated.