CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ready to Celebrate Black History Month?
Destination Cleveland will host several virtual and socially distant events, exhibits, and more across the Cleveland area to increase residents’ knowledge and understanding of Cleveland’s black history. The Cleveland Public Library also offers a variety of events.
“Cleveland has a strong history of black influence,” Destination Cleveland said in a press release. “From history and science to the arts, culture and education, Cleveland has many landmark moments and places in black history.”
The library aims to provide thought-provoking conversations about race, policing, and community engagement.
This is how you can get involved:
EDUCATIONAL EXHIBITIONS AND LEARNING LECTURES
Cleveland Museum of Art: The Politics of Sound: February 3rd at 12 noon
How has music served as a tool for political change? Join Andrew Cappetta, exhibition and collection program manager at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Nwaka Onwusa, vice president of curatorial affairs and chief curator of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, for a conversation about the power of music and artists using word and sound to fight for social justice and racial equality.
Kent State University: The Black American Experience: February 18th from 12pm to 1.30pm
Kent State University is hosting a virtual program to raise awareness of the experiences of black Americans in a country based on racism and slavery and to start discussions on how we can move forward.
Western Reserve Historical Society / Cleveland History Center: This year, virtual programming from the Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland History Center will allow residents to learn more about the influence of black people in Cleveland from the comfort of their homes. Locals can enjoy talks from Speaking of Cleveland, which covers key community figures and practices, and the online exhibition Celebrate Those Who Give Black, which explores the rich history of donating to black charities and tells the story of black philanthropy in Cleveland. immerse yourself in black history.
The rise of Black Glenville: This virtual exhibit delves deep into Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, a historic landmark for the civil rights movement. Curator Shelli Reeves worked to collect stories, history and photos of the neighborhood for the exhibition. In addition to viewing it online, Cleveland residents can also schedule an appointment to see the exhibit at the ThirdSpace Action Lab in Cleveland.
CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY
Cleveland Public Library and 19 News: And Justice For All: February 20th at 7 p.m. on WUAB CW 43
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cleveland Public Library has given its traditional program a new twist by partnering with WOIO 19 News to host their 36th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. aired. The segment, which debuted in January, will re-air on WUAB CW 43 on February 20 at 7 p.m.
Author and reader series and workshop: Understanding police in the 21st century
The library’s Writers & Readers series discusses the books and stories that shaped their lives with various authors, scholars and public figures. For the first time ever, a virtual workshop will accompany each Writers & Readers event to provide a platform for attendees to seek better understanding and common ground on issues facing the City of Cleveland.
Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m .: Civil rights attorneys Terry Gilbert and Gordon Friedman, founding partners of Friedman, Gilbert, and Gerhardstein who specialize in civil rights and criminal defense. LegalWorks Founder and Principal Attorney James Levin will moderate the discussion.
February 27 at 12 noon: Join Jelani Cobb and Heather McGhee for an open discussion about understanding policing in the 21st century. Cobb writes for The New Yorker and is a professor of journalism at Columbia University. He has written several books: The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, Until Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip-Hop Aesthetic, and The Devil and Dave Chapelle. McGhee is a political commentator, political strategist, regular NBC News writer, and author of The Sum of Us: What Racism All Costs and How We Can Thrive Together.
Books like us
Wednesdays in February at 6pm: The library hosts an event to inspire families and promote literacy during Black History Month with books like us! The event honors African American authors and illustrators through art. Every Wednesday, the Art Therapy Studio supports children in grade K-5 in researching books and creating art inspired by books. Registration is required and art supplies will be provided. Families can register at cpl.org.
CELEBRATION AND ENTERTAINMENT
Karamu House: The Impact of “Shuffle Along”: February 1st to 28th
Karamu House, America’s oldest black producing theater, offers virtual, on-demand, free music documentation on Shuffle Along. The multimedia concert is presented in collaboration with The Musical Theater Project and features songs from the very first jazz musical. It tells the story and story of the groundbreaking production that will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021. Karamu House will also perform live virtual events every Friday during Black History Month as part of the In the Tradition community program series.
Playhouse Square: Rhapsody in Black: February 22nd to 28th
Cleveland residents can enjoy the virtual solo exhibition, written and performed by LeLand Gantt, which describes his personal journey to understanding racism in America. In addition to the on-demand show, Playhouse Square will receive Mr. Gantt for a live Q&A on February 28 at 7 p.m.
This year, Clevelanders can enjoy the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Black History Month celebration in person or virtually through the “It’s Always Said: Voices of Anger, Hope, and Empowerment” exhibit, which shows black artists and their uses of music responding to racism, fighting for human rights and promoting social justice are presented. Rock and roll fans can also pay a musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. enjoying in the museum Youtube page as well as a series of lectures that will be held during Black History Month.
MEMORIAL MURALS AND IMPORTANT ART INSTALLATIONS
Black Lives Matter Street mural, East 93rd Street, Cleveland
In 2020, more than 20 artists teamed up to paint the mural. Each artist took a letter to celebrate Cleveland’s black culture. The mural follows a trend that was started by Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and has since expanded to Akron, Cincinnati, Oakland, Sacramento, and more.
“Storytime BLM” mural, Moodie Building at 410 E. 156th Street, Cleveland
Collinwood residents and community activists Chanell and Donald Boyd commissioned a mural dedicated to black heritage and history. With support from Black Lives Matter Cleveland, four local artists created Storytime (BLM) to celebrate children, education and community collaboration in the Collinwood and Waterloo Arts Districts.
Subway mural, Willis Street, Bedford
A public mural designed and created by three local artists to celebrate the unique role the city of Bedford played in the slave’s journey to freedom. The mural is only a few feet from the railroad tracks that Abraham Lincoln walked on his inauguration and later as part of his funeral procession. The mural shows famous people such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
Protest Art installation, Cleveland Public Library Branch, Langston Hughes, 10200 Superior Ave., Cleveland
Nigerian-born artist Olalekan ‘LEk’ Jeyifous was inspired by the history of protest, peace rallies and township gatherings in the public square and recognized this tradition by creating large-scale characters that deal with various forms of this practice for this audience busy art installation. Originally exhibited as temporary public art in the public square, it is now open to the public outside the Langston Hughes Branch of the Cleveland Public Library.
#VoicesofCLE muralsThe Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s #VoicesofCLE public arts initiative empowers voices in the community – especially paint – and provides a platform for free expression and healing. At the same time, discussions and actions will be triggered after the riots in downtown June 2020. Residents can see four of the # VoicesofCLE murals on North Coast Harbor. (Many are currently in storage due to the winter weather). To view all of the murals online, visit www.voicesofCLE.com/gallery.
African American garden in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cleveland
Located in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, the African American Cultural Garden conveys the past, present, and future of the African American community. When finished, the three pavilions (one of which is currently finished) will tell a story that begins with the transatlantic slave trade. The garden’s mission is to promote education and interest in African American culture and heritage, as well as a spirit of friendship among all people.