Celebrate Black History Month in Minneapolis

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the past, present and future of the Black experience throughout history. In Minneapolis we have many different ways to celebrate and learn about Black culture all month long. From special virtual events and discussions to musical performances, museum exhibits and more, here are some ideas for things to do during Black History Month.

Museums/Exhibits

Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery

This museum is dedicated to celebrating the history of African Americans by giving visitors a look at the achievements, contributions and experiences of Black people throughout the history of Minnesota.

Art is My Weapon

An exhibit focused on using art to spark social change around the issue of gun violence. View a display of weapons that have been decommissioned and distributed to Minnesota artists to create statements about the impact of gun violence in our community.

Unbreakable

Celebrate the resilience of African Americans in Minnesota with this exhibit which explores African American early settlers and pioneers in the 1800s. Here you can learn about the struggles and successes of African Americans who moved to Minnesota from the South during the "Great Migration."

Somali Museum of Minnesota

The Somali Museum of Minnesota celebrates the traditions and heritage of the Somali people in a collection of more than 700 pieces of craftwork, paintings and sculptures, ranging from nomadic objects and a model nomad’s hut to contemporary art. This space gives young Somalis who have grown up in the United States a way to connect with their culture, as well as Minnesotans of other ethnic heritage to encounter Somali art and traditional culture for the first time.

The Dirios Exhibit

Showcasing many works from collector and preserver of Somali ethnography, Dr. Mohamud (Dirios) Mohamed's. The exhibit will feature his personal collections and artifacts from Somalia & the Somali Culture and Research Center.

Mia Exhibits/Galleries

In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art

This exhibit brings together methods of visual storytelling and ancestral memory through the individual practices of artists from the “Black Belt” region of the American South. The artists highlighted in this exhibition document rural life and traditions of metalwork, funerary and yard art, and quilt making with raw materials and found objects related to time, place, and accessibility.

Freedom Rising: I Am the Story / L’Merchie Frazier

L’Merchie Frazier is a fiber artist, quilter, historian, innovator, poet, and holographer. According to Frazier, “This exhibition continues my work and conversations, concerned with equity and justice, called The Quilted Chronicles and its Target Series. It examines the lives and legacies of African-descended people, including children and their communities across centuries of memory, places, and activism.”

The Enduring Soul

An exhibit dedicated to artwork by African and African American artists. It honors the connection between ancestors and the living, and between what is seen and the invisible. The artworks on view hold historical, personal, and community memory.

Online Black Artists Gallery

Weisman Museum

We Are the Story

Quilters from around the nation worked to create artistic quilts to serve as the centerpiece for this multi-venue initiative in the Twin Cities. We Are the Story explores themes of liberation, resistance and empowerment, offering a visually compelling account of the breadth of experiences and struggles that comprise Black history in an honest and critical way.

Events

Livestream: Robert Robinson Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. & Black History Month

Presented by: The Dakota

When: February 21, 2021, 7pm

Robert Robinson, known as “The Pavarotti of Gospel” (Star Tribune), performs a concert that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. Robinson's music seeks to inspire hope and reflect the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month, with sounds from artists like Rev. James Cleveland, Mahalia Jackson, John Lennon, Sam Cooke, Pop “Roebuck” Staples, Mavis Staples and Bob Dylan.

An Art Commentary on Lynching: How a 1935 Exhibition Resonates Today

Presented by: The Weisman Museum

When: February 17, 2021, 7:00pm-8:30pm

In 1997, Margaret Rose Vendryes published an essay, “Hanging on Their Walls: An Art Commentary on Lynching, The Forgotten 1935 Exhibition,” in the anthology Race Consciousness: African-American Studies for the New Century. That “new” century is now a generation old. Recent protests demanding an end to violence against black people, particularly black men, are echoed in the art that populated that brief, and forgotten, 1935 exhibition. Vendryes revisits her 1997 essay in light of Hale Woodruff’s prints in the Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in 1930s United States on view at the Weisman Art Museum, and the sensitivities given to presenting the lynching subject matter. The theme of violence against black people has engaged African American artists since 1935 in myriad, and more caustic, ways than their forefathers who boldly displayed work during the height of Jim Crow segregation in a blatantly political exhibition calling for lawmakers to end lynching.

Twelve Blocks From Where I Live

Presented by: Theater Latte Da

Available through: August 31, 2021

On May 25 2020, Regina Marie Williams began to capture moments of pain and promise at the intersection of 38th and Chicago. TWELVE BLOCKS FROM WHERE I LIVE features photos and songs attempting to capture a profound Minneapolis moment that catapulted a national movement. Featuring performances by Aimee K. Bryant, Thomasina Petrus, Regina Marie Williams, and Sanford Moore. This is part one of a five part virtual cabaret series featuring more than 40 Minnesota artists showcasing songs and stories from around the community.

A Public History of 35W: Resisting Expansion

Presented by: Hennepin History Museum

When: February 25, 2021, 6:30pm-8:00pm

Join this virtual panel discussion with political and community leaders about the decision to expand Interstate 35W through South Minneapolis and how that decision affected residents in that area, particularly communities of color.

Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE

Presented by: Northrop

Available through: March 4, 2021

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE’s body of work blends contemporary, African, Caribbean, and social dance forms to express spirituality, African-American and diaspora culture and the beauty of movement in many forms. For this special online program, the company has assembled a selection of solos and duets from their repertory including the luminous solo from Grace, Brown’s breakout piece performed first by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 20 years ago. The program also features a socially distanced version of Mercy, an ethereal movement meditation that seeks to guide our hearts set to music by Meshell Ndegeocello.

MIXTAPE IV

Presented by: Cowles Center

When: February 27 & 28, 2021, 7:30pm

In their fifth year and fourth MIXTAPE performance, THE MIXTAPE Collective continues to celebrate and deepen their connection to the Street dance and musical communities of the Twin Cities. They search the intersections of individual and group narratives to intentionally work within what Angela Davis calls “a complex unity.” THE MIXTAPE Collective honors vulnerability as strength, and resists a political landscape that would keep us apart. This type of non-hierarchical space is multi-directional and acknowledges the wisdom of different perspectives. This year’s performance is presented as a virtual, live-streaming experience meant to bring us together in the “Now.”

Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities

Presented by: MSP Film Society

When: February 14-28, 2021

MSP Film Society's virtual cinema will be showing Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities which focus on six short films where Black filmmakers reflect on their place in the world today. The collection will feature everything from gripping drama to heart-warming comedy.

Local Black-Owned Businesses

Black-owned businesses need your support and Minneapolis is filled with plenty of opportunities to do so.