Black History Month Events
Black History month is meant to celebrate the achievements by African Americans and recognize their central role in U.S. History on an annual basis. Use this guide to see what Kansas City area events and organizations are hosting means of discussion, education, celebration and more.
Download a pdf of this calendar: Black History Month events 2023
Remember that, while we have curated this list to things that happen in February, many of these events and organizations occur throughout the year.
Additionally, the NAACP states that the best way to celebrate Black History Month is to support Black owned businesses and artists. Visit ‘Visit Kansas City’ to see a list of Black-Owned businesses in the Kansas City area.
Additionally, ‘Kansas City Black History’ has a wealth of knowledge that is continually updated.
Consider donating to a national or local organizations. We have listed a few to get started:
– Thurgood Marshall College Fund
– 100 Black Men of America
– National Black Child Development Institute
REFORM & JUSTICE ECONOMIC EDUCATION WOMEN’S RIGHTS LGBTQIA+ RIGHTS
One Struggle KC Black Community Fund LiteraryKC The Help KC KC Center for Inclusion
Peaceworks KC Johnson County NAACP Shirley’s Kitchen Cabinet
Showing up for Racial Justice
Salon of the Indigenous Gods Art Exhibition Free Feb 2
“A visual art exhibition featuring painting and mixed media visual art, music, and spoken word poetry celebrating the culture of Indigenous peoples. The Exhibition highlights the lives of Indigenous power figures spanning 4000 years. In this exhibition, Indigenous is defined as People originating from the First Nations of the Americas and the Continent Commonly Called Africa.”
Silent KC x Dencil Forrecer: Duppy Conquerer free Feb 16
“This uniquely orchestrated silent concert features a multilayered ensemble of Kansas City musicians and artist Warren ‘Stylez’ Harvey, who will visually interpret the music, inspired by artist Denzil Forrester’s practice of sketching in London dub and reggae nightclubs.
Grab a pair of headphones and wander the galleries, enjoy a cash bar, or watch the artist and musicians performing in the courtyard.”
HeartBlackLives Fashion and Art Show $15+ Feb 18
“Love Everything Black, This is a COMMAND! Celebrate ALL things black with us with LIVE MUSIC and a night of showcasing Art & Heart Black Lives apparel! Check out & Purchase Art from some of KC’s very own! Celebrate Heart Black Lives over the years ! Support and Shop with small businesses! “
KC Studio Black Artists Directory
Use this tool to find where art by Black Artists is displayed around the KC area all throughout the year.
BLK: A ‘mini’ Showcase $15-20 Feb 18
“BLK: A “Mini” Showcase returns with another variety of KCMO Black talents. The show may be mini, but the talent is grand, from comedy, to music & more! Curated and hosted by Hilari Holt.”
Let me explain my Blackness $12-20 Feb 24
“Are you STILL curious about black culture? Do you have more questions about how black folks act and handle situations, but you don’t want to sound “racist”? Well this show is filled with various comedy sketches about growth through pain and humor that may answer some of your questions. So relax and laugh with us.”
Black History Month Film Series Free Wednesdays
Join Kansas City Public Library every Wednesday in February to view movies including ‘Selma’, ‘Wattstax’, ‘Black KKKlansman’ and ‘I am Ali’.
Poetry for Personal Power Free Mondays and Thursdays
Join Poetry for Personal Power every Monday and Thursday for open mic poetry nights. This organization also hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
Rhyme House Free Thursdays
Join The Rhyme House for a different poetry scene every Thursday
Black Love Day $10 Feb 13
“Passing Our History Down with Poetry, Stories, and Music: The Griots”. Black History Month will be coupled with Black Love Day and feature an exciting event of dancing, drums, music, dramatic performances, and more. The youth of Hillcrest will create a presentation during the program.”
Setting the State: The Moving Story of African American Dance Free Feb 23
Setting the Stage: The Moving Story of African American Dance | Setting the Stage is a visual journey through African American dance history. Setting the Stage is performed by talented local and national artists demonstrating the evolution of American dance styles since the Middle Passage and chronicles historically important dancers and choreographers including Katherine Dunham and Alvin Ailey. 7 p.m. The Gem Theater.
“Black individuals were enslaved by the Wornall family at the John Wornall House. Join us to remember them and learn about their lives. This drop-in style event will include our Black experience audio guide, artifacts relating to enslavement, and honest discussions about enslavement in Missouri. This event is perfect for people of all ages. “
Black Archives of MidAmerican KC Free
“Black Archives of Mid-America is an educational resource that collects, preserves and makes available to the public materials documenting the social, economic, political and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States, with particular emphasis in the Kansas City, Missouri region. “
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum FREE DURING FEBRUARY!
This museum has a variety of year-round programming for children, panel discussions, teacher resources and more.
Panel on making entrepreneurship in KC more inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible, and liberating – more IDEAL for all.
Learning from Gordon Parks Free Feb 26
“Black author, photographer, and filmmaker Gordon Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912, he was drawn to photography as a young man after seeing images of migrant workers in a magazine. He would become one of the most esteemed photographers of all time, documenting segregation, poverty, and urban life over a career spanning more than five decades. Local photographer Ann Dean discusses the impact and inspiration found in three of Parks’ seminal books.”
The Culture and Politics of Rap Free Feb 19
“Hip-hop prizes authenticity, yet its culture dictates how performers walk, talk, and express themselves artistically. Jeffrey Ogbonna Green Ogbar, a professor of history at the University of Connecticut who studies Black nationalism and social justice movements, explores what “keeping it real” means in this context. “
Sports: Right on Time Free Feb 10
“Based on numerous interviews and Buck O’Neil’s autobiography I Was Right on Time, Kansas City storyteller and vocalist “Brother John” Anderson provides a masterful impersonation of the Kansas City and Negro Leagues Baseball icon. “
Courage Accountability, Persistence: Hard-Fought Lessons in Sports and Social Justice Free Feb 15
“Joe Briggs, executive strategist at Amazon; Cliff Wiley, L’83, decorated track athlete and attorney; and Kyle Velte, professor and associate dean at KU Law, will participate in a moderated discussion about their experiences advocating for social justice in the sports world.”
Johnson County NAACP Free Feb 6
Dr. Emmanuel Ngomsi will be presenting on the history of slaves on African land.
ASTEAM Black Village $0-2 Feb 17
“Keynote Speaker: Dr. Carl B. Mack- “Black Heritage Journey “LIVE Movie Screening following event: No Short Climb: ‘Race Workers’ & America’s Defense Technology which combines personal memoir with archival footage, still photography, and graphics, to present a first-hand account of the previously unknown story of the contributions of African-American scientists and technicians. “
The Unfinished Business of Democracy Free Feb 21
“The National WWI Museum and Memorial presents: Lincoln and Wilson led with high ideals and oversaw many successes. But both presidents addressed the issue of race in ways that had serious consequences – intended and unintended – and left unfinished business. Join Dr. Chris Capozzola, Dr. Randall Jelks and Dr. Kate Masur in a conversation on presidents, American history and democracy.”
- Imani Barbarin @Crutches_and_spice
- Nakia Smith @itscharmay
- Taylisha Gryzb @misstalisha
- Antwan Tolliver @FlyBoiLyfestyle
- Rachel Cargle
- Patricia A. Taylor
- Mr. Capehart
- Layla F. Saad
- Marques Brownlee
- Jari Jones @IAmJariJones
- Adrienne Muse @iam.muse
- Harper Watters @TheHarperWatters
- Funky Dineva @FunkyDineva
- Terrell and Jarius @terrell_jarius
- Ijeoma Oluo
- Brandon Marshall
- Hey Fran Hey
- Dr. Ebony
- Charles Brockman III @c.b.3.
- Paula Sutton @HillHouseVintage
- Tony Talks @iamTonyTalks
- Jocelyn Delk Adams @GrandbabyCakes
- Jessica @JessicaInTheKitchen
- Kevin Curry @FitMenCook
- Bryant Terry
“The Past is Prologue is a bimonthly program that highlights topics often left out, glossed over, or misrepresented in our history books. For our February topic, Phil Armstrong will tell the history of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre.”
Gabrielle Civil: The Deja Vu Free Feb 13
Gabrielle Civil is a Black feminist performance artist, poet, and writer whose work aims to open up space. Originally from Detroit, she currently teaches at the California Institute of the Arts. Civil has premiered 50 performance artworks around the world and her memoirs include the déjà vu, Swallow the Fish, Experiments in Joy, (ghost gestures), and in and out of place.
African American Read In Free Feb 14
“The African American Read-In is an annual celebration of African American literature and literacy. Attendees are welcome to be listeners as participants read excepts from poetry, speeches, stories and other works of literature created by African American authors and artists. “
An Evening with Ross Gay Free Feb 16
Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry including Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, which won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller. His latest collection of essays, Inciting Joy, was released in October 2022.
A Tribute to Aretha Franklin $40+ Feb 3-5
The Queen of Soul broke records as a singer and shaped history as an activist. The Kansas City Symphony celebrates her far-reaching legacy with a musical tribute.
Bob Marley Tribute Concert $10 Feb 5
“Come out for a night of good vibes to celebrate the life and music of a legend, Bob Marley!*Live performances by Nicolette Paige, New Common Ground, and DJ Simba – Bring your family and friends to dance the night away to some of the greatest, most soul-satisfying music the world has ever had!”
American Jazz Museum $6-10
Visit to learn during the day, to listen during the evenings and use their website for digital tours, a Spotify playlist and activity sheets
Eric Roberson at the GEM KC $65+ Feb 11
“As a GRAMMY Award-nominee, Singer, Songwriter, Producer and Howard University alum, Eric Roberson continues to break boundaries as an independent artist. Described as the original pioneer of the independent movement in R&B/Soul music, Eric has achieved major milestones in his career, from being a successful songwriter and producer for notable artists such as Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Dwele, Vivian Green and countless others, to headlining sold out tours across the country. “
The Future Ft. Lee Langston & Eboni Fondren $35+ Feb 24
“The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra presents our lively big band, the great vocalists Eboni Fondren and Lee Langston will put their modern spin on great tunes from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole, and Sam Cooke. In addition, we are inviting some of Kansas City’s rising stars, students from Soundwave Academy and Kansas City Kansas Community College, to join us onstage to participate in the jazz dialogue. “
Seizing Freedom, hosted by : Dr. Kidada E. Williams, , historian, author, and professor of U.S. history with a focus on African Americans
“The podcast celebrates Black history, and season two’s finale dropped earlier this year, tackling the struggle of Black Americans throughout the rise of Jim Crow. Each season includes eight history episodes using the words of great Black leaders to bring the past back to life, plus eight interview episodes with artists, activists, and intellectuals discussing how the legacy of this time period impacts the nation today, providing modern context and thought-provoking insights. “
The Humanity Archive, hosted by : Jermaine Fowler
“Forget the history you learned in school and tune into Jermaine Fowler’s alternative take, packed with the most provocative, fascinating, and honest stories from history. The host’s sonorous voice and passion for his subject make for compelling listening, breathing life into rich historical narratives and covering topics ranging from the Great Migration to the history of police in America and Mansa Musa, the head of the Mali Empire. Each episode is around an hour or so long, allowing for a satisfyingly deep dive into the topic as well as time to relax and enjoy each story. “
One Mic: Black History
“Each podcast episode of One Mic Black History centers around little-known events or persons from African American history selected for their effect on African Americans and American history.”
Code Switch, hosted by: Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby
“Code Switch is one of the most popular podcasts for fearless conversations about race and identity and their impact on every part of society. A spinoff from the NPR blog of the same name, this podcast tackles the facts head-on, with diverse topics ranging from Black gun ownership and how to talk about race with children to why hip-hop and mass incarceration are so entangled. “
The United States of Anxiety, hosted by: Kai Wright
“This weekly podcast tackles the unfinished business of our country’s history — as well as meditating on what our future might look like. Each week, Kai hosts intimate conversations and dives deep into the historical archives to report on choices we once made as a society — and the new choices we can imagine now.”
The Diversity Gap, hosted by: Bethaney Wilkinson, Racial Justice Educator
“Bethaney explores the gap between good intentions and good impact as it relates to diversity, inclusion, and equity. Speaking to leaders, authors, creatives, and more, the podcast scrutinizes the diversity issues in modern society and culture and tries to work out how and when these might be closed. “
Dear Culture, hosted by: Garren Keith Gaynor and Shana Pinnock
“Dear Culture is a weekly podcast covering news and issues impacting Black America. Hosts Gerren Keith Gaynor and Shana Pinnock discuss the latest news and trending topics.”
Black History for White People
“#BHforWP is a multiethnic collective dedicated to loving black and brown people by educating, resourcing, and challenging white people to actively participate in racial justice. The highest calling of humanity is to love. Whether you know it or not, the racial disparities in our country hurt us. They train us to protect our advantages rather than love others, and that mentality reduces us. “
New Books in African American Studies
“A podcast series featuring author-interview podcasts with Scholars in the field of African American studies and about their New Books. It’s part of the New Books Network. “
Black Girl Songbook hosted by Danyel Smith
“This podcast points out trailblazers within the music industry that have changed the course of history. Host Danyel Smith invites legendary guests like Brandy, H.E.R., and Jennifer Hudson to give commentary and context on their careers. “
That’s the Way it Ain’t, hosted by Crissle and Kid Fury
“This podcast gives Black queer takes on pop culture. Since 2013, the pair has entertained millions with their antics. Whether the topic is Summer Walker’s baby food comments or their reigning queen, Beyoncé, the show packs witty commentary in every punch. The show also features listener letters, which Crissle and Kid Fury respond to with hysterical and insightful advice. “
Jade + X.D., hosted by: Jade Verette and Xavier D’Leau
“The Blackest Show About Nothing is part of the LoudSpeakers Network and is published every week on iTunes, iHeart Radio Talk, and more. Tune in every week for their brand of humor and social commentary on anything and everything.”
Jemele Hill is Unbothered, hosted by: Jemele Hill
“The journalist and political commentator offers inside perspectives on influential Black figures and their contributions to culture, speaking with nuance and wisdom. Featuring guests like actor Daniel Kaluuya, musician Questlove, and political commentator Stephen Colbert, Hill fosters compelling and vulnerable conversations. The show focuses on Black women, creating a space for them to hear news and media takes that consider their humanity. “
Autism in Black, hosted by: Maria Davis-Pierre, LMHC
“This Podcast focuses on the intersectionality of being Black and autistic. Dedicated to reducing the stigma in the Black community, Maria supports Black parents of autistic children by providing a nonjudgmental space and empowering them to advocate for their children and themselves. By delivering real experiences and conversations with guest speakers, listeners learn about navigating various therapies, IEPs, co-parenting, burnout, and receiving a diagnosis during childhood or adulthood as a Black individual.”
CoLab Events All Month
The CoLab will is playing a selection of JCCC produced videos about Black History month and current issues in the CoLab Corner. Drop by anytime!
MPAC Campus Conversation on Policing and Race Free Feb 6
JCCC’s Multicultural Programming Advisory Council (MPAC) is hosting a Panel discussion on Monday, February 6th from noon- 1 pm focusing on the death of Tyre Nichols and the relationship between police and minorities for JCCC Students.
The Art Collective Free Feb 10
Come join us for a short presentation given on Black artists followed up with a discussion about their art. Bring some artists of your own you enjoy and want to share with the group to talk about!
Voices of Mississippi $25+ Feb 11
MTC presents: Based on the 2019 double Grammy Award–winning “Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris,” the program features live musical performances integrated with film, audio recordings and rare photographs by folklorist William “Bill” Ferris, who will serve as host for the evening. Ferris studied Mississippi as a slice of humanity in which everyone and everything was interconnected—and in which the beating heart of broader cultural traditions could be found in some of the most overlooked figures and places. With a broad array of photos, film clips, stories and live music, “Voices of Mississippi” paints a powerful picture of a unique time and place that remains an essential piece of the American cultural fabric.
MPAC Presents – Quindaro preservation: A Conversation about Kansas’ Black History Free Feb 15
In honor of Black History Month, MPAC is presenting this conversation over Quindaro. This conversation will be led by Dr. Tai Edwards and Rev. Stacy Evans. Quindaro Townsite was an abolitionist settlement founded in 1856 by those wanting to make Kansas a free state. Come to the CoLab to join in on this conversation during Black History Month. RSVP today!
Lunch Time Trivia: Black History Month Free Feb 16
The Center for Student Involvement is hosting lunch-time trivia in celebration of Black History Month. Please come and join us in celebration of Black History Month by learning fun facts and the importance of it. We hope to see you there!
Black Business Expo Free Feb 22
On February 22nd BSU is hosting a Black Business Expo from 10:30-1pm on the 1st floor o f the Student Center. From 2 pm- 3pm they will host an event titled “Authentic Representation in Leadership with Mayor Quinton Lucas (KCMO) and Mayor Tyrone Garner (KCK)” in the CoLab.
Mayor Quinton Lucas & Mayor Tyrone Garner come to campus free Feb 22
In celebration of Black History Month, the JCCC BSU is proud to welcome Mayor Quinton and Mayor Tyrone Garner to a very special JCCC community meet and greet event spotlighting authentic representation in leadership and the importance of diversity in leadership in our community. This special event will be held on Wednesday, February 22 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the CoLab (OCB 100).
MPAC Presents – Jazz and Baseball Free Feb 28
Join MPAC & the Center for Student Involvement as we visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum to learn of the impact that African Americans have had on those genres. The museums will convene with a chat and chew at Arthur Bryant’s.
Winterlude: KC Jazz Disciples $25+ Mar 19
MTC presents: Led by saxophonist Gerald Dunn, this quartet captures and captivates its audiences. Dunn plays an inventive, contemporary sound and knows how to capture an audience’s attention. He has been featured in bands with Illinois Jacquet and Bobby Watson. Pianist Everett Freeman has toured with Oleta Adams and performs with a deliciously intricate, yet fluid, grace. There are few Kansas City jazz musicians whom drummer Michael Warren hasn’t backed, and bassist DeAndre Manning provides a solid footing to this group of seasoned local musicians. For this performance, the ensemble will be joined by special guest trumpeter Danny Campbell.
Cirque Kalabante $25+ May 19
MTC presents: “Afrique en Cirque” is a highly colorful creation featuring amazing acrobats performing authentic choreography to the frantic rhythms of native instruments of Guinea.
Do you know about other events happening at JCCC this month? Let us know so we can add them to the list!