Where to Celebrate Black History Month in Columbus, Ohio
With Black History Month, there are many ways for people of all races and ages in Greater Columbus to learn about and honor the accomplishments of black people over the years.
Several Columbus institutions and organizations will host family-friendly programming throughout the month, telling the story and culture of the Black community. The majority of events focus on local figures, such as works by artists Aminah Robinson and Bruce Robinson at the King Arts Complex and the Columbus Museum of Art, respectively.
Black History Month:Museum highlights African American history, art, including tribute to black women in Ohio
The Columbus Metropolitan Library is hosting several in-person and virtual Black History Month events, including multiple sessions with Columbus hip-hop dance group BHB (Brothers Helping Bruthas).
Here is a list of some of the many Black History Month events taking place in the region:
King Arts Complex
2022 Amina Day
February 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 835 Mount Vernon Ave.
The King Arts Complex celebrates one of Columbus’ preeminent artists, Aminah Robinson, by offering a series of workshops inspired by her work. The nine workshops are free and the materials are provided. Registration is required and guests should only register for one workshop.
Columbus Museum of Art
Until April 24, 480 E. Broad Street
The exhibit features an array of paintings and assemblages by the longtime Columbus-based artist and educator. Often inspired by real people and specific stories, Robinson’s exhibit features images of black athletes, musicians and dancers painted and cut out of plywood.
Connecting to Ohio History
Hidden Numbers Revealed: The Dynamic History of Black Mathematicians at Ohio State University
Thursday, 7 p.m., online
Presented by Ranthony Edmonds, postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University, this virtual event will teach guests about the history of black students and professionals in mathematics. Nearly 200 mathematicians who identify as Black have earned degrees from OSU’s Department of Mathematics, but their stories and heritage remain unknown. Registration is mandatory.
The tea room
Feb. 19, 11 a.m., 800 E. 17th Ave.
The teahouse is a contemporary version of the African-American tea ceremony that began in the mid-19th century. Every year on February 15, slaves received tea and food during Valentine’s Day celebrations on the plantations. This tradition evolved into gatherings held in churches and, later, in black-owned teahouses. The cost is $15 or $10 for members.
Disappearing Communities — Preserving Cultural Heritage Through Photography
Feb. 26, 11 a.m., 800 E. 17th Ave.
Hear local photographers Shellee Fisher, T. Graves and James Reid discuss the changing dynamics of neighborhoods due to urban renewal and how photography is a method to preserve the essential stories of Black communities. Included with museum admission.
From the Heart, So Much to Discover: The Legacy of Ohio’s Black Voices
Tuesday, 12 p.m., Statehouse Atrium, 1 Capitol Square
Discover the legacy of promise, strength, humor and hope in life and the words of some of Ohio’s black voices, shared by Lyn Ford. As an African-American who grew up in Appalachia, Ford is known as an Afrilachian storyteller.
Of memory and history: an Afrilachian storyteller speaks
February 22, 12 p.m., Statehouse Atrium
Afrilachian culture, stories and folk tales are shared Ford.
Metropolitan Library of Columbus
The Columbus Metropolitan Library system offers many programs for Black History Month at its branches. Here are a few, but a more comprehensive list can be found here.
Driving Park Branch (1422 E. Livingston Ave)
- Hip-hop dance with BHB (February 23, 4:30 p.m.): Dance to the beats and learn to perfect your moves in this hip-hop class for kids ages 7-17. The band will also perform at other library branches in February.
Hilliard Branch (4500 Hickory Chase Road, Hilliard)
Urban Strings Community Concert (Saturday, 2 p.m.): The youth string ensemble will perform music by popular African-American composers. The set will also perform at other locations throughout the month.
Linden branch (2223 Cleveland Ave)
Art Afternoon with the Ohio Craft Museum (Friday, 4 p.m.): Guests ages 7-17 can explore the life and works of Columbus artist Elijah Pierce and create a wooden sculpture in his style. An event focusing on Aminah Robinson will take place on February 18.
main library (96 S. Grant Ave)
- Turtle Shell Tales with Lyn Ford (February 19, 11 a.m.): Young children can enjoy African and African American tales of the legendary turtle and tortoise by storyteller Lyn Ford, who will also be participating in programs in other branches.
Shepard Branch (850 N. Nelson Road)
Southern High Branch (3540 S. High St.)
West African Rhythm with Sogbety (Thursday, 4 p.m.): Guests of all ages can explore West Africa with Ivory Coast-born drummer Sogbety Diomande. Participants will learn drumming, dancing, rhythms and songs.
Whitehall branch (4445 E. Broad Street)
- Singing, Drumming and Dancing with BabaaRitah (Monday, 3 p.m.): Participants of all ages can learn West African songs, dances and drumming with BabaaRitah Clark.
- Columbus Black Newspapers (February 17, 6:30 p.m.): Join African American Special Collections Librarian Nicole Sutton in this virtual event to learn about historic newspapers owned and operated by African Americans in Columbus. Registration is mandatory.
- Staff Picks Live: African American Authors (February 22, 7 p.m.): Join select library staff online as they discuss their favorite African American authors and the books they’ve written. Customers can also provide their own recommendations. Registration is mandatory.
- African-American Genealogy with Nicka Sewell-Smith (February 24, 6:30 p.m.): Attendees can discover ways to identify their free or enslaved ancestors and learn how DNA helps families torn apart by slavery. Registration is mandatory.
Micah Walker is Dispatch’s trending reporter. Contact her at [email protected] or 740-251-7199. Follow her on Twitter @micah_walker701.