February is Black History Month around the country, and we’re excited to see what Champaign-Urbana has to offer. Here’s a look at Champaign-Urbana area events and activities directly (and indirectly) related to Black History Month. We’ve done our best to indicate what events are appropriate for which age groups, but we’re not always sure. Always check with event sponsors if you need more information than what we have provided.
Evolution of Black Voices: Poetry Night for Black History Month, Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. “Evolution of Black Voices” is a night filled with Black artistry, love, and culture dedicated to highlighting Black excellence at the IMC! At the Independent Media Center, Urbana. Note: multiple artists, event is geared towards grownups.
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m., Urbana Free Library: Watch the documentary “A Taste of Gullah”. Join us to learn about the culture and history of the Gullah people – descendants of enslaved Africans who continue to live in the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry. Janice Collins, Assistant Professor of journalism in the University of Illinois College of Media, is the creator of A Taste of Gullah, an award-winning documentary that features the music, arts, food, and history of this fascinating culture. Free. (The documentary is unrated; we don’t have info about ages.)
Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m., Urbana Free Library: Join us for stories, crafts, food, and a live drumming demonstration from the Gullah culture. The Gullah people live in South Carolina and Georgia but they have cultural roots in West Africa. Come learn and have fun at this Black History Month program. All ages, especially for families.
African-American Read-In, Monday, Feb. 20, 2-4 p.m.: Readers of all ages are invited to join us at the Douglass Branch to read and share books by African-American authors. Choose from our selection of titles or bring a favorite of your own. All ages are welcome. At the Douglass Branch Library in Champaign.
A solo exhibition of artwork by award-winning Parkland College alumna Alicia Henry will feature at the college’s Giertz Gallery starting Feb. 13. “Home: Works by Alicia Henry” will run in the gallery through March 28. An artist’s reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m., with a gallery talk by Henry at 6 p.m. and music by the Parkland Guitar Ensemble. The same day, Henry will provide an additional lecture at 1:15 p.m. in Parkland’s Harold and Jean Miner Theatre. The exhibition, lectures, and reception are free and open to the public, and the community is encouraged to attend.
“One of the most important directors” of our time, Spike Lee, will be showcased at the Virginia Theatre in mid-February. Older children may want to see Malcolm X (1992) Rated PG-13 (202 min). February 17-18
Tickets: $5 each
At the Art Theater: Affirmation & Resistance: Black World Film Series. The series is sponsored by the North End Breakfast Club and the Art Theater Co-op. Each film is followed by a panel discussion.
Daughters of the Dust, NR (not-rated), 100 minutes, Mon, Feb 20 at 7:00 p.m. Panel discussion follows; free. Cohen Media Group is proud to present the 25th anniversary restoration of director Julie Dash’s landmark film Daughters of the Dust. The first wide release by a black female filmmaker, Daughters was met with wild critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it initially opened in 1991. Casting a long legacy, it still resonates today, most recently as a major in influence on Beyonce’s video album Lemonade.
We will continue to add to this list, so check back here.