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Cleveland offers opportunities to pay tribute to notable African-Americans from The Land who worked to create, change and foster innovation. With a variety of events and celebrations on tap for Black History Month, you can learn more about the contributions of the region’s prominent black figures and institutions and develop a greater understanding of their profound impact on the area and the country at large.
Black Heritage Celebrations | Feb. 2, 11 and 23
The Cleveland Cavaliers will continue their Black Heritage Celebrations at various February home games. With the goal of “Empowering and Inspiring: One Generation to the Next,” the Cavs will hold Black Heritage Celebration nights against the Dallas Mavericks (Saturday, Feb. 2), New York Knicks (Monday, Feb. 11) and Memphis Grizzlies (Saturday, Feb. 23).
CLE & The Civil War: For Their Own Cause | Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.)
Learn about the 27th United States Colored Troops and the Civil War at Music Box Supper Club’s weekly Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, history professor and author Kelly D. Mezurek will focus on the topic of “CLE & The Civil War: For Their Own Cause.” Admission to Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties is free, and attendees can choose to buy the pre-fixe, three-course dinner option.
The Impact of “Shuffle Along” | Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
At Karamu House’s special event, “The Impact of ‘Shuffle Along,” learn about one of the most significant musicals of the 20th century, “Shuffle Along,” with a new multi-media concert. And, as a part of its 2018-2019 season, Karamu House will produce a double feature of “27 Wagons Full of Cotton” and “This Property is Condemned,” both written by Tennessee Williams. Both shows run Feb. 14–March 10.
Black Baseball Chronology | Feb. 9 at 1 p.m.
The Baseball Heritage Museum is hosting a special program, “Black Baseball Chronology,” that focuses on the involvement of African-Americans in American baseball. The presentation also chronicles the history of African-American baseball in Cleveland from the early 1920s through 1950, as well as barrier-breaking players like Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby.
Dinner with a Slice of History | Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Enjoy “Dinner with a Slice of History” at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum. The special event for Black History Month features Gigi Coleman, the great niece of aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman. Listen to Gigi’s one-woman show based on the life of her great aunt who was the first African-American woman to obtain a pilot’s license.
Black History on Tap: Living Legends | Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.
In addition to touring the Cleveland History Center’s exhibits, you can attend the special event “Black History on Tap: Living Legends,” which will spotlight those individuals who pioneered in fine arts, music and theatre throughout Cleveland’s history.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will celebrate Black History Month with a series of special programming recognizing the contributions that African-Americans have made to rock. Choose from events like a film screening of “Marley,” which focuses on Bob Marley’s impact on music history; an evening with writer, musician and critic Greg Tate and Grammy Award-winning producer Craig Street; and the opening of a new exhibit “King Records: Thirty Years That Changed American Music” with 1997 Hall of Fame Inductee Bootsy Collins. For a complete list of events, visit www.rockhall.com
Throughout February the Cleveland Public Library branches will be hosting programs for Black History Month. The events include a visit with Anthony Ray Hinton, author of “The Sun Does Shine,” a screening of the movie “Uptight” and a panel discussion and other activities and celebrations. For Cleveland Public Library locations and event information, visit www.cpl.org
Various Cuyahoga County Public Library branches are offering Black History Month-related programming throughout February. Featured activities include an African-American authors book discussion, gospel music and spirituals performance by the Ecumenical Disciples Choir or the “Black History READ-IN!” to celebrate African-American literature with books, games and activities. Please visit cuyahogalibrary.org for more information on events at different branches throughout the region.
Want to take a deep-dive into Cleveland’s African-American history? Check out a 48-hour itinerary here.
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