Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian and writer, founded Black History Week in 1926 to encourage the study of African American history. He chose February to rally around the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. During the nation's bicentennial in 1976, Grand Rapids' own President Gerald R. Ford expanded the week to a month writing "we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
Celebrate Black History in Downtown GR
Here below is a roundup of events - from galas to photography exhibits to an opportunity to help build a walking tour of black history - taking in place in Downtown Grand Rapids in recognition of Black History Month 2017.
If you know of an event taking place Downtown not presented below please drop us a note with the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our goal is to present a comprehensive listing of Black History Month events occuring in Downtown.
*Event dates/times subject to change.
February 1 - 28, 2017
- Help Build A Walking Tour of Black History in Downtown GR | Click here to share your wisdom about notable black history relevant to Downtown GR. Your input will help inform the development of a self-guided walking tour that makes this important history more accessible to the community. Interesting photos with brief descriptions are especially important for this project. To share historical images please contact LaTarro Traylor at (616) 719-4610 or email@example.com or stop by the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives at 87 Monroe Center in Downtown GR. The project is organized by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc in partnership with GR Walks and the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.
January 27-March 31, 2017
- Here + Now | A series of solo exhibitions, performances and community events curated by the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.
February 1-4, 2017
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
- Lift Every Voice: A Place for All People Poster Exhibit | The Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA) has partnered with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to present a collection of posters explaining the importance of African American museums and why GRAAMA will also be A Place for All People.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
- Kwanzaa Reboot | Join GRAAMA for the continuation of Kwanzaa 2016 dialogue.
- 35th Annual GRCC Giants Awards & Banquet | The awards recognize notable contributions of African Americans to the quality of life in Grand Rapids.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
- Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects | The Grand Rapids Art Museum and GRAAMA partner to present the Grandma's Voices - Oral History project featuring a collection of local residents speaking on issues from race to gumbo.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
- Unveiling of Muhammad Ali Ice Sculpture & Opening of Pop-up Photo Exhibit | The GRAAMA will reveal a life size Ali made of ice as part of the annual ValentICE festival and feature items and photos from the boxer's life in Michigan.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
- What's Your History Worth | The GRAAMA shares advice on collecting African American art, artifacts, books and dolls.
Friday, February 17, 2017
8:00 - 9:30 AM
- Grand Rapids Area Black Business Breakfast Series | The event, hosted at the GRAAMA, brings entrepreneurs together to connect and build relationships.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
8:00 - 10:30 PM
- Symphony with Soul ft. Lalah Hathaway | The 16th annual celebration of African American musical expression features the Grammy-award winning vocalist.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
1:00 - 4:30 PM
- Taste of Soul Sunday | This event at the Downtown branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library celebrates African American heritage and culture.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
7:00 - 9:00 PM
- On Healing Black Girl Pain | The Grand Rapids Community College Diversity Lecture Series presents a talk with author Consuela Ward.
Friday, February 24, 2017
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
- Grand Rapids Legacy Luncheon | This luncheon at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel recognizes student scholars, community leaders and black heritage.
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
- Grand Rapids Legacy Ball | This event at the JW Marriott celebrates student scholars, community leaders and black heritage.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
- Tracing Your Roots | This genealogy class at the GRAAMA is for beginners who want to learn about their family history.