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 taking 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 info@downtowngr.org. Our goal is to present a comprehensive listing of Black History Month events occurring in Downtown. 

*Event dates/times subject to change.

February 2018

Saturday, February 3, 2018

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

  • Ethnic Heritage Festival| Grand Rapids Public Museum presents the day-long celebration of music, dance, crafts and food representing the various ethnic groups that call West Michigan home.

10:30 AM - 3:30 PM

  • Black Family History Series | Series of workshops to learn about documenting family history featuring local and regional speakers at the Downtown Grand Rapids Public Library

6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

  • 36th Annual Giants Awards | Awards ceremony in DeVos Place recognize local individuals who have exhibited excellence in contributions from all aspects of community life.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

2:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Friday, February 9, 2018

Time TBD

Saturday, February 10, 2018

10:30 AM - 3:30 PM

  • Black Family History Series | Series of workshops to learn about documenting family history featuring local and regional speakers at the Downtown Grand Rapids Public Library

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

  • Black Girl Magic Showcase | The Black-owned business, Creston Brewery, presents a day- and night-long celebration of the magical Black women in West Michigan

Friday, February 16, 2018

Time TBD

Saturday, February 17, 2018

10:30 AM - 3:30 PM 

  • Black Family History Series | Series of workshops to learn about documenting family history featuring local and regional speakers at the Downtown Grand Rapids Public Library

Sunday, February 18, 2018

1:00 PM - 4:30 PM 

  • Taste of Soul Sunday| Celebration of African American history and culture at the Downtown Grand Rapids Public Library

Monday, February 19, 2018

8:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Saturday, February 24, 2018

10:30 AM - 3:30 PM

  • Black Family History Series | Series of workshops to learn about documenting family history featuring local and regional speakers at the Downtown Grand Rapids Public Library

8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Monday, February 26, 2018

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Time TBD

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Time TBD