24 Black History Month Celebrations in Chicago

Celebrate Black History Month in Chicago with events that enlighten and inspire. The rich history of African-Americans is one that is constantly being reshaped and retold. Learn more about the African-American experience through the arts, music, food, fashion, and community-led events taking place throughout the city of Chicago.


Black Creativity 2019

Sunday – Saturday | January 14th – February 24th | Time Varies

Reunion Chicago| 2557 W North Ave. | Free

Image | J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

The 2019 Black Creativity program, an annual staple at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), since 1970, begins January 14 with the Juried Art Exhibition, the longest-running gallery of African-American art. The exhibition, the largest in the program’s history, features more than 170 works of art from professional and student artists, with past alumni including Chicago’s Harmonia Rosales and Hebru Brantley. Guests can explore these rich contributions through hands-on experiences that are included with Museum Entry, and free for Illinois residents most of January and February through the Museum’s Illinois resident free days. For more details, visit the website here.

Chicago Black Restaurant Week

Sunday – Saturday | February 10th – 17th | Time Varies

Location Varies | Price Varies

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Image | Chicago Black Restaurant Week

Chicago Black Restaurant Week (CBRW) is a week-long celebration highlighting Chicago’s African- American restaurants and eateries in the Chicagoland area. Last year, CBRW patrons spent over 11,000 dollars at 26 participating restaurants and vendors. Check out my post about CBRW from 2017. Find participating restaurants for 2019’s CBRW by visiting the official Instagram page.

Black Beauty Festival

Saturday – Sunday | February 9th – February 10th| Time Varies

Victory Gardens Theater | 2433 North Lincoln Ave. | Free

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Image | Victory Gardens

Celebrate Black History Month with a weekend of black business, beauty, and wellness at The Black Beauty Festival. The Black Beauty Festival will partner with Black Owned Chicago and Black Women’s Expo to showcase Black-owned businesses specializing in beauty and wellness products, incredible performances, and post-show conversations. The festival will take place during the weekend showing of the play PIPELINE, a powerful and important conversation about parenthood, the state of our public school system, and the prison pipeline that claims so many of our inner city youth. To purchase tickets to PIPELINE and to register for the Black Beauty Festival, visit Victory Gardens.org.

WANTED: An EbonyEssenceJet Variety Show

Friday | February 1st | 7:30 p.m.

Flat Iron Arts Building | 1579 N Milwaukee Ave Ste. 334 | $7.50 – $15

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Image | Storefront Theatre

EbonyEssenceJet brings its signature brand of topical and conscious humor to The Storefront in Chicago with WANTED. Hear these four African-American comediennes deliver their unique humor through improvisation. Grab your ticket for a special rate and learn more about the monthly series here.

Dramedy Cooley High by Eric Monte (Good Times) Live on Stage

Friday – Sunday | February 8th – 17th | Time Varies

Harold Washington Cultural Center | 4701 S King Dr. | $10 – $40

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Image | Broadway in Bronzeville

Broadway in Bronzeville presents a special film to live musical presentation of Cooley High, based on the 1975 movie written by Eric Monte (who also wrote for legendary sitcoms Good TimesThe Jeffersons and All in the Family), the stage musical Cooley High follows a group of high school friends living in the Near North Side of Chicago in 1964. The friends deal with teacher, girls and police troubles as they prepare for life after high school. Similar in feel to American GraffitiCooley High gives you a dramatic and comical look at life in 1960s Chicago. The original film also inspired the beloved sitcom What’s Happening!, created by Monte. Grab your tickets here.

Second City’s Salute to Black History Month

Tuesdays & Wednesdays | February 5th – 27th | 8:00 p.m.

UP Comedy Club | 230 W North Ave. | $10 – $20

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Image | The Second City

Second City’s current cadre of improv-comedy specialists celebrates February’s Black History Month by bringing you the most iconic sketches ever created by some of its African-American alumni, along with classic archive scenes freshened up for the occasion. This high-energy retrospective at Chicago’s Up Comedy Club reprises material created by alums like Steve Carell, Keegan-Michael Key, Tim Meadows, Stephen Colbert, Amber Ruffin, Sam Richardson and many more. Save a little as you laugh with sketches from an iconic cast for a here.

Columbia College Chicago’s 2nd Annual Black Arts Festival

Thursday – Saturday | February 21st – 23rd | Time Varies

Columbia College | Free

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Image | Black Festival Arts CCC

The 2019 Black Arts Festival at Columbia College Chicago is an affirming, community space for Columbia students and faculty who identify within the African Diaspora to share work and critically engage with each other through roundtable discussions, audience interaction, and collaboration. The Festival is the first event of it’s kind since 1968, and is curated entirely by Black students and alumni. For a full festival schedule, visit Columbia College Chicago.

Goin’ to Chicago

Sunday | February 17th | 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Stony Island Arts Bank | 6760 South Stony Island Ave. | Free

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Image | Rebuild Foundation

Goin’ to Chicago chronicles one of the most momentous yet least heralded sagas of American history – the great migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North and West. This film screening will follow the Sharing The Crop Migration Cipher: a talking circle curated by Rebuild Foundation 2019 Dance Fellow, Ayesha Jaco. Tickets to the event are free. Check out the event page for more details and film policy.

Black History Month at the DuSable Musuem

Sunday – Saturday | February 12th – 28th | Time Varies

DuSable Museum | 740 East 56th Place| $5

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Image | DuSable Museum of African-American History

The DuSable Museum of African-American History celebrates Black History Month with a variety of events, focusing on film, fine arts, music and more. For a full list of events, head over to the website. While you are there be sure to check out their latest exhibits as well.

Prof.James Small LIVE in Chicago! Presents: Reclaiming Our Youth

Friday & Saturday| February 8th & 9th | 6:00 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Kufi Club of Chicago | 11158 South Michigan Ave. | $0 – $60

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Image | Kufi Club of Chicago

The Kufi Club of Chicago has one primary focus, uplifting, inspiring and cultivating our youth. Please come out and bring a child or teen to this wonderful event filled weekend. A living legend, Professor James Small fights for the liberation of the minds of his people and against Eurocentric distortion of world history. Much of his expertise is found in African traditional spirituality, Malcolm X, African-American history & culture.​ He has been featured in the critically acclaimed docuseries “Hidden Colors”. He has also conducted tours of Africa for over 25 years. Join the Kufi Club for a live presentation from Professor Smalls, plus food, a market place, and live performances. To purchase tickets, visit the event page here.

The Black Child Book Fair

Saturday| February 9th | 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

1900 W Fulton St. | Free

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Image | Books N Brunch Gala

The inaugural event will feature African-American authors with books that spotlight positive Black characters with empowering and informative stories. Attendees can expect books with subjects such as self-esteem, bullying, autism, face painting, lunch and more. This event is free to public. Learn more about the event here.

2nd Wednesday Lecture: The Nature of Black Wellness

Wednesday | February 13th | 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Garfield Park Conservatory | 300 N Central Park Ave. | Free

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Image | Kim Ruffin

The Nature of Black Wellness is a special lecture event for Black History Month at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Kim Ruffin will lead an interactive talk about the pivotal role of nature in the lives of African-Americans, both past and present. Open your mind, body, and spirit to this nature filled event. Register here for this free event.

For the Culture Game Nite

Friday | February 15th | 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Park Tavern Chicago | 1645 W Jackson Blvd. | $5 – $10

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Image | Just Play Entertainment Presents

Just Play Entertainment Presents “For the Culture” game night. This Black History Month pay homage to some of the Black Creatives behind the dopest party games. Teams compete to win the championship title in a variety of games including Hip Hop Charades, Black Card Revoked, Aux God, For The Culture, Trading Rappers, Martin Trivia, and more. Grab your crew and RSVP for the culture filled game night here.

AAN 3rd Annual Black History Month Celebration

Saturday | February 16th | 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra | 220 S Michigan Ave. | Free

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Image | African American Network

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s African American Network invites you to its 3rd annual Black History Month Celebration. Hear a new opera composed by Renée Baker entitled The Baldwin Chronicles: Midnight Ramble. The Baldwin Chronicles is a multimedia musical work based on texts by American novelist James Baldwin, including his poem “Conundrum” from Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems. Just as relevant now as he was in the mid-twentieth century, Baldwin’s writing painted a nuanced portrait of Black life in America. After the opera, Baker and guests will lead a Q&A. For more infomration and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Women of Soul Annual Scholarship Fundraiser with a Tribute to Aretha Franklin

Saturday | February 16th | 7:30 p.m.

Black Ensemble Theater | 4450 North Clark St. | $75

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Image | Chicago Chicago Heights Alumni Foundation Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Join the Chicago Heights Alumni Foundation Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity for a fundraiser scholarship night celebrating the women of soul. Tickets include valet parking, food, and beverage with a reception to follow. For more information and to purcahe tickets, visit the event page.

The Black Farmer

Sunday | February 17th | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Heritage Cafe | 1849 E 79th St. | Free

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Image | GrowAsis Urban Garden Consulting

Celebrate Black History Month with a presentation given by GrowAsis’ own Jacqueline Smith on the life of black farmers-past and present. Learn about farming in the U.S., indigenous food growing, vital role black farmers have played in America and the continent of Afrika (Africa). This is a free presentation but donations are welcomed as well as the patronage of Heritage Cafe.

Black History Month Wine Sampling with Chrishon Lampley

Sunday | February 17th | 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Mariano | 3857 S King Dr.| Free

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Image | Chrishon Lampley

Join us at Mariano’s Bronzeville to Meet & Greet Mariano’s Tastemaker, Chrishon Lampley founder of Love Cork Screw. In celebration of Black History Month, Chrishon Lampley will be pouring samples of her wine: Love Cork Screw. The tasting is free and open to the public.

Change the Canvas Change the World

Friday | February 1st | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

South Side Community Art Center | 3831 S Michigan Ave. | Free

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Image | South Side Community Art Center

Meet Leslie Guy the curator of Change The Canvas Change The World at our free curators talk moderated by artist, curator and past Executive Director of the South Side Community Art Center Faheem Majeed. Each work of art featured in this exhibition was selected and researched by Ms. Guy and honors collectors and communities. If you are interested in art, design, or museum studies, this is the event for you. For more details, visit the event page.

Yom L’Mokereem 2019

Saturday | February 23rd | 8:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Beverly Woods Restaurant | 11532 S Western Ave. | $35

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Image | Soul Vegan

Soul Vegan, Chicago’s leader in sustainable soul food, will host a celebration and appreciation of Divine African Culture this Black History Month. Be apart of a diaspora filled evening of food, live entertainment, and community. To purchase tickets, visit the event page.

The Evolving Legacy of Black Business and Entrepreneurship in Chicagoland

Friday | February 1st | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

DuSable Museum | 740 East 56th Place| $5

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Image | MSBARC

The Evolving Legacy of Black Business and Entrepreneurship in Chicagoland is a meaningful evening centered around purposeful dialogue on the rich history of Black business ownership and growth in Chicago; including notable owners and businesses, regulatory history and breakthroughs, and the supporting ecosystems that impacted their success. Five notable entrepreneurs will engage with you in a discussion to boost the education, conversation, and connection to the evolving legacy of economic empowerment in Black communities in Chicago and the surrounding areas. Appetizers and cocktails will be served during the reception and networking. Visit the event page for more information and to purchase tickets.

Reimagining Black Masculinity – OPENING RECEPTION

Friday | February 22nd | 5:30 p.m

Pop-Up JUST Art Gallery | 344 S. Halsted St. | Free

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Image | Social Justice Initiative of UIC

The Social Justice Initiative and Haitian photographer and architect, Zarita Zevallos’ invite you to Reimagining Black Masculinity. This photographic exhibit will feature images from her three collections: Pariah, Koktel, and Imperium and will be augmented by programs and discussions on Black masculinity and what a reimagining of black masculinity can provide to our existing frameworks and conversations. Join UIC for this special opening reception.

AfroSoul Yoga

Wednesday | February 6th – 27th | 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Sweet Magic Studio | 6960 N Sheridan Rd.| $5 – $12

Image | E’a The Wholistic Artist

This Black History Month, set your mind, body, and soul to primal rhythms of African drums infused music, class starts with a deep dance based breathy free flowing Vinyasa. This active meditation yoga class involves dancing, restorative yoga and stretching. For more information on this challenging class, visit the event page.

Icon Up – She The Icon Chicago

Sunday | February 24th | 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

2605 W North Ave. | $25 – $40

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Image | sheicon

The Icon empowerment panel will feature eight exceptional black women who will share the journey of becoming an Iconic Woman. Attends will have the opportunity to network with successful business savvy women (ICONS) and discover the true essence of an Iconic Woman. Learn tools from actionable small business strategies to brand development and more at this event. For tickets, visit the event page here.

The Meaning of Manhood and the Evolution of Black Masculinity

Wednesday | February 6th | 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Fellowship Chicago | 4543 S Princeton Ave.| Free

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Image | Chicago Ideas Week

In celebration of Black History Month and hosted at the historic Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago Ideas presents a program discussing the current state and future of African-American men. Join DeVon Franklin, Charlamagne the God, Xavier Ramey, and Charles Jenkins for a lively, informative, no-holds-barred evening hosted in partnership with the F.E.E.D. Foundation. This event is free and open to the public, visit Chicago Ideas to register.


Celebrating Black culture and history is not limited to just one month. You can celebrate and support African-American culture throughout the year by doing several things such as shopping and dining at Black-owned business restaurants. You can also become a stronger ally and empathize with the African-American issues—this means stepping outside of the #repost box of social media and standing with disenfranchised people offline. If you need more resources to celebrate Black cultre all year long, look to some of my favorite resources such as Black Owned Chicago and Black Chicago Eats, and The Black Mall.


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