In 1926 Americans began celebrating “Black History Week,” and in recent decades this remembrance of African American history was expanded for the entire month of February. In the Southland, celebrations, a parade, testimonials, museums and libraries offer more than entertainment. Take the time to learn about this unique part of our American culture.
Black History Month Banquet
Toyota Meeting Hall
Torrance Civic Center
3330 Civic Center Drive
Torrance, CA 90503
Hours: Feb 23, 6 p.m.
Price: $40 in advance/ $50 at the door/ $30 children 10 to 17 years old
Sponsored by nonprofit Yaba TV, this Black History Month banquet celebrates America’s connection with the cultures of Africa. Great Americans and Africans will be honored for their achievements in Black History. Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and more will be celebrated. Foods from Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria combine with performances that bring life to a great cultural inheritance. It’s a mix of past and present you’ll find nowhere else.
Black History Month With Rhythms Of The Village
View Park Library
3854 W 54th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90043
Hours: Feb. 19, 2 to 3 p.m.
Want to travel to Africa for the afternoon? Here’s your chance. This recreation of African village culture through performance art will take you there. Onochie Chukwurah’s storytelling, interactive performance and visual art is a hands-on experience that seeks to give its audience a window into village life. Perfect for children, teens, and adults, this rare event brings the village to Los Angeles. Celebrating Black History Month with Rhythms of the Village is an opportunity to share the traditions of a not so distant past.
Gallery of Discovery
600 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: free ($10 parking)
The multi-functional gallery was an immediate success when first opened. With emotionally imposing images of the dark history of slavery, visitors are immersed into a past that must not be forgotten. From the Library of Congress, early 20th century archived audio recordings of surviving slaves tell stories of perseverance and dignity. The diverse displays create a tangible sense of the past. More than a museum, CAAM conducts a broad range of cultural events illustrating the cultural and historical contributions of African Americans.
Related: Los Angeles Museums For Free
The Museum Of Tolerance
The Depths of Hate
9786 W Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Hours: Fridays in February, 2 to 3 p.m.
Price: $15.50 adults/ $12.50 seniors 62+ years/$11.50 students and youth 5-18 years/free for children under 5 years
What is hate? How do we move past it? Former white supremacist Tim Zaal shocks and enlightens while explaining his path from racism to defection from the movement. This serious, in-person lecture brings a raw truth few outsiders can understand. His story moves from his induction to doubt then ultimately to his profound insights. Zaal’s presentation is an honest reconciliation with our greater society. Don’t miss this eye-opening experience.
Black Resource Center
A C Bilbrew Library
150 E El Segundo Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90061
Hours: Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Open year round, the Bilbrew Public Library offers extensive resources for understanding black history and its contributions to the American story. The unique collection was established in 1978 for the general public, but like a university collection it comprises everything from film to government publications to newspapers and magazines to scholarly books. A microfilm collection records historic letters and diaries. Whether for casual or serious research, learning about the “black experience” is possible at any time.
Robert Cuthbert is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. His work can be found on Examiner.com.