Black History Month
Nashville celebrates Black History Month

Martin Luther King Jr.

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Local events include, but not limited to, the following:

Researching African-American History & Genealogy
Nashville Public Library (Downtown)
February 3
Following a presentation, personal consultation sessions with anyone wanting to discuss specific questions and challenges with your family research will be offered.

Happening in Nick Cave: Feat. Frist Center for the Visual Arts Upper-level Galleries
February 9, June 1
Join local storytellers, musicians, and dancers for in-gallery performances that will delight and inspire you as they respond to Cave’s works through imaginative artistic encounters. No two happenings will be the same, so come to each one to experience Nick Cave: Feat. in new ways.

Nashville Conference on African-American History and Culture
Tennessee State University
February 9
Join Tennessee State University’s College of Liberal Arts and the Metropolitan Historical Commission for a celebration of the contributions of African Americans to Nashville and Tennessee history.

Spiritual Songs: Music that Built a Nation
February 10
Tennessee State University, Avon Williams Center
Enjoy an afternoon of music and history with Dr. Naima Johnston-Bush, who will be sharing her program “Spiritual Songs: History of African-American Music.” Dr. Johnston-Bush will explore the history of spiritual music and its evolution as an American art form. Her dynamic voice brings each song alive, tracing the history of this powerful musical expression of faith, the audience is led from the 1600’s to the present, illustrating the impact and influence of African American Spiritual Music in all musical genres today.

Lunch & Learn: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage
Tennessee State Museum
February 15
During the Lunch & Learn, exhibit historians, Graham Perry, curator of Social History, and Mike Bell, curator of Popular Music, will speak and perform some of the music of black Tennesseans that transformed American music, including spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and soul music.

A Journey Through Slavery at the Whitney Plantation: Lecture with Dr. Ibrahima Seck
February 17
First Amendment Center
In his lecture, Dr. Seck will present the history of the Whitney Plantation in the wider context of the Atlantic slave trade and will touch many topics related to the cultural legacies of slavery in Louisiana. Following the program, guests are invited to stay for a reception and book-signing with Dr. Seck.

Exhibition opening – Slavery, the Prison Industrial Complex: Photographs by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick (on view through May 28, 2018)
Frist Center for the Visual Arts Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery
February 23
New Orleans natives Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick have been documenting African American life in Louisiana for more than 30 years. Since 1980, they have made regular visits to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola to photograph life on the prison farm, which was founded on the consolidated land of several cotton and sugarcane plantations. Their poignant black-and-white images record the exploitation of the men incarcerated within the maximum-security prison farm while also
showcasing the prisoners’ humanity and individual narratives.

Black History Month Memorial Service
The Hermitage
February 24
Join the annual commemoration of those enslaved at The Hermitage and throughout the country. The service will feature guest speaker Nicole A. Moore of the Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta. Guests will conclude the service by participating in a procession to the slavery memorial “Follow the Drinking Gourd” located behind Hermitage Church. 150 flowers will be laid, marked with the names of all those known to have been enslaved at The Hermitage. Complimentary Hot Cocoa will be served following the service. Minister Green will lead a libation ritual, a spiritual ceremony to honor the ancestors commonly found in traditional African religions.