Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks 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. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
Nashville will be celebrating the holiday this month at events throughout the city. Listed below are just a few.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Each year Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage commemorates those enslaved both on the estate and the country with programs all month long. The events are on February 9, 16, and 23.
The Belcourt Theatre
March 30, and April 20
The Belcourt Theatre, Nashville’s independent theatre, plans to have two additional film showings for free (the first taking place Feb. 2). The remaining shows are Inxeba (The Wound) on March 30, and the last will be a series of short films on April 20. Each showing is in collaboration with Vanderbilt’s Department of African American & Diaspora Studies Course.
Tennessee State University
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.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Discover the story of the African Americans from Tennessee whose musical contributions will never be forgotten.
Artistic Director Paul Vasterling’s Lucy Negro Redux will explore the mysterious love life of William Shakespeare through the perspective of the illustrious ‘Dark Lady’ seen in many of his famed sonnets. Based on the book by Nashville poet Caroline Randall Williams, the ballet explores themes of love, otherness, equality, and beauty as the narrator takes a journey to discover her own power and worth.
Hilton Nashville Downtown Hotel
The Urban League of Middle Tennessee is dedicated to helping African Americans, other minorities,
and disenfranchised groups secure economic self-reliance in Middle Tennessee. Their Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon provides the funds to support the many programs and services offered by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.
Using Quilts to Interpret the Experiences of African American Women in Tennessee
Tennessee State Museum
Free Lunch and Learn presentation: Using Quilts to Interpret the Experiences of African American Women in Tennessee by Tiffany Momon on Wednesday, February 13, from noon till 1 pm.
Tiffany Momon, a research professor at the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, will give a presentation on the artist behind the creation of a Double Wedding Ring quilt in the Museum’s current quilt exhibition, Between the Layers: Art and Story in Tennessee Quilts. The quilt was created by Harriet Meneese Falls, a formerly enslaved African American woman living in Robertson County, Tennessee. She worked as a nanny for Maxine Elliott, for whom she later created the quilt. This presentation will delve deeper into Harriet’s life, revealing the story between the layers of her work of art.
Free screening of Mr. Temple and the Tigerbelles
Tennessee State Museum
A special free screening of Mr. Temple and the Tigerbelles, a documentary telling the story of legendary Tennessee State University (TSU) track and field coach Ed Temple and 40 African American female athletes who broke the color barrier at the 1960 Rome Olympic games, will take place at the Tennessee State Museum from 2-4 pm. The Museum is located at 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. at the corner of Jefferson Street on Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Registration for the free event is requested through Eventbrite or TNMuseum.org/calendar-of-events.
Global Education Center
Author, educator, and scholar Dr. Haki Madhubuti will speak on the history and culture of African Americans as expressed through poetry, examining poetry’s relevance to modern life.
Cal Turner Center at Meharry Medical College
Join us for Spirit of the Dream, the ultimate party to celebrate the achievements of African Americans who embody the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its founder Danny Thomas. Guests at this inaugural event will have the opportunity to mingle with leaders and influencers while enjoying handcrafted cocktails, delectable hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment.
Gray Line of Tennessee offers an African American History Tour year-round, available for private bookings. You will discover the rich culture of the black community within Nashville while stopping at Fisk University, Jefferson Street, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, and more. Also, the tour includes admission to Ryman Auditorium.
United Street Tours
Explore Music City while walking in the footsteps of civil rights leaders. Join the African American Street Tour on Saturdays at 11 am to experience and interact with sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
Nashville Downtown Library
The collection at the Nashville Public Library features black and white photos from the Civil Rights era in Nashville and a circular table in the center of the room representing the lunch counters of Nashville, locations of many sit-in protests that fueled the Civil Rights Movement.