This year marks the 35th annual national Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson, a seminal scholar in the field of African-American history, started the tradition of observance and reflection on black history in America in 1926; although Black History Month is sometimes chided for taking place during the year’s shortest month, Woodson chose February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. So what’s going on around Indiana for Black History Month?
The Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library are teaming up for their 10th annual Indiana Black History Challenge. Take the challenge at any IMCPL branch or the IHS, or take it online, for a chance to win great prize packages.
IHS will also be opening its new You Are There interactive exhibit, about Robert F. Kennedy’s Indianapolis speech the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination, on Feb. 22.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art will open Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial on Feb. 25. Dial is a provocative African-American artist who blends sculpture and painting, modernist and folk forms, in large works that are both politically and emotionally charged. IMA admission is free, but the Dial exhibit requires a paid ticket.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art will open Red/Black: Related Through History on Feb. 12. Open through August and accompanied by a series of programs throughout its run, Red/Black explores the largely untold story of the meetings and interweavings of Native American and African-American history in the West. Red/Black is free with regular Eiteljorg admission.
The Indiana State Museum is offering a variety of programs for Black History Month, including “The Speeches of MLK, Jr.” and “Gallery Search: African Americans in Indiana.” Check the events calendar for specific details.
The Madame Walker Theatre Center has several events coming up for Black History Month; check this special page for details.
The Arts Council of Indianapolis is offering “Art & Soul,” a series of lunchtime and afternoon performances at the Artsgarden downtown. Check out the calendar of events for details.
The Lyles Station Interpretive Center will be celebrating Black History Month.
IU-Bloomington’s Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology will present Dr. Timothy Baumann’s lecture, “From Slavery to Freedom: Archaeological Studies of African American Life and Culture” on Friday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. Dr. Baumann, Curator of Collections at the Black Laboratory, will talk about the last two decades of archaeological research into the African-American experience.
Also, The City of Bloomington’s annual Black History Month theme is “They Served With Honor,” focusing on the experience of African-American military veterans. Visit the link for a schedule of events.
Delores Boyd, a pioneer in the 1965 integration of Montgomery, Alabama’s Sidney Lanier High School, will speak about her experiences at the Ridgeway University Center at the University of Evansville, 7 p.m. on Feb. 28.
The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, in partnership with the Purdue University Black Cultural Center, will present Preston Jackson and Joyce Owens: Parallel Narratives through the end of March. Jackson and Owens are both nationally-known African-American artists based in Chicago.
In Fort Wayne, Indiana Tech will host a series of events to celebrate Black History Month and the YWCA of Fort Wayne will present its February Diversity Dialogue in conjunction with the African/African-American Historical Society.
Also, IPFW is offering a series of free programs entitled “Bridging the Gap: The Link Between African and African American Culture” through the end of the month.
The Gary Public Library system is offering a variety of programs and events around black history. See the events page for more information.