Here are some ways you can celebrate Black History Month 2024 in mid-Michigan

MID-MICHIGAN — Thursday, Feb. 1, marks the start of Black History Month, and there numerous events happening across mid-Michigan to pay tribute to Black culture and history.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

Theatrical performances, panel discussions, art exhibits, presentations, a night of trivia and soul food and even Black History Month Bingo offer a variety of options, catering to people of all ages across our communities.

Here’s a sampling of a some events scheduled for February beginning this week:

Black History Month Brunch

The 23rd annual Genesee District Library Black History Month brunch takes place this week.

The brunch is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Genesys Conference & Banquet Center, located at 805 Health Park Blvd. in Grand Blanc Township.

Each year, the Genesee District Library selects members of the community who have made a positive difference.

Three Awards of Excellence will be given out this year to Dwane “Wayne The Barber” Harrington, former Community Foundation of Greater Flint President Isaiah Oliver and the Rev. Kevin Thompson.

Judge Glenda Hatchett, the first African American State Court Chief Justice, will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming event.

The brunch is sponsored by WJRT ABC12, Genesee Health System, Hamilton Community Health Network, United Way of Genesee County, The Williams Firm, and the Genesee District Library Foundation.

Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased online only at this website. For additional information, call 810-230-9613.

Harlem Renaissance sculptor’s works on display at Saginaw Valley State University

The sculptures of the late Richmond Barthé will serve as the focus of a new exhibition on display this winter on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University.

Barthé, who died in 1989, remains a celebrated artist for the work he produced during the Harlem Renaissance, a New York City-based cultural revival of African-American art, music, theater and literature that spanned the 1920s and 1930s.

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 20, the SVSU-housed Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum will host an exhibition featuring his work. The exhibition concludes in May.

“Barthé was — and remains — a great influencer of art history,” Erin Pilarski, a spokesperson with the museum, said in a statement. “Having Barthé’s impactful sculptures at the museum will no doubt provide great conversations centered around themes such as Black history, dignity, humanity, racism, gender issues of the early 20th century, and more.”

This exhibition will feature about 20 of the artists’ bronze sculptures, which depict dancers, workers, religious figures and icons in Black history such as singer Josephine Baker.

A reception event — free and open to the public — tied to the exhibition is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at the museum, 7400 Bay in Kochville Township.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information, visit the museum’s website at marshallfredericks.org.

Jacob Lawrence exhibit at Saginaw Art Museum

A special exhibit featuring the works of American artist Jacob Lawrence at the Saginaw Art Museum will overlap with Black History Month this February and continue into spring.

“Jacob Lawrence: The Legend of John Brown” opened at the art museum, 1126 N. Michigan Ave., in January and continues through April 20.

Lawrence, who was born in 1917 and died in 2000, was “an astute observer and storyteller who focused on the struggle for freedom and justice in America from the Civil War to the end of the 20th Century,” according to a description of the exhibition on the art museum’s website.

“His art successfully balanced modernism’s bold colors and forms with complex historical narratives. His series The Legend of John Brown consists of twenty-two serigraph, or silkscreen, prints that illustrate the story of the famous abolitionist. John Brown was most well known for his raid on a U.S. Military arsenal in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, but in this series, Jacob Lawrence focuses on numerous events from his life. Made in 1977, each serigraph was based on paintings of the same size that Lawrence created in 1941. The accompanying titles were given by the artist and based on a biography written about Brown in 1885 by journalist Franklin Sanbourn.”

Read more about Lawrence and his artwork at www.saginawartmuseum.org.

The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Last entry is at 4:30 p.m.

General admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students with valid ID, and free for teens and children ages 15 and under and museum members. Saturdays are also free.

Find more information for visitors here.

Finding Black Ancestors

From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, the Gloria Coles Public Library will host an event titled “Finding Black Ancestors.”

It will be hosted by Rozlyn Kelly and located at 1026 E. Kearsley St. in Flint inside of the Friends of FPL room.

The presentation discusses the unique challenges of African American genealogical research, sharing some of the relevant history and resources available to research. It includes a case study of researching freedom seekers (Underground Railroad), Black people who were free and those who were enslaved.

For more information, click here.

Greater Flint Arts Council

Greater Flint Arts Council, 816 S. Saginaw St., will display its African American Artists of Michigan All Media exhibition that will run from Friday, Feb. 9, through Friday, March 1.

It will recur weekly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

For more information, click here.

Communities First Inc.

Communities First Inc. will show the last film in the African American Film Series “HUSH” at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Flint Institute of Arts. Door opens at 5 p.m. A panel discussion on the film will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, on YouTube and Facebook Live.

It is located at 1120 E. Kearsley St. in Flint.

“HUSH” meaning “Help Us Say Help” is a 76-minute documentary about the origins of generational trauma and access to mental health resources within Black communities.

For more information, visit here.

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