Black History Month is here! I was actually a little overwhelmed at all there was to do in Champaign-Urbana this month and it was hard to narrow it down to just five. From a holiday celebrating self love to a film looking at the history of Gospel music, there is honestly something for everyone. There were also plenty more that didn’t necessarily fit into this section but looked fun, including a West African dance class, an Afro-Caribbean dance class, and this performance at Spurlock by Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum. Whatever you do, try and find a way to get out and celebrate this month.
Go visit this beautifully curated exhibit
Spurlock Museum of World Cultures has just launched their Black Joy Project, a curated exhibit that celebrates “the beauty, joy, and resilience of Black women and girls and their lived experiences during COVID-19 and the social unrest after the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.” The project is curated by Dr. Ruby Mendenhall, a professor of Sociology and African American Studies, and Florence Adibu, the Associate Dean for Diversity and Democratization of Health Innovation of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. There will also be events held throughout the year, so keep an eye on their events calendar.
Black Joy Project
600 S Gregory St
Feb 2-Dec 1
Show a little self love
Black Love Day is an event hosted by No More Bound and The Well Experience. The holiday was originally created in 1992 by Mama Ayo. It “promotes wellness, brings us together in unity and offers an opportunity to express yourself.” The event will include self-care services like yoga, massage, gel nails and lash application. A lunch and dancing with DJ Silkee will be followed by a raffle and an open mic for participants to read poetry or share other spoken words (sign up here for an open mic spot).
Black Love Day
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
202 South Broadway Ave
noon to 5 p.m.
Free, but registration is required
Learn about the history and importance of Gospel Music
In this history series by Henry Louis Gates Jr., GOSPEL: Where Song and Sermon Meet, takes a deep dive into the origin of Black spirituality through sermon and song. Especially through the lens of Black gospel music, from “ [the time after] slavery, blending with the blues tradition, and soaring to new heights during the Great Migration… gospel music has become the dominant form of African American religious expression and provided a soundtrack of healing and uplift to those at the front lines of protest and change.”
GOSPEL: Where Song and Sermon Meet
203 W Park Ave
See a fashion show and do a lot of other cool things
Parkland College will be celebrating Black History Month with events all month long. The theme will is “African American Impact on Arts and Culture.” One of the events will be a fashion show that celebrates Black history by showcasing the fashion of the African diaspora. But be sure to check out the entire calendar as there are events every few days.
Black History Month Fashion Show
Parkland College, Student Union Stage
2400 W Bradley Ave
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Get your kids to try this fun Black history challenge
The Champaign Public Library and Douglass Library are hosting a Battle of the Books for third through fifth grade students. Schools and students can create teams of up to 12 to answer questions found in 20 books linked to Black History. The finals start at 3 p.m. and every participant gets a book prize.
Battle of the Books! 2024
Champaign Public Library
200 W Green St
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.