Since the early 1900s Black History Month has been an annual celebration of acknowledging and highlighting the many achievements and the rich history of Black Americans. From visiting historical landmarks to eating traditional Black American cuisine, there are a variety of ways to honor and commemorate those who paved the way for leaders today. Check out PATTERN’s guide to celebrating this special month in Indiana below!
1. Madame CJ Walker Theatre
Madame CJ Walker was the first Black American woman to become a self made millionaire and Indianapolis is home to her legacy. Sitting on Indiana Ave is the Madame CJ Walker Theatre, a symbol of her push for the employment of the Black community, as well as, her appreciation for Black art. Visiting this historical landmark is a great way to celebrate Black History and explore the many contributions Black Americans have made to the places we call home. Also, keep your eyes out for the Netflix original series called ‘Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker‘ coming this spring!
2. African Art Exhibit Newfields Museum
Located on the third floor of the Newfields Art Museum is an African Art exhibit featuring over 400 objects. Exploring the creativity and traditions that live in the roots of African descendants is a great activity to learn more about Black History beyond America. Black art is a fundamental part of Black history and the Newfields exhibit offers an enriching and authentic experience.
3. Indianapolis Arts Garden Art & Soul
The Art Council of Indianapolis celebrates Black History month every year by hosting a series of free events at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. Collaborating with Asante Children’s Theatre, Indy Jazz Fest, Kenyettá Dance Co., and the Madame Walker Theatre Center, Art & Soul 2020 will be filled with the best of Black arts and culture. From poetry to music and dance, these daily events will provide an experience you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
4. Meet the Artists “Afrofuturism”
Meet the Artists “Afrofuturism,” is an art exhibit hosted by The Indianapolis Public Library’s African American History Committee. Located in Indy’s downtown Central Library, this exhibit allows the public to view and engage with the work of local Black American artists. This event kicked off January 21st and will continue all the way until March 29th.
5. Sofar Sound Indy Black History Month Concert
Globally, Sofar Sound creates a space and a community centered around the appreciation of music and artistic expression. On the 21st and 27th of this month, So Far Sound Indy will be hosting concerts in celebration of Black History month. Featuring a variety of performances, these concerts will be a great opportunity to commemorate Black culture while also supporting local Black artists.
6. Speak: Voices in Indianapolis Black History
The Indiana Historical Society is celebrating Black History month by projecting the voices of Indiana’s Black community. Through the use of spoken and written word, Speak: Voices in Indianapolis Black History will showcase the talents of local Black American artists on February 25th from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis.
7. Magic Thread Cabaret: Les Chanteuses
Join singing trio Pearl Scott, Sarah Daniel and Rayanna Bibbs, for a night of fun and celebration of Black female vocalists. As part of the third season of The Magic Thread Cabaret, from February 14th through the 16th at the Fonesca Theatre Company, Les Chanteuses will be in full effect, performing classics of the late Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.
8. Children’s Museum Homeschool: Black History, Celebrate The Story
On February 13th, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will be hosting an educational family event centered around Black history. Homeschool: Black History, Celebrate The Story will explore the rich history and culture of Black Americans with African folk tales, a poetry slam and arts and crafts. This interactive experience is suited for families looking to celebrate Black History.
9. The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963
In celebration of Black History Month, The Indiana Repertory Theatre will be showcasing a live performance of The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, an award winning novel published 1995. The Watsons Go to Birmingham -1963 tells the story of a loving Black family that travels from Flint, Michigan to the Jim Crow South in 1963. Performances will run through the 25th of the month and you don’t want to miss out.
10. Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles
Take a dive into traditional Black American cuisine with a visit to Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles. Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles is a Black owned family business that has been home to Indianapolis since 2007. With rich history behind every bite, eating at Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles is a great way to spend time with family and friends while supporting a member of Indy’s population of Black business owners.