Honoring Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a time when we as a culture take time to highlight, recognize and honor the scope of historical, cultural and societal contributions of our black community members. The events listed here vary in audience. Please be sure to read up before attending to make sure the event is appropriate for your family. Click here for a calendar view of events.

Hidden History of Albina Walking Tour

February 3, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24; times vary per date

This black history month, join youth activist Llondyn Elliot as he takes us on a walk down Albina, the neighborhood he grew up in.

This tour celebrates and commemorates pieces of Portland’s black history with stops at:
–> One of the few remaining black-owned businesses on North Mississippi Ave, Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge
–> The only church in Portland where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, Vancouver Avenue Baptist Church
–> The historic headquarters of the Urban League of Portland
–> Dawson Park and the remnants of Albina’s City Hall building

The Boise and Eliot neighborhoods in North Portland are rich in diverse history and culture, serving as the historic heart of Portland’s African American community. Over the past few decades, dramatic changes have altered the face of the region, something which can go easily unnoticed. This tour provides a great opportunity for visitors, and residents alike to reconnect with the roots of this community, from the history of the City of Albina, to the city Vanport and beyond.

Barnes & Noble (Clackamas, OR): 12000 SE 82nd Ave, Clackamas, Oregon 97086

Once Upon a Storytime Celebrates Black History Month!

February 3, 10 am
Barnes & Noble at Clackamas Town Center

The 14th book in author Brad Meltzer’s bestselling Ordinary People Change the World series, I Am Harriet Tubman tells the story of Harriet Tubman’s pivotal role in the fight against slavery. Join us for Storytime and learn more about this important American icon.

Black Parent Initiative Bookfair

Saturday, February 10; 11 am-3 pm
Barnes & Noble (Clackamas, OR): 12000 SE 82nd Ave, Clackamas, Oregon 97086

Enjoy a fun-filled day of reading, music, dancing, and STEM activities. BPI is taking over the entire Barnes & Noble store once again as we “Celebrate Black History Through Literacy!”

Story Times with:
– Nikki Brown Clown Library “One Love”
– Shalanda Sims “Night Rhythms”
– Brian W. Parker “Fancy Dressed Animals”

Enjoy a number of free and fun activities:
– Face painting by Mystique’s Fancy Faces
– Culturally specific arts and crafts with PACKY Academy, LLC
– Dance it Out with Collective Care Services

STEM activities with:
– Portland Children’s Museum
– Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
– Engineering For Kids of Portland Metro.

Special Guest Appearances by:
– Blaze (Portland Trail Blazers Mascot)
– Leon the Literacy Lion (BPI Mascot)

FREE: food, books, raffles, prizes

Once Upon a Storytime Celebrates Black History Month!

February 21, 10 am
Barnes & Noble at Clackamas Town Center

Join us Wednesday as we read Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed. Mae became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. We will have out of this world crafts and treats from the Café! We hope you will join us for this free event!

First Annual Black History Festival

Sites run from Vancouver, WA to Eugene – dates and events vary, check out the facebook events page for specifics.

The Black History Festival NW is an extension of World Stage Theatre’s consistent work around educating diverse communities about Black History. The festival a region-wide event taking place during the month of February in different locations spanning as far east as Troutdale and west to Beaverton, south to Eugene and north to Vancouver Wa. Each weekend an event highlighting and celebrating the African-American experience is presented by African-American organizations, artists, small businesses, and leaders. The kickoff will begin with a youth curated museum at various Multnomah County Libraries and a city-wide scavenger hunt that runs the entire month.

12th Annual Who I Am Celebrating Me

Monday, February 11 and 12; 7:30 pm-9:30 pm at The World Trade Center

Oregon Historical Society 
Who I Am Celebrating Me is a community of youth and adult artists exploring history through the arts. From soul-encompassing singing and dancing to heartfelt poetry and prose, this stage play will take you on a cultural journey highlighting African-American figures and movements of the past and present. Bring the entire family! Tickets on sale now!!

Kúkátónón Day at the Capitol

Monday, February 19; 10 am at the Oregon State Capitol

Kúkátónón African Dance group performs the opening ceremony for the House of Representatives. It’s a no school day so bring your kids to see these talented Oregon youth and your lawmakers in action!
Sponsored by the Oregon McDonald’s Owner/Operators in honor of Black History Month.


Oregon Historical Society

Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years

Racing to Change illuminates the Civil Rights Movement in Oregon in the 1960s and 1970s, a time of cultural and social upheaval, conflict, and change. The era brought new militant voices into a clash with traditional organizations of power, both Black and White.

Visitors of all ages and backgrounds will engage in the examination of the repression and violence against African Americans that made the Civil Rights Movement necessary. The exhibit explores how racist attitudes, policies of exclusion, and the destruction of Black-owned neighborhoods shaped Oregon, as well as the unceasing efforts of the Black community to overcome these obstacles.

While there, be sure to check out the onsite Vanport Exhibition and the online Black Athletes Disrupting White Supremacy in Oregon.

OHS Special Programs and Events that are Free and Open to the Public:

Buffalo Soldiers in Vancouver and Portland

Saturday, February 3, 2018; 2 pm–4 pm 

In 1899, a company of soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 24th Infantry—one of four African American regiments known as Buffalo Soldiers—arrived at Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, WA, during the brief period when respect for African American soldiers was buoyed by their recent success in the Spanish-American War in Cuba.While in the Northwest, the soldiers participated in military, political, and social activities, introducing many residents of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to blacks and raising local awareness of the national policies and practices that beleaguered African Americans.

Civil Rights, Then and Now: 1960s & 1970s Civil Rights Leaders and 2010s Social Justice Activists

Sunday, February 11, 2018; 2 pm–3:30 pm
Learn about the connections between the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s & 1970s and the social justice movements that are currently occurring—how things have changed, how they have stayed the same, and what you can do to get involved.

The Cascade Festival of African Films 

February 1-March 3; dates and times vary
PCC Cascade’s Moriarty Arts & Humanities Bldg and Hollywood Theater

The Cascade Festival of African Films shows us Africa through the eyes of Africans, rather than a vision of Africa packaged for Western viewers. The films celebrate Africa’s achievements, expose its failures, and reveal possibilities for a hopeful future. Although the films cannot represent an entire continent, we hope to encourage American viewers to become interested in and study African cultures. Free and open to the public.

Black History Month at Reed College

February 2-March 1; Dates of events, times, and locations on campus vary per event. Join the Reed community as we celebrate and honor the importance of Black history, the Civil Rights Movement, and the contributions of African Americans to American history and culture.

February 2: Black History Month Keynote: Quinta B.
February 7: Black History Month: Soul Food Night
February 13: Inclusive Reed: Building Racial Justice in Mississippi: Law and Social Action
February 17: Black History Month: Black Arts Festival
February 21: Talking Black in America: Film Screening and Q&A with Executive Producer, Walt Wolfram


Multnomah County Library

African American Read-In

Sunday, February 18, 2018; 2 pm-3:30 pm
North Portland Library – All Ages

Celebrate Black History Month with Black literature! Join us as community leaders, teachers, students, and local celebrities read from their favorite books by African American writers. Fiction and nonfiction for children and adults will be featured in an afternoon of good words from great writings. Community members are also encouraged to come and share words from their favorite works. This event is cosponsored by the Portland Reading Council and Multnomah County Library.

Black History Month Film Fest

During the month of February, St. Johns Library will screen four movies that highlight and uplift the Black experience in America.

-Sunday, February 04 at 2 pm: Black History Month Film Fest: Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest at St. Johns Meeting Room

-Sunday, February 11 at 2 pm: Black History Month Film Fest: Afro-Punk at St. Johns Meeting Room

-Sunday, February 18 at 2 pm: Black History Month Film Fest: Red Tails at St. Johns Meeting Room

-Sunday, February 25 at 2 pm: Black History Month Film Fest: Tupac Vs. at St. Johns Meeting Room

Youth Curated Black History Traveling Museum

February 1-28, 2018; daily hours vary

Albina Library, North Portland Library, Troutdale Library, Sellwood-Moreland LibraryWorld Stage Theatre has partnered with Black Student Union groups from four Portland metro high schools that include Reynolds, Jefferson, Cleveland, and Benson. Each group has chosen a specific time period in history to highlight the African American experience to do collective research and curate pieces for the displays.

Our Story: Racial Haunting and the Black Experience in Portland

Tuesday, February 13 at 6:30 pm at the Albina Library

Racial Haunting: a term created by Kim Singletary to discuss how race becomes inextricably intertwined with societal inclusion or exclusion. Often, the ways race is included is strictly relegated to certain times and places — Black History Month, Black Lives Matter protests, specific conversations on race. But Black people still live, work and travel throughout Oregon, making them a constant reminder of the ways that Oregon and Portland, in particular, may not accurately reflect its national reputation as a politically progressive and inclusive space. Black Oregonians have a long history in Oregon, but they are often erased in public and political life, making their impact on the city seem nonexistent and allowing racial bias to continue unabated.This talk will look at the violent history of race as it relates to Black bodies in Oregon, the specific history of the erasure of Black enclaves in Portland, and how we can get past assuming Blackness comes from the “over there” rather than the “right here.” Best for teens and older.

Jazz for the Whole Family

February 3, 11 am at St John’s Library

Newel Briggs and his band perform lively jazz that is good for the soul and will make everyone get off their chairs and start movin’ to the groove. 

Up, Up And Away: African Americans in Space

Sunday, February 18 at 2 pm

Northwest LibraryTo help celebrate Black History Month, Dr. Bill Thierfelder will introduce us to some of the remarkable African Americans who helped shape America’s space program and introduced millions to the wonders of the universe.For those who have read books like Rise of the Rocket Girls or seen films like Hidden Figures, you’re well aware of the group of African American women who helped to make the space race of the 1960s and the space program today the success that it was and is. And if you watch science programs on television, you surely have encountered astronomers like Neil deGrasse Tyson.This presentation examines the lives of these trailblazers, including scientists Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, as well as astronauts Mae Jemison and Ronald McNair. Who are these adventurous women and men and how did they help launch NASA into the Civil Rights revolution and into our burgeoning era of Lunar and Martian exploration?

African Song and Dance

February 17, 1 pm at St John’s Library and February 20, 6:30 pm at Troutdale Library

Join Habiba, a native of Ghana, in learning the richness of West African culture through song and dance. Habiba offers an interactive, multicultural performance with authentic West African costume, spiced with singing and movement. The whole audience gets involved in simple dance steps, call and response, greetings and phrases, and rhythm drumming.

Black Storytime

Saturdays at North Portland Library and Midland Library

The African and African American experience comes alive for children from birth to age 6 (with a favorite adult and other family members). In a positive and affirming environment, have fun with books and stories, songs, and movement activities. Black Storytime builds language and literacy skills your child needs to be ready for kindergarten.

Black History Night with the Trail Blazers

Tuesday, Febrary 27; 7 pm-10 pm
Moda Center
Invite your family and bring your kids to join us for a special Celebration of Black History event pre-game on Tuesday, February 27, when the Trail Blazers take on the Sacramento Kings. Purchasing tickets at the link on this facebook page will not only get you into the game, but will offer each ticket buyer entry into a family-friendly pre-game event in the Rose Room – and $5 per ticket will be donated to Black Parent Initiative!
February 13, 11 am-8 pm – Free
Portland Art Museum – Fred and Suzanne Fields BallroomThis year, Jazz In The Schools was presented to over 2,000 students in 14 schools from diverse community neighborhoods.  The students learned about the origins of jazz from its roots in Africa and New Orleans, some of its most significant figures, its major contributions to American history, and ultimately its connection to visual art – particularly the designs found on jazz record album covers during the mid-20th century.  Throughout the duration of the program, the students listened to jazz music in their classroom while creating their own artistic interpretation of what jazz “looks like” on a 12” x 12” space, which is the size of a record album cover.Throughout the day, local student musicians will be performing jazz music at the venue.  Additionally, celebrated Portland pianist Dan Gaynor will be playing during the judging event from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Monday, February 26; 6:30 pm-9 pm
Hollywood Theater; Kids 12 and under/students/seniors $7, Adults $9The ACLU of Oregon’s Resistance Book Club presents a 35mm print of THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975. All proceeds from this screening will go to the ACLU of Oregon.BLACK POWER MIXTAPE is a treasure trove of intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews with many of the leaders of the Black Power movement, including Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge Cleaver. This footage languished in the basement of Swedish Television for 30 years, until director Göran Olsson and co-producer Danny Glover brought it to light in a mosaic of images, music, and narration chronicling one of our nation’s most indelible turning points: the Black Power movement. Music by Questlove and Om’Mas Keith and commentary from Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Melvin Van Peebles give the historical footage a fresh, contemporary resonance and make the film an exhilarating, unprecedented account of an American revolution.The ACLU of Oregon will present a post-screening talkback exploring the Black Power movement, the influence of movements on political resistance in today’s world, and Angela Davis’ enduring legacy.
Dates vary throughout February
Hollywood Theater — $9/adults, $7/children 12 and under, some events freeThe Portland Black Film Festival aims to offer diverse perspectives and stories in an art form all too often dominated by white filmmakers. The festival features films which showcase the cinematic achievements of African American stars and filmmakers and examine the black experience in America. Check listings for family-friendly showings.

Amy Conway
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Amy Conway

Calendar Director at PDX Parent
Amy Conway
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