February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on and celebrate all things brought to art, music, education and culture by African Americans. Here are ways to celebrate in metro Detroit:
The Henry Hotel
The Henry Hotel,300 Town Center Drive, Dearborn, formerly the Ritz Carlton, will celebrate Black History Month at 5 p.m. Feb. 24 with an evening with broadcaster Ed Gordon. Steve Harvey, comedian, actor and host of “Family Feud” on WWJ-TV, is this year’s Heritage Award recipient, along with Dr. Herbert Smitherman (posthumously), who worked as a research chemist for Procter & Gamble. Tickets start at $35. Visit for tickets http://2012fordfaanbhm-eorg.eventbrite.com.
Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Zoo
The Detroit Zoological Society will celebrate Black History Month with special activities at the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo throughout February.
On Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and 12, the Detroit Zoo continues its series of Wild Winter Weekends with Wild Winter African Adventure. Visitors can participate in interactive African drum and dance performances by Kevin Collins’ Kuungana African Drum and Dance Company and hear stories by Kenyan naturalist and Detroit Zoo education specialist David Gakure.
Wild Swan Theatre will present Under the African Sky, a collection of African tales performed through storytelling, acting and drumming. Performances take place on Saturday and Sunday at noon and 1:30 p.m. The weekend also features African animal enrichment, arts and crafts, games and educational experiences. Wild Winter activities take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free with Detroit Zoo admission.
The Kuungana African Drum and Dance Company will present interactive drum and dance workshops for Belle Isle Nature Zoo guests on Saturdays and Sundays throughout February, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. On Sunday, Feb. 4 and Feb. 18, 2012, at 2 p.m., David Gakure will share his experiences about growing up in Africa and coming to America. Belle Isle Nature Zoo Manager and zoologist Michael Reed will conduct guided tours.
Detroit Zoological Society education specialists are available as speakers for classroom outreach programs throughout Black History Month. Call Interim Director of Education Jo Ann Neal at (248) 541-5717 ext. 3865 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, call 248-541-5717 or visit www.detroitzoo.org.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Afrobeat Album Art Workshops
Saturdays 2/4 and 2/18 at 1 p.m.; Groove to the beat of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation, and use that “Afrobeat Inspiration” to create your own colorful, take-home album covers! Free with Museum admission. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/375-afrobeat-album-art-workshop
Marionette Puppet Shows by Master Puppeteer William James
Saturdays 2/4 & 2/25 at 3 p.m.; Come and spend a fun-filled family afternoon with Master Puppeteer William James and his 3-foot, incredibly life-like African American marionettes. Free with Museum admission. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/377-marionette-puppet-show-by-master-puppeteer-william-james
Songs of Freedom Music Workshops
Saturday 2/11 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; The entire family can have great fun playing drums and the shekere, while singing songs of freedom with musician Wgwaii Mwanjebala. Free with Museum admission. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/379-songs-of-freedom-music-workshop
Charter One Free Family Second Sunday
Sunday 2/12 from 1 – 5 p.m.; Bring the whole family to Rejoice, Relive & Reconnect at The Wright Museum with free admission every second Sunday of the month courtesy of Charter One Bank! For Black History Month, children are in for a special afternoon of storytelling performed by the Detroit Association
Southfield Public Library
In celebration of Black History Month, the Library will present a program, “A Great Day in Harlem” on Thursday, Feb. 9th at 7 p.m. in the Meeting Room.
According to the library, at the request of Esquire magazine in 1958, 58 jazz musicians gathered in Harlem to be photographed. This picture subsequently became the most noted and famous jazz photograph of all time.
Stu Johnson, a member of the Michigan Jazz Record Collectors, will present the story of the photograph and a musical program highlighting several of the musicians present on that eventful day.
If you enjoy jazz, this listening and learning session should not be missed.
Southfield Public Library is located in the Southfield Municipal Complex, 26300 Evergreen Road. Visit the library online at www.southfieldlibrary.org.
For further information, call 248-796-4224.
The theme of this year’s program at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn is “Journey and Legacy” Celebrate Black History.
Pre-Emancipation features the North Star Gospel Chorale: 11:30 a.m., 1, 2:20 p.m. Feb. Sat., Sun.; “Ain’t I A Woman: Meet Sojourner Truth:” 11 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 p.m. Sat., and 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. Sun.
Northern Migration with Robert Jones: 11:30 a.m., 1, 2 p.m., and “Elijah: The Real McCoy,” 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., both Feb. 11-12
Civil Rights Movement, “Minds on Freedom:” 11:30 a.m., 1, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18, 19
Contemporary Times, “The Hamilton Family,” 11:30 a.m., 1, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25, 26
Also, African American Innovator Tours, 10, 11 a.m., 1, 2, 3 p.m. every day in February. All tours depart from Museum Plaza.
Call 313-982-6001 or visit www.hfmgv.org/events/blackhistory for more information. All activities are free with museum admission ($17 adults 13-61, $12.50 youth ages 5-12, free for children 4 and younger, and members).
First Presbyterian Church
A Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion in honor of Black History Month will be held at First Presbyterian Church from Saturday, Feb. 4, through Sunday, Feb. 12. Featured will be a traveling museum that chronicles the history of Detroit’s race relations. An additional display in the church library will showcase African American history throughout the entire month at the church, 1669 W. Maple Road, Birmingham. Call 248-641-8910 for more information.
Detroit Historical Museum
African American History Day will be held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday,. Feb. 4, at the Detroit Historical Museum. Highlights include an artists market, children’s activities, storytelling by Ivory D. Williams and historical information from local groups. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Free. 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Call 313-833-7934 or visit detroithistorical.org.