Detroit is rich in African American History. It is the site of the first known integrated U.S. law firm, birthed the first African American congressman in Michigan as well as the first black female lawyer, and has been the site of race riots and subsequent social change and equality. All of this historical influence makes Detroit a great place to celebrate Black History Month. There are plenty of events happening during February, and a few of the best are below.
Detroit Institute of Art
Price: various; programs are free with museum admission.
Hours: Activity hours are varied; DIA hours are Wed-Thurs, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.-; Fri: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Mon-Tues: Closed
The DIA is hosting a variety of activities for Black History Month, from chess to classes to film viewings. The festivities started on February 3 and will end on the 26th with a “Sunday Music Bar” and “A World of Music and Stories.” Some of the highlights include drop-in workshops where there is the opportunity to make adinkra cloth, an accordion book or a kalimba (a West African musical instrument), and various lectures, music performances and storytelling sessions. These events are great for a family day out.
Related: Best Cultural Museums in Detroit
Price: Admission prices are $12 for ages 15-61; $8 for children (ages 2-14); $10 for seniors 62+; $10 for active military with ID; free for those under 2 years old and Detroit Zoological Society members.
Parking: $5 for cars, $8 for buses, free for Detroit Zoological Society members.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
On February 11 and 12, the Detroit Zoo will feature a “Wild Winter African Adventure.” David Gakure, a Kenyan naturalist, will host story time about African animals, and children can take an African drum lesson, too. There will also be live entertainment, arts and crafts stations, games and learning opportunites. The zoo has reduced hours during the winter but is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. until March 31.
The Henry Ford Museum
Price: Museum admission – Adults, $15; Senior (62+), $14; Youth (ages 5-12), $11; Children 4 and under, free; Members, free
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Black History Month events at the Henry Ford Museum will take place February 1 to 5, February 8 to 12, February 15 to19 and February 22-26. This year, the theme is “Journey and Legacy.” There will be musical and dramatical performances as well as opportunities to create wreaths participate in cooking demonstrations (Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 3 p.m.). Museum-goers are encouraged to check out the exhibit “With Liberty and Justice for All” and the Rosa Parks Bus, which is a fixture at the museum. Don’t miss the performance entitled ”Minds on Freedom,” a 30-minute musical about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s.
Wild Swan Theater
Price: Individual Ticket Prices: Classic Series Performance – $8 – youth/senior (60+) and $12/adult. Adventure Series Performance: $10 – youth/senior (60+) and $15/adult. Tickets can be ordered online or over the phone.
Showtimes: Tues. Feb. 7, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; Wed. Feb. 8, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The Wild Swan Theater presents ”The Spirit of Harriet Tubman,” a show appropriate for children in grades three through 12. Leslie McCurdy is Harriet in this one-woman show, which takes the audience through the major events in Tubman’s lif, using only a trunk of costumes as props. Her story starts with her experiences as a slave and continues with her involvement with the Underground Railroad and her commitment to help others escape from slavery. Peter “Madcat” Ruth provides music for the show.
Related: Best Theater for Kids in Detroit
Liz Parker is a freelance writer and a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.