The MSR celebrates Black history 365 days a year and enjoys a living legacy as one of the state’s oldest Black businesses. Find a listing of free or low-cost community events below to help you savor the richness of Black history.
Night Life: Nocturnal Worlds in African Art
Runs until Sept. 10
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls.
“Night Life” presents 20 artworks from across Africa that address the various ways nighttime was, and in some cases still is, perceived and experienced. Offering warmth and privacy, sumptuously patterned blankets and basketry panels promote peaceful slumbers. This exhibit is free and is being staged in Gallery 255.
For more info, go to bit.ly/NocturnalWorlds
Runs until March 5
Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls.
Uprooted from his family, Lonnie couldn’t feel more alone. But when his class learns to write poetry, his verses take him back to a time of togetherness. As he finds his voice as a poet, Lonnie learns how poetry can bring him closer to others and himself. Based on the book by award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson, this play is best enjoyed by anyone aged nine or older.
For more info, go to childrenstheatre.org/shows-and-tickets
“Blues for an Alabama Sky”
Runs until March 12
Guthrie Theater, Wurtele Thrust Stage, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls.
Renowned playwright Pearl Cleage’s award-winning drama takes place in Depression-era Harlem, where a close-knit group of four friends have their lives upturned by a newcomer whose arrival shifts the trajectory of everyone’s futures and long-held dreams.
For info, go to www.guthrietheater.org/shows-and-tickets
“TESTIFY: Americana from Slavery to Today”
Runs until March 29, 2023
Minneapolis Central Library Cargill Gallery, 300 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.
Presented by former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and NFL Hall of Famer Alan Page, and his daughter, marketing and communications professional Georgi Page-Smith, the groundbreaking exhibit “TESTIFY” returns to the Minneapolis Central Library. The exhibit features more than 100 artifacts and works of art designed to foster dialogue and inspire justice.
For more info, go to hclib.org/about/news/2023/January/testify-exhibit
Community Quilt Project
Runs until July 1
Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG), 1256 Penn Ave. N. (4th Floor), Mpls.
The “Community Quilt Project” features 14 quilts that symbolize themes, including Black history, Black joy, love and family, racial justice, civil rights, Black liberation, healing and freedom. The exhibit also includes a quilt honoring Minneapolis’ favorite son, Prince Rogers Nelson, that was created during the painting of the Prince mural in May/June 2022.
The “Community Quilt Project” is open for viewing during MAAHMG’s regular hours (Tuesdays through Fridays from 1-5 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am-2 pm.) Admission is free and free parking is available in the ramp at the rear of the building.
For more info, go to www.maahmg.org
Black Liberation: Dismantling of Racism in Minnesota, 1800s to 1960s
Runs until Dec. 31
Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG), 1256 Penn Ave. N. (4thh Floor), Mpls.
This exhibit, curated by Tina Burnside with research assistance by Simiyah Garrison and graphic design by Michaela Spielberger, is an exploration of the Black Liberation Movement in Minnesota.
Focusing on Black-led organizations and Black leaders including abolitionists, labor, civil rights and Black Power leaders, “Black Liberation” reflects the fight for Black self-determination in Minnesota during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The MAAHMG is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 1-5 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am-2 pm. Admission is free and free parking is available in the ramp at the rear of the building.
For more info, go to www.maahmg.org
2023 History Makers at Home Award Ceremony
11 am – 1:30 pm
The Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway Ave., Mpls.
The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is honoring several community leaders as part of the History Makers at Home program—a profile series featuring inspirational leaders in a wide range of fields. The awards program will take place from 11 am to 12:30 pm, and refreshments and networking opportunities are from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm at the Capri Theater. This event is free and open to the public.
For more info, go to bit.ly/MplsBHM2023
Reflections on the Black Liberation Movement in Minnesota with Dr. Yohuru Williams
5:30 – 7 pm
MAAHMG (Fourth Floor), 1256 Plymouth Ave. N., Mpls.
Dr. Yohuru Williams, distinguished university chair, professor of history, and founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas, will present an engaging discussion that explores the Black Liberation Movement, its catalysts and leaders in Minnesota.
Dr. Williams will also discuss the connection between events in 1975 and the racial reckoning of 2020, and the goals, strategies and challenges for Black self-determination. Admission and parking are free.
For more info, go to bit.ly/BlackLiberationMAAHMG
Northside Celebration 2023
Three Shows, February 17 – 19
Feb. 17, 7 pm, North High, 1500 James Ave. N., Mpls
Feb. 18, 4 pm, North High, 1500 James Ave. N., Mpls
Feb. 19, 2 pm, Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul
Share in the joy, beauty, and energy of this collaborative concert experience that celebrates the North Minneapolis community through music. Springing from the 13-year partnership between the Capri in North Minneapolis and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, this celebration brings together traditional gospel and orchestral music with spoken word to create an unforgettable concert event featuring voices and stories of the North Side.
For more info, go to content.thespco.org/events/northside-celebration-2023
Zealous Hellions: Charlayne Hunter-Gault in Conversation with Brandi Powell
Mixed Blood Theatre, Alan Page Auditorium (and live-streamed), 1501 S. 4th St., Mpls.
For the first Zealous Hellions of 2023, Mixed Blood welcomes pioneering journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault in conversation with Brandi Powell of KSTP 5 Eyewitness News. In light of the recent publication of Hunter-Gault’s new book, “My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives,” this conversation will trace her journey from desegregating the University of Georgia to her work on PBS’s “NewsHour,” The New Yorker Magazine, The New York Times and beyond. Admission is free, but advanced registration is encouraged.
For more info, go to mixedblood.com/zealous-hellions
The Essence of Gospel with Kimberly Brown
Two Shows – 3 pm and 7 pm
Heat of the City Music Factory, 2665 4th Ave., Anoka
Celebrate the Gospel music experience with acclaimed vocalist Kimberly Brown. This is an all-ages show and a wonderful way to celebrate Black History Month.
For more info, go to www.kimberlybrownmusic.com
African American Genealogy Workshop
11 am–12 pm
Hennepin History Museum, 2303 3rd Ave. S., Mpls.
This workshop, led by Hennepin History Museum archivist Michelle Pollard, will demonstrate how to navigate sites like ancestry.com and familysearch.org, as well as the National Archives to help find your African American ancestors and build an extensive family tree. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
For more info, go to bit.ly/AAGenealogyWorkshop
24th Annual Black History Month Concert
St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community, 4537 3rd S., Mpls.
Featuring a joyful gathering of musicians, storytellers, filmmakers and neighborhood advocates, this annual event digs deep into the history of South Minneapolis and the St. Joan of Arc community. Presented in collaboration with the St. Joan of Arc anti-racism ministry.
For more info, go to www.eventbrite.com
“Sugar in Our Wounds” by Donja R. Love
Runs until March 19
Penumbra Theatre Company, 270 North Kent St., St. Paul
Set on a Southern plantation in 1862, this piercing drama explores queer Black love against a backdrop of imminent freedom. Two young, enslaved men torn from their families find solace in one another, propelling them into a harrowing fight for love and survival.
For more info, go to penumbratheatre.org or call 651-224-3180
Rock Your Crown Past Present and Creative
City of Mpls. Public Service Building, Confer. Room 100, 505 4th Ave. S., Mpls.
This is the last of four City of Minneapolis Black History Month Events held consecutively on Thursdays in February 2023.
For more info, go to bit.ly/BHMResistance
Black History Month Celebrations
YWCA Saint Paul Health & Fitness Center
375 Selby Ave., St. Paul
505 Fourth Ave. S., Mpls
Honor the rich history and legacy of St. Paul’s Black community. The YWCA Saint Paul will highlight small Black businesses, fitness instructors, and other prominent leaders that are effecting change in our community today. The YWCA will also share exciting news about the future of its racial justice work. Come help pave the way for future generations.
For more info, go to bit.ly/YWCABHM
African Heritage Day on the Hill w/the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage
9:30 am-11 pm
Minnesota State Capitol Building Rotunda, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, St. Paul
Join the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage for the first in-person African Heritage Day on the Hill, post-COVID-19 pandemic.
This event will feature remarks from lawmakers on their current 2023 legislative plans and provide information for attendees on how to connect with lawmakers on policy issues that are important to them.
For more info, go to eventbrite.com
I Am My Ancestors Wildest Dreams Expo
9 am – 11 pm
Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave., S., Mpls
The City’s Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Department is hosting the inaugural “I Am My Ancestors Wildest Dreams Expo” that will feature free vending opportunities for small Black-owned businesses, celebrity guest speakers from around the country, music, poets, panel discussions, workshops and information pop-ups.
The expo will also include the “Too Dope to Bully” experience, focusing on youth ages 4-18. Attendance is free, but advanced registration is encouraged.
For more info, go to bit.ly/IAmMyAncestors
A Nashinspired Black History Celebration
11 am – 6 pm
Springboard for the Arts, 262 University Ave. West, St. Paul
Join family, friends and neighbors to take part in a fun, all-day celebration on Black History Month featuring music, fashion, art, and other activities.
For more info, go bit.ly/NashBMH2023
Noon – 6 pm
Element Gym, 655 Fairview Ave., N., St. Paul
This event offers an opportunity to keep your money in the community by supporting Black-owned food vendors and Black-owned merchandisers. Come out to learn about and support new Black businesses right here in our city for the last weekend in Black History Month!
For more info, go to bit.ly/TheBlackOUT2023
Let’s Talk: Shifting the Narrative on Criminal Justice
7 pm (doors open one hour prior to showtime)
Penumbra Theatre Company, 270 North Kent St., St. Paul
This discussion at Penumbra will questio0n the perspectives about criminality and the images we form in our heads about who a criminal is and what is a crime. The impact of this unconscious bias is visible in our state’s racial disparities in arrests, convictions and incarceration—some of the country’s worst.
Is it possible to disrupt the perspectives that lead to unfair treatment? Join in for a conversation with leaders focused on reform, abolition and repair about the impact of bias and how we can all help shift the narrative around crime and incarceration to create a more equitable justice system.
For more info, visit penumbratheatre.org, or call 651-224-3180.
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