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Black History Month

BHB-TheBlackFamily-small-600x767February 1, 2021 -- February 1 is the first day of Black History Month, dedicated to celebrating Black history and culture and the many contributions of Black Americans to our state and throughout the nation. It is also an opportunity to meaningfully engage with the continuing legacies of injustice and systemic racism that impact the daily lives of Black Americans across the country. These issues, such as health care, education, and the environment are intersectional at heart, and Black History Month is an opportunity to examine persistent inequities caused by systemic racism and take action for a better future.

Mayor Rotering has issued a Proclamation declaring the month of February as Black History Month, encouraging residents to continue to pursue the goal of liberty and justice for all. Click here to read the Proclamation

The image at right is the official artwork for the theme of the 95th annual Black History Month:  The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. The theme is chosen annually by the Association for the Study of African American Life. Black History Month began in 1926, the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson, who felt it was important to focus the public's attention on specific topics of Black history and culture.  Learn more here

Local and national organizations have planned safe, virtual ways to celebrate Black History Month with educational and fun activities and programming. For suggestions of local events to be added to the following list, please email us at with the subject line, "Black History Month."

Highland Park Public Library

Comic Bookclub: Nat Turner by Kyle Baker
Thursday, February 4, 7:30 PM via Zoom
The history of Nat Turner and the slave rebellion depicted shows the power of comics both to bring history to life and to explore strong emotions. Nat Turner is available with no waiting on hoopla. Learn more and register.

Fireside Chat with Dr. Eve L. Ewing
Monday, March 1, 6:00 PM via Zoom
Celebrate the spirit of World Social Justice Day with Dr. Eve L. Ewing, award-winning author and assistant professor at the University of Chicago, as she shares perspectives on her work as a sociologist of education focusing on racism, social inequality, and urban policy. Dr. Ewing will be joined in conversation with WBEZ's award-winning journalist Natalie Moore, who covers segregation and inequality for the Chicago-based NPR affiliate. Learn more and register.

Visit for more opportunities to celebrate Black History Month at the Library, including virtual displays, activities and programs for readers of all ages.

Highland Park High School

The Family Catalog Community History Project
Tune in to HPTV throughout the month for powerful segments and quotes to honor this critical team. Student members of 24/7/365 recognize that Black history is American history, and is a part of all of our lives, all the time. Students have created a new project, The Family Catalog, to explore and archive the diversity and unique histories of District 113's Black families. Click here to participate in this important student-led initiative.

Lake County Forest Preserves

38th Annual Profiles in Excellence: Our Voice is Black History
Saturday, February 6, 3:00 PM

Students and faculty from the College of Lake County share their experiences through stories collected from Lake County's African American community. The project is the foundation of an exhibition opening in February at the Dunn Museum in Libertyville. The event is free, but registration is required. Click here to register. Please note that registration will close at noon on Saturday, February 6.  

National Events

Black History Month Virtual Festival
Association for the Study of African American Life
The Association for the Study of African American Life has selected "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity" as the national 95th annual Black History theme. Many free, virtual programs are planned throughout the month of February, touching on varied topics of particular importance. Programs will be available at

Celebrating Black History at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture
The 2021 Black History programming slate from the NMAAHC and the Smithsonian Institution include the following free programs:

Historically Speaking: 400 Souls, a Conversation with Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
Tuesday, February 2, 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Renowned scholars Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain collaborated on a project in which 90 writers documented the 400 -year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present in their newly released book, Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. Several contributors from the book will join Kendi and Blain in a discussion about the impact of the African American community on the social justice trajectory of American history. Admission is free but registration is required. Click here to register.

NMAAHC Kids: Joyful Fridays
Weekly program, Fridays, 10:00 AM
Children (ages 4 - 8) will learn about the collections of the NMAAHC in this weekly program celebrating Black joy, history, and culture inspired by the museum's Joyful ABC's activity book series. Admission is free but registration is required; a list of activity supplies for each week's program will be provided upon registration. Click here to register.

Courthouse Research: Using Probate Records to Research Enslaved Ancestors
Saturday, February 6, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Author, teacher, and certified genealogical lecturer LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson will share best practices in using probate and other estate records to identify potential slaveholders. This lecture will help prepare participants to break through the 1870 U.S. Census brick wall after they have identified the names of ancestors born during slavery and now find themselves stalled in their research. Admission is free but registration is required. Click here to register.

In Dialogue: Social Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice - Race & Medicine
Thursday, February 11, 4:00 - 5:00 PM
Educators from the National Portrait Gallery partner with colleagues at NMAAHC to focus on race and medicine as represented by a collection of related objects and artwork. Admission is free but registration is required. Click here to register.

Historically Speaking: COVID-19 and the Economy
Tuesday, February 23, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Panelists Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist at the Washington Post and Algernon Austin, senior researcher at the Thurgood Marshall Institute, will address how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economy and the African American community, moderated by Michael Fletcher, senior writer at ESPN's Undefeated. Admission is free but registration is required. Click here to register.

Online Exhibition: Pauli Murray's Proud Shoes: A Classic in African American Genealogy"
This inspirational exhibition featuring pioneering lawyer, Episcopal priest, and activist Pauli Murray has now gone digital! Visit to explore the exhibit. 

Front page graphic:
A quote by Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke: "We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation's greatness." Read more.