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Seattle Celebrates Black History Month

February is Black History Month. All across Seattle, City of Seattle departments are hosting events celebrating black history, black experiences, and black lives in our City. Mayor Jenny Durkan would like to invite residents to attend an event in your neighborhood to learn more about the history, culture, and contributions of black Americans in Seattle and across the nation.

“The City of Seattle has been greatly enriched by the contributions of its African American residents throughout the years,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “We owe some of our City’s greatest achievements in art, culture, athletics, business and civic leadership to prominent black Seattleites. Our City’s strong ties to its black culture and heritage has made a lasting impact here and across the country.”

Below is a list of events and exhibitions – many free of charge – put on in honor of Black History Month by city departments like the Office of Film & Music, Arts & Culture, Parks & Recreation, Seattle Public Libraries and others.


A Central Vision—Film screening and discussion
February 7th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
A Central Vision, a 30-minute documentary film by Inye Wokoma and City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Development, takes a look at the history of the Central Area, current plans and policies addressing the rapid growth and change in the neighborhood, and the future stake of long-time residents. A panel discussion will follow.

Panel participants:
Wyking Garrett, Liberty Bank Project and Africatown
Inye Wokoma, Ijo Arts Media Group
Randy Engstrom, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Samuel Assefa, Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development
Moderated by Vivian Phillips, Seattle Arts Commission

Watch the trailer above or visit

Town Hall – Bushwick Book Club
February 16th, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S.
Original Music Inspired by Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower

The African American and African Gathering sponsored by Historical Central Area Arts & Culture District
February 17th, 10:00 a.m. –  1:00 p.m.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S.
The 5th annual State of Africatown will be held on February 17th at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute and will feature presentations on the accomplishments of the last year, as well as vision, opportunities, and challenges facing the African American and African Diaspora community in 2018 and beyond.

We are History Keepers: A Workshop on Preserving the Cultural and Historical Record of our Community
February 17th, 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts Street
This day of workshops at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) provides the skills and knowledge to preserve your own historical records, including photographs, papers and collecting oral histories. Registration is required.

Black Being Gentle Yoga Series
Sunday, February 18, 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. ($20 – $65)
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts Street
To feel is to live. Experience embodiment at the cellular level with the Black Being Gentle Yoga Series designed to intuitively connect you with your body and breath while exercising holistic black excellence.
Purchase tickets

How Minority Men and Tradeswomen Won Justice on the Jobsite
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
MOHAI, 860 Terry Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109
Civil rights and labor activists in the 1960s and 1970s broke down barriers for women and workers of color in the construction industry, opening a pathway to long inaccessible jobs. Join UW Labor Archivist and Labor Archives head Conor Casey to learn how Seattle workers fought for justice on the job through the lens of the historical collections that document this history. Assistant Labor Archivist Crystal Rodgers will introduce and contextualize her pop-up exhibit on “Women in the Trades,” which will be featured at the event. This program will give significant focus to Tyree Scott and the Central Contractors Association.

History Film Series – Black History Month
Thursday, February 22nd, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Rainier CC (free), all ages
Popcorn and a movie with meaning and discussion – Come watch films with us that highlight heritage and history fostering inclusion and multicultural engagement. Both evenings we will have staff available to help complete Scholarship applications. 3/2 will include a pasta meal.

Black History Month Celebration (Rainier Teen Program)
February 23rd, Time TBD
Rainier Community Center
All Rainier Teen Programs listed are free of charge for youth.

Langston Hughes Family – Traveling Museum sponsored by LANGSTON
February 23rd and 24th
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S.
The Langston Hughes Family Museum takes you on a journey through the life of a family that produced greatness. Each exhibition piece preserved in its original state, tells a story. The historical artifacts on display have been in the Hughes family for over 100 years and include items specific to Langston Hughes himself.

Back to the Block sponsored by Central District Forum & LANGSTON
February 24th
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S.
Experience the richness of Seattle jazz in this immersive performance of live music and monologues. Local artists engage with Central Area history, as recorded by photographer Al Smith in Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith exhibit at the Museum of History & Industry. Join them to celebrate the legacy of jazz in the city from past to present.

Lisa Myers Bulmash artist lecture with Intisar Abioto
Sunday, February 25, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts Street
Hear local artist Lisa Myers Bulmash speak on the influences and inspirations from her captivating works in, You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? She’ll be joined by photographer and creator of The Black Portlanders photography blog, Intisar Abioto. Complimentary light refreshments will be provided.

Make-N-Take Mondays – Black History Project
Monday, February 26th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Van Asselt CC, (free), all ages
Join PhillySoCreative in partnership with the Van Asselt Community Center to learn different techniques like heat embossing, water coloring, stamping, 3D projects, and more! Each month will feature cultural sharing of drinks/food to connect with the activity. Space is limited to 15, so sign up early!

‘Black February: Legendary Jazz composer Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris’
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium (206-386-4636)
Attend a free movie about legendary jazz composer Butch Morris. Vipal Monga’s first feature-length documentary, “Black February,” chronicles an unprecedented series of concerts performed in February 2005 by the legendary jazz composer. The concerts were in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Conduction, Butch’s revolutionary technique for live music-making.

Write On! Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
Tuesday, February 27, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Free)
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts Street
ELOQUENT RAGE is about the power of rage to be a clarifying and essential political resource in a shifting political landscape. This anger points us to the ugliest, but perhaps the most powerful and transformative truths about American democracy, and about what it will take to make this place more just for all.

Monthlong Galleries and Exhibits:

Seattle Municipal Archives Exhibit
CH-Floor 3 – Office of the City Clerk lobby space
The Seattle Open Housing Campaign, 1959-1968
The story of the long struggle for fair housing legislation in Seattle told through photographs and documents in the Seattle Municipal Archives.

‘Black History is American History’ exhibit
Monday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Greenwood Branch, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N. (206-684-4086)
The Greenwood Branch of The Seattle Public Library currently features an adult and children’s exhibit titled “Black History is American History.” The branch is also showcasing a “Black Lives, Black Voices” display that includes memoirs and other items.

Black History children’s book display
Monday-Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday-Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 1:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wallingford Branch, 1501 N. 45th St. (206-684-4088)
The Wallingford Branch of The Seattle Public Library has book displays featuring Black history in the Children’s area.