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Black History Month Family Events in Southeast Michigan

Activities where parents and kids can learn about African-American art, history and culture in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties

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Dynamic stage shows, moving museum exhibits, fun library programs and celebrations of music, art and even animals native to Africa's savannah: Our region is teeming with ways families can celebrate Black History Month in 2014. These events are perfect gateways to introduce your children to the historic and cultural touchstones of the African-American experience. Discover what's happening in the metro Detroit and Ann Arbor areas.

Point of View: African American Masters Exhibit at the Wright

Jan. 20-April 20, 2014

  • Address: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-5800
  • Schedule: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays (Jan. 20, Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24 only), 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays
  • Cost: Free with museum admission: $8/ages 13-61, $5/ages 3-12, free/under age 3

An impressive collection of African-American and African-Diaspora art, all collected by Elliot and Kimberly Perry, are on display in this special exhibit. Check out the work of art masters including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Eldzier Cortor, Elizabeth Catlett, James Van Der Zee and much more.

Black History Month Art Celebration at The Art Experience

Jan. 28-Feb. 6, 2014 (must register in advance)

  • Address: The Art Experience, 175 S. Sagniaw St., Suite 109, Pontiac
  • Phone: 248-706-3304
  • Times: 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Cost: $15/session, $50/four sessions

Geared at kids ages 7-11, this art series focuses on famed artists Bearden Basquiat, Lois Mailou Jones and Betye Saar. Kids used found-object assemblage, collage and graphic design to explore these pivotal African-American artists' impact. Be sure you call or email (address in link above) ahead of time; these classes are by registration only and might fill up!

African-American History Day at Detroit Historical Museum

Feb. 1, 2014

  • Address: Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-1262
  • Times: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Kick-start February with free family fun! This annual event features lots for kids, including storyteller Ivory D. Williams (noon), a caricature artist and other activities. You'll also get to chat with reps from a variety of black history-related local groups, including the famed WWII Tuskegee Airmen pilots. Plus, there are plenty of commemorative artisanal gifts and also refreshments for sale. Be sure to also visit the permanent Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad exhibit, which chronicles Detroit's key role in this part of history.

Saturday Black History Month Children's Fun at the Wright

Feb. 1-22, 2014 (Saturdays)

  • Address: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-5800
  • Schedule: noon-2 p.m. Saturdays (Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22); also 2-3:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and 15
  • Cost: Free with museum admission: $8/ages 13-61, $5/ages 3-12, free/under 3

The Wright hosts workshops, performances and interactive fun every Saturday afternoon throughout February. Following the fun, two Saturdays (Feb. 8 and 15) also have "Meet the Scientist Saturday" featuring David Head and Dr. Terrance Dillard, who lead kids in discovering and exploring science with activities centered on the permanent exhibit Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology.

Oh Ananse! at PuppetART Detroit Puppet Theater

Feb. 1-22, 2014 (select dates)

  • Address: Detroit Puppet Theater, 25 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-961-7777
  • Times: 2 p.m. Saturdays (Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22); 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 20; 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 23
  • Cost: $10/adults, $5/kids; $8/puppet-making after show

A West-African folktale comes to life in this annual favorite show, focused on a spider character that must earn his right to tell "all the stories in the world." This original Detroit spin mixes up rap music and real-life actors in hip-hop attire with the puppets, making for a unique presentation. Stick around after and make a puppet yourself!

Celebrate Black History! at Henry Ford Museum

Feb. 1-23, 2014 (select dates)

  • Address: Henry Ford Museum, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Phone: 313-982-6001
  • Times: Event times vary; Feb. 1-2, 5-9, 12-23 and 26-28
  • Cost: Free with admission: $17/ages 13-61, $12.50/ages 5-12

"Journey and Legacy" is the theme of this year's popular program at Ford's museum, centered on history, music and drama. At select times, find gospel and choir performances, along with theatrical presentations. Each Saturday and Sunday has a special theme: Pre-Emancipation (Feb. 1-2), Northern Migration (Feb. 8-9), Civil Rights Movement (Feb. 15-16) and Contemporary Times (Feb. 22-23).

Black History Month at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Feb. 1-28, 2014

  • Address: Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-7900
  • Times: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
  • Cost: Free/tri-county residents; otherwise, $8/adults, $4/kids

The DIA's renowned African art collection is yours to explore during all open hours. But take advantage of family-friendly events this month, too, like making a banner out of Adinkra-style cloth (6-9 p.m. Fridays), creating Inuit snow snakes (noon-4 p.m. Saturdays) or just enjoying "doodle art" time (noon-4 p.m. Sundays). Also, kids ages 4-8 can enjoy the stories, songs and rhythm of African/African-American oral traditions on Feb. 16 – or try an all-ages African folktale presentation Feb. 23 (both are on Sundays at 2 p.m.).

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