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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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Black Boy Stage Show at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts

Feb. 4-5, 2014

Address: Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township
Time: 10 a.m.
Phone: 586-286-2222
Cost: $10/adults and seniors, $5/students

Great for teen audiences, this one-man show is adapted from Richard Wright's classic American autobiography of the same name. It focuses on Wright's "claim to his basic human rights in a racist society." The show is about an hour long and includes a pre-and post-show interactive discussion.

Wild Winter African Adventure at Detroit Zoo

Feb. 8-9, 2014

  • Address: Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak
  • Phone: 248-541-5717
  • Times: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Cost: Free with admission: $14/ages 15-plus, $9/ages 2-14

The second of the zoo's annual Wild Winter Weekends series focuses on African culture and, of course, critters! Visit with the kids to try out an African drum lesson and hear stories about African animals. There's also entertainment, crafts, games and more fun in store for families. Note: The final Wild Winter Weekends event is March 8-9.

Free Family Second Sunday at the Wright

Feb. 9, 2014

  • Address: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-5800
  • Times: 1-5 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Thanks to Charter One, admission is waived for Detroit's epicenter for African-American culture year round. The theme this time is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Be sure to catch the related Voices of Civil War film series at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Roam around the various fun and powerful exhibits, too.

The Gratitude Steel Band at Ann Arbor District Library

Feb. 10, 2014

  • Address: Ann Arbor District Library, downtown branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-327-4200
  • Time: 7-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

This all-ages concert features tribute to African, jazz, classical, calypso, reggae and 80s music to capture the "joyful contributions from the African-American experiences." The band, in its 25th year, promises an energetic and engaging show for parents and kids.

Black History Month Movie Features at Farmington Community Library

Feb. 10 and 17, 2014

  • Address: Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
  • Phone: 248-848-4315
  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Two separate Monday movie nights feature films that focus on a powerful African-American stories. On Feb. 10, see PG-rated The Long Walk Home, which captures the Montgomery, Ala. bus boycott. Then, on Feb. 17, it's The True Story of an American Legend, rated PG-13 (ages 10-plus welcome), which focuses on the biopic of Jackie Robinson.

Under the African Sky by Wild Swan Theater

Feb. 12, 2014

  • Address: Towsley Auditorium, Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor
  • Time: 1 p.m.
  • Phone: 734-995-0530
  • Cost: $15/adults, $10/ages 12 and under

Hurry – this is the only 2014 show date that isn't sold out! This popular annual show for kids features a collection of African tales performed through storytelling, acting, dancing and drumming. Offers plenty of audience interaction and participation. Suitable for kids ages 4 through third grade.

Dance Theatre of Harlem at Detroit Opera House

Feb. 14-16, 2014

  • Address: Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St., Detroit
  • Times: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
  • Phone: 313-237-3426
  • Cost: $25-$65

Arriving in time for Valentine's Day, this program by African-American ballet company from New York arrives in Detroit for three dates. Numbers include "Pas de Dix," "When Love," "Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven" and, after intermission, "Return" – set to the tunes of Aretha Franklin and James Brown.

Ain't Misbehavin' Musical by Stagecrafters

Feb. 14-March 2, 2014 (select dates)

  • Address: Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak
  • Times: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
  • Phone: 248-541-6430
  • Costs: $20-$22/advance, add $2 at door

This stage show is a musical tribute to talented black musicians of the '40s – specifically, the legendary Harlem composer/entertainer Fats Waller. This jazz-age toe-tapper is set to transform the popular local theater into a "1940s Detroit nightclub."

Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Macomb Center

Feb. 21, 2014

  • Address: Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Phone: 586-286-2222
  • Cost: $33-$38/adults, $20/students, $15/children ages 12 and under, $48/pit seating

Catch the dynamic show by this three-time Grammy Award-winning group, featuring South African dance and a capella harmony. They've won acclaim for teaming up with well-known artists – including Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton and many more – for a variety of albums (and they have their own, too!). Guaranteed to get you tapping along.

African Drumming and Storytelling at Inkster's Public Library

Feb. 22 and 26, 2014

  • Address: Leanna Hicks Public Library, 2005 Inkster Road, Inkster
  • Phone: 313-563-2822
  • Times: 1:30-3:30 p.m. Feb. 22, 6-7 p.m. Feb. 26
  • Cost: Free

Visit this library for a few cultural experiences. First, on Wednesday (Feb. 22), check out the African drumming of Jeffrey Nzoma and enjoy refreshments. Then, come back that Saturday (Feb. 22) and hear African folktales told by professional storyteller Gwen Lewis in a family show.

Sphinx Competition at Orchestra Hall in Detroit

Feb. 23, 2014

  • Address: Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-877-9100
  • Time: 2 p.m.
  • Cost: $10-$25

This 17th annual finals concert displays the talents of some very gifted young black and Latino class string players. Experience some music sure to lift your spirit.

Miz Rosie Storytelling at Romulus Public Library

Feb. 24, 2014 (must register in advance)

  • Address: Romulus Public Library, 1121 Wayne Road, Romulus
  • Phone: 734-942-7589
  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Storyteller Miz Rosie will be at this local library with African musical instruments, which she'll use to teach attendees about fantastic African and African-American folktales. It's open to kids and families ages 4 and older. Bear in mind that space is limited, though, so definitely call in advance to reserve your spot!

 

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