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.

Black History Month Events in Southeast Michigan

Safari story-telling, African music and dance performances and interactive workshops featuring puppets, instruments and craft making: Bring Black History Month to life for your kids in 2015. Each of these family-friendly events is a great way to explore the African-American culture, understand the history and gain a newfound awareness. Discover what you can do as a family in the metro Detroit area.

Sphinx Competition at Orchestra Hall in Detroit

Feb. 1, 2015

  • Address: Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-877-9100
  • Time: 2 p.m.
  • Cost: $10-$20

This 18th annual finals concert displays the talents of some very gifted young black and Latino class string players. Experience music sure to lift your spirit.

Black History Month at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Feb. 1-28, 2015

  • 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 Mondays)
  • Cost: Free/Macomb, Oakland and Wayne county residents; others: $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 tambourine (noon-4 p.m. Saturdays), creating snowflakes (noon-4 p.m. Sundays) or just enjoying “doodle art” time (noon-4 p.m. Sundays).

Celebrate Black History! at Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn

Feb. 4-8, 11-15, 18-22 and 25-March 1

  • Address: Henry Ford Museum, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Phone: 313-982-6001
  • Times: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-March 1
  • Cost: Free admission with museum ticket: $20/ages 13-61, $15/ages 5-12; $5/parking

Explore different aspects of African-American history each week. Come and learn about civil rights as well as present-day challenges and triumphs. With hands-on activities and African-American inspired food available only during this month, you’re sure to feel more cultured following this event!

African-American History Day at Detroit Historical Museum

Feb. 7, 2015

  • Address: Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-1805
  • 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. 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 at 2:30 p.m., which chronicles Detroit’s key role in this part of history.

Wild Winter African Adventure at Detroit Zoo

Feb. 7-8, 2015

  • 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, $10/ages 2-14, free/under 2; $6/parking

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 7-8.

Oh Ananse! at PuppetART Detroit Puppet Theater

Feb. 7, 14, 19, 21 and 28

  • Address: Detroit Puppet Theater, 25 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-961-7777
  • Times: 2 p.m. Saturdays (Feb. 7, 14, 21, and 28); 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 19
  • 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!

Dilla Youth Day/Family Free Sunday at the Wright in Detroit

Feb. 8, 2015

  • Address: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-5800
  • Schedule: 1-5 p.m. (kids activities at 2 p.m.)
  • Cost: Free

As part of its Black History Month festivities, the Wright lets kids try their hand at a turntable or “ripping the mic” during Dilla Youth Day, celebrating the famed Detroit record producer/hip-hop artist J Dilla. There is also a kids interactive story time at 2 p.m.

Under the African Sky by Wild Swan Theater

Feb. 12-14, 2015

  • Address: Towsley Auditorium, Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor
  • Time: 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 12, 10 a.m. and noon Friday Feb. 13, 11 a.m. Saturday Feb. 14
  • Phone: 734-995-0530
  • Cost: $12/adults, $8/12 and under and seniors (60-plus)

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.

Celebrate Black History Month at Farmington Community Library

Feb. 14, 2015

  • Address: Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
  • Phone: 248-848-4315
  • Time: 11 a.m.
  • Cost: Free

Storyteller Mary Grant reads How My Daddy Taught Me to Read. Children ages 5 and up sing songs and participate in arts and crafts shortly after.

Nankin Mills Presents The Underground Railroad at Romulus Public Library

Feb. 17, 2015

  • Address: Romulus Public Library, 11121 Wayne Road, Romulus
  • Phone: 734-942-7589
  • Time: 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

A storyteller from Nankin Mills discusses the Underground Railroad, followed by arts and crafts. This event is open to all ages, but keep in mind space is limited so call in advance to reserve your spot.

Pan African Youth Orchestra at Ann Arbor District Library

Feb. 21, 2015

  • Address: Ann Arbor District Library, downtown branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-327-4200
  • Time: 2-3 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Traveling all the way from Ghana to Michigan, this event features youth bringing “lively music from Africa!” The world-renowned orchestra promises an energetic and engaging show for parents and kids.

In the Heat of the Night at Macomb Center

Feb. 22, 2015

  • Address: Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township
  • Time: 3 p.m.
  • Phone: 586-286-2222
  • Cost: $25/adults, $5 students

Suitable for a teen audience, this dynamic show is presented as a live radio play, which occurs in the mid-1960s during the Civil Rights movement. Covering a high-profile investigation, a White sheriff and African-American detective “unravel and solve a murder.”

And Justice for All at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township

Feb. 23, 2015

  • Address: Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township
  • Time: 10 a.m.
  • Phone: 586-286-2141
  • Cost: $15/adults and seniors, $5/students

Great for teen audiences (grades 9-plus), this stage reflection on the civil rights era – fully titled And Justice for All: America and the Civil Rights Movement – was adapted from John Ball’s 1965 novel In the Heat of the Night. It includes scenes that focus on racism experienced by African-Americans and their “determination to stand up for their dignity and rights.” The show is about an hour long and includes a post-show interactive discussion.

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