February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements by African Americans and a time to honor the central role of black Americans throughout history and in the present day.
Events, Displays and Activities
Madison Public Library Events:
Goodman South Madison's Friday Family Films
Fridays in February, 5:30-7:45PM | Goodman South Madison Library
Each month, the Goodman South Madison Library hosts family movie nights on Friday nights. During Black History Month, these films are focused on sharing Black stories throughout history. Snacks are provided at each event - all ages are welcome. Check out the lineup:
Daughters of the Dust at Lakeview Library
February 3, 6-8PM | Lakeview Library
Join us for a film night on the first Friday of each month! Selections include feature-length films, documentaries, and shorts. Snacks and drinks provided. This month's feature is Daughters of the Dust (1991). At the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina – former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions – struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots. Unable to attend this month's feature? Find it on Kanopy!
Both February Loud 'n' Unchained events have been canceled due to inclement weather and will be rescheduled for later this spring. Please check back for updates!
CANCELED Loud 'n Unchained Black QTDisabled Showcase + Mini Artists Market
February 17, 6-8PM | Pinney Library
Loud 'N Unchained Celebrates Black History Month with an all Black QTDisabled Showcase + Mini Black Artists Market featuring LGBTQ and /or Disabled Artists. The stage will also feature DJ Femme Noir and performers: Shasparay Irvin, Basal Jones, Sunshine Raynebow, Warrior Priestess Alikz, MiMi Sanchez, Amethyst Von Trolleberg, R. B. Simon, Lexy Linez, Rain Cooper, Sarah B., and T. S. Banks. Artists represent a wide range of genres and artistic mediums including poets, drag, lyricists, and musicians!! This showcase is also a market to support these local artists and be able to take some of their art home with you!
Open to Everyone. To keep everyone safe, we ask that you wear a mask in the performance/market space. We'll have several on hand at the door. This event is part of the Ripple Project, a year-long series of free public humanities programs focused on equity in the Dane County public libraries. Learn more at www.beyondthepage.info/ripple-project
CANCELED Loud 'n Unchained Writing Workshop
February 18, 12-1:30PM | Pinney Library
QTDisabled Poets and Poetry. T.S.Banks will lead a writing workshop featuring poems from Black Queer, Trans and Disabled Poets. As well as writing prompts on the intersections on LGBTQ+ Krip identities.
This event is part of the Ripple Project, a year-long series of free public humanities programs focused on equity in the Dane County public libraries. Learn more at www.beyondthepage.info/ripple-project.
Book Discussion of The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Saturday, February 18, 1:30-3PM | Goodman South Madison Library
Come join the book club for lively, thoughtful discussions of The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Everyone is welcome to our public group. Please find our books for the club next to the Reference Desk. About the book: A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker's epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.
Wisconsin Book Festival: Love Released Again
Sunday, February 19, 2PM | Central Library
Book launch of new works by authors Poet Fabu, Sherry Lucille and Catrina J. Sparkman. All are local Madison writers - learn more about Poet Fabu's new poetry collection, We Eat to Remember: Soul Food Poetry, Sherry Lucille's latest romance novel, Falling and Catrina J. Sparkman's latest work, Flight of the Blackbird.
Meadowridge Movie Night: Good Hair
Monday, February 20, 6-7:30PM | Meadowridge Library
We're celebrating Black History Month at Meadowridge Library with a showing of the Chris Rock-led documentary, Good Hair.
Tinkering Tuesday: Lois Mailou Jones Masks
February 21, 4:30-6:30PM | Meadowridge Library
Drop in to the children's area at Meadowridge Library for art, making, tinkering, and fun! This week, celebrate Black History Month by learning about renowned artist Lois Mailou Jones and create a mask in her style with oil pastels! All supplies provided; all ages welcome. Children under 5 will need extra help from a parent or caregiver. No registration required.
Wisconsin Book Festival: Above Ground
Monday, April 3, 7PM | Central Library
A remarkable poetry collection from Clint Smith, the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of How the Word Is Passed. Clint Smith’s vibrant and compelling new collection traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood, and explores how becoming a parent has recalibrated his sense of the world.
Wisconsin Book Festival: The Tradition
Thursday, April 27, 7PM | Central Library
Presented in partnership with the UW Program in Creative Writing & winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Beauty abounds in Jericho Brown’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, despite and inside of the evil that pollutes the everyday. A National Book Award finalist, The Tradition questions why and how we’ve become accustomed to terror: in the bedroom, the classroom, the workplace, and the movie theater. Jericho Brown is a poet of eros: here he wields this power as never before, touching the very heart of our cultural crisis.
Displays and Activities:
- Goodman South Madison Library has an interactive Black History Month walk through the library that features fun facts and information about iconic figures in Black history. When you visit, you can scan QR codes on pictures of Black Americans to learn more about them, see inspirational quotes and browse book displays for kids and adults.
- Pinney, Meadowridge, Goodman South Madison and Sequoya will have a limited number of free bookmarks with inspirational quotes from civil rights icons and a few inspiring modern figures. You can find them in the adults, teen and children Black History Month book displays.
- The following libraries have Black History Month book displays: Alicia Ashman, Goodman South Madison, Hawthorne, Lakeview, Meadowridge, Monroe Street, Central, Pinney and Sequoya.
- You can also #ReadBlack this month (and beyond) with your book club using this list of Book Club Kits with titles by Black authors.
Black History Month or Related Events in the Greater Madison Community*
38th Annual MLK Day Observances
January 15-16, various times | King Coalition of Madison and Dane County
Justified Anger's Black History for a New Day Virtual Course
Spring course registration open now - class takes place February 6-April 17, 2023.
Voices of Color with Dr. Linda Vakunta & Melvin Hinton (virtual)
Thursday, February 16, 10am
UW-Madison PLACE The 5th Annual Virtual Black History Education Conference - Black History Month Celebrating "Ubuntu - I Am, Because We Are!"
February 17-18, 2023
Videos of Past Events
Tribute to Our Elders: Speak and Song. Presented on February 20, 2020, at Goodman South Madison Library.
African American History in Madison. Presented on February 27, 2020, at Goodman South Madison Library.
Books & Resources
- African American Fiction Book List
- African American History and Culture Book List
- Black History Month resources on Wisconsin's Digital Library (via Libby app)
- Black History Month movie list on Kanopy (requires free Kanopy account)
- Black Woman's Wellness Book List
- Celebrating Black Joy for Kids and Teens
- Black Voices Book Club Kits
- African American Culture - Monthly Insider Newsletter
- Coretta Scott King Book Award Winning Titles for Children
- Black History in Wisconsin
- Black History Resources at the Wisconsin Historical Society
- Mae Mitchell Multicultural Collection at Goodman South Madison Library
- Racial Equity Resources
Other Local Resources for Black History Month
- Equity and Inclusion in Historic Preservation, a resource list from the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation
- African American History in Wisconsin from the Wisconsin Historical Society
- A History of Black Madison by Michael Johnson, on Madison365 web site
- Wisconsin Black Historical Society
- Wisconsin Public Radio's Black History resources
- Wisconsin Public Television's Black History resources