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Black History Month

Black History Month

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.


Wisconsin Book Festival Events

Wisconsin Book Festival Presents The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard & Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel Moniz
Wednesday, February 17, 7:00pm - Virtual Event on Crowdcast

About The Rib King: The acclaimed author of The Talented Ribkins deconstructs painful African American stereotypes and offers a fresh and searing critique on race, class, privilege, ambition, exploitation, and the seeds of rage in America in this intricately woven and masterfully executed historical novel, set in the early twentieth century that centers around the black servants of a down-on-its heels upper-class white family. Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, The Rib King is an unsparing examination of America’s fascination with black iconography and exploitation that redefines African American stereotypes in literature. In this powerful, disturbing, and timely novel, Ladee Hubbard reveals who people actually are, and most importantly, who and what they are not.

About Milk Blood Heat: A livewire debut from Dantiel W. Moniz, one of the most exciting discoveries in today's literary landscape, Milk Blood Heat depicts the sultry lives of Floridians in intergenerational tales that contemplate human connection, race, womanhood, inheritance, and the elemental darkness in us all. Set among the cities and suburbs of Florida, each story delves into the ordinary worlds of young girls, women, and men who find themselves confronted by extraordinary moments of violent personal reckoning. These intimate portraits of people and relationships scour and soothe and blast a light on the nature of family, faith, forgiveness, consumption, and what we may, or may not, owe one another. Wise and subversive, spiritual and seductive, Milk Blood Heat forms an ouroboros of stories that bewitch with their truth, announcing the arrival of a bright new literary star.


Wisconsin Book Festival Presents The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee
Tuesday, March 2, 7:00pm - Virtual Event on Crowdcast

Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out? The Sum of Us is a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal. McGhee marshals economic and sociological research to paint an irrefutable story of racism’s costs, but at the heart of the book are the humble stories of people yearning to be part of a better America, including white supremacy’s collateral victims: white people themselves. With startling empathy, this heartfelt message from a Black woman to a multiracial America leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than zero-sum.


Black History Month or Related Events in the Greater Madison Community*

*this is not a complete list.  Please also check event calendars for Madison365UMOJA, Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, and UW-Madison

UW-Madison Music as Medicine: Evolution of Music in the Black Community
Various Events Taking Place Throughout February

From generation to generation music has been utilized by the Black Community as a form of activism, healing, and freedom of expression. From the use of negro spirituals to uplift the spirits of enslaved peoples, to the arrangement of contemporary hip-hop tracks to call out systemic racism and oppression, throughout generations music has been used by Black people to reflect their internal and external situations. This year, UW-Madison will celebrate the theme by presenting a cohesive set of programs designed to highlight the various forms of Black music such as Negro Spirituals, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Hip Hop/Rap, Gospel, R&B, and more. They will also discuss the influence of those often ignored for their contributions to music, such as women in genres dominated by men.


Black History for a New Day
Weekly beginning Feb 1, 2021, 7:00-9:00pm - Virtual

This is a starting point for non-black people of courage and conviction to come together to think and learn about the history that has shaped our world and worldviews. Over nine Monday evenings, February 4 through April 15, Justified Anger will be collaborating with history professors from UW-Madison to revisit the American past with justice in mind. The purpose is to understand how the African-American experience has shaped the world we all live in, and how allies can find roles supporting racial justice today. We will lead this process without the use of guilt, finger-pointing, or propaganda, and lead from a place of compassion, community, and understanding. Rooting ourselves in our history, and understanding how we got here, will help us move forward together to make a better world and a stronger Madison.


Barnes and Noble Presents Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson
February 1, 6:00pm - Virtual

Barnes & Noble welcomes award-winning actress and cultural icon Cicely Tyson for a virtual event to discuss her much-anticipated new memoir, Just As I Am. She will be in discussion with Tyler Perry for this event.


Black History Education Conference
February 19-20, 2021 - Virtual

During this time in our history, many people have asked what they can do to take action toward ending systemic racism. Now, in our third year of offering the Black History Education Conference, we knew before this issue took center stage that culturally relevant professional development was one way to eliminate the attitude, opportunity, and achievement gaps that exist across the globe. Our answer is to bring forth solutions that will help us eliminate the stark gaps that exist in the state of Wisconsin and across our country. This event is hosted by the UW Professional Learning and Community Education department. 


Movie Night and Virtual Discussion: A Soldier's Story
February 26, 7:00pm

Set in Louisiana during World War II, this film tells the story of a murdered Black Master Sergeant and the tough Army Captain sent to investigate the crime. Dealing with issues of race, prejudice, and segregation, this gripping drama is a must see for movie and history fans alike. Your mission is to watch the movie, which is available from most libraries or on streaming services, while thinking about the discussion questions we will provide you. On February 26th, at 7:00 pm we’ll all meet via Zoom for a discussion led by museum staff. We will cover themes such as conflict, politics, pop culture, the military, and movie-making. This event is hosted by the Wisconsin Veteran's Museum


Anwar Floyd-Pruitt at the Chazen Museum of Art
Now-March 1, By Appointment Only

Shake things up with a jolt of color and invention by walking through SUPERNOVA: Charlotte and Gene’s Radical Imagination Station, a temporary installation at the Chazen. The show is from Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, winner of the Russell and Paula Panczenko MFA Prize, and it is a multimedia explosion of joy at self-expression. SUPERNOVA is both autobiography and a celebration of imagination. Lucky visitors can leave with a gift bag containing the pattern to make their own baby astronaut motif. The Chazen is open Tuesday-Friday, noon-5 pm; visitors must sign up for a 45-minute appointment slot in advance via Eventbrite. It's a "ticket," but it's free. The exhibit is on display through March 1.


Madison Institutes for the Healing of Racism
Mondays, February 1 - April 5, 6:00-8:00pm - Virtual

This 10-week series aims to raise consciousness about the history and pathology of racism and help heal racism in individuals, communities, and institutions in Madison. We work cooperatively to educate ourselves about the disease of racism through facilitated and voluntary sharing. Please come with an open mind and open heart.


Wisconsin Historical Society: Black History
The Society is celebrating BIG moments in Wisconsin history, including the significant impact that African Americans have had on the history of the state. Learn about this impact through the articles, artifacts, and other important items below that help tell the story of African Americans in Wisconsin.


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