Seattle Celebrates Black History Month

A guide to events happening throughout the city in February

By Seattle Mag February 1, 2023

Act Theater: History of Theatre group shot-cropped
ACT Theatre's cast of History of Theatre: About, By, For, and Near. Photo by Robert Wade

From the Northwest African American Museum to the Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle residents have an abundance of opportunities to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in February during Black History Month. The annual celebration began in the United States in 1976. Countries around the world also celebrate the month.

Here’s a guide to events happening around the city, courtesy of Visit Seattle, the private, nonprofit organization that markets the city as a tourist destination.

Northwest African American Museum: Multiple events are on tap, including interactive story time, research and writing workshops, art exhibits and a keynote address Feb. 16 from Dr. Damion Thomas of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Naamnw.org

Call to Conscience Black History Month Museum: Rainier Avenue Radio converts Columbia City Theater into the “Call to Conscience Black History Month Museum.” Exhibits and participating organizations include the Black Heritage Society of Washington, Tacoma’s Buffalo Soldier Museum and BlackPast.org. Calltoconscience.world

History of Theatre: Seattle actor, playwright, and A Contemporary Theatre (core company member Reginald André Jackson’s World Premiere production “History of Theatre,” which highlights 200 years of African American theatre. History of Theatre and associated events run Feb. 2-12. Acttheatre.org

Photo by Robert Wade

Henry Exhibition from Nina Chanel Abney: Henry Art Gallery features an exhibition of Nina Chanel Abney’s work, Fishing Was His Life. The work includes paintings, prints and large-scale murals with themes of politics, race, sexuality, and celebrity. Through March 5. Henryart.org

Nina Chanel Abney, Installation view of Nina Chanel Abney: Fishing Was His Life, 2022, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Photo: Jueqian Fang.

Town Hall Seattle Discussion: University of Washington – Bothell Professor Dan Berger will speak Feb. 1 about his new book, Freedom: The Long History of Black Power through One Family’s Journey. It examines the story of two unheralded, grassroots Black Power activists who dedicated their lives to the fight for freedom. Townhallseattle.org

Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI): From Feb. 4 through April 30, MOHAI presents From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Designers. The exhibit focuses on the influence of Black architects throughout history. Mohai.org

Museum of Pop Culture: The Contact High exhibition explores four decades of photography from the late 1970s to today, documenting music, politics, race relations, fashion and culture. It features more than 170 iconic images of hip-hop artists including Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Queen Latifah, Tupac and more. Mopop.org

Seattle Center Armory: The display A Seattle History Worth Preserving: Buffalo Soldiers Exhibit, focuses on the contributions of Black soldiers serving in the United States military. The focus is on soldiers stationed at Fort Lawton, now contained within Seattle’s own Discovery Park. Seattlecenter.com/explore/attractions/armory

Black-owned businesses: Here is a quick list of some prominent Black-owned businesses:

Communion – Restaurant.

Métier Brewing Company – Brewery.

Fat’s Chicken and Waffles – Restaurant.

Noir Lux Candle Bar – Hand-crafted candles.

Plum Bistro – Vegan restaurant.

Arte Noir – Nonprofit Black arts and culture retail shop.

Jerk Shack – Restaurant.

Where Ya At Matt – Food truck.

Shikorina Pastries – Bakery.

QueenCare – Self-care products.

Boon Boona – Coffee products and coffee shop.

Additional resources include:

Black Business Directory: The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle’s directory showcases more than 90 local businesses.

The Intentionalist: Explore Black-owned businesses by neighborhood.

Wa Na Wari: The immersive community art project reclaims Black cultural space and discusses the importance of Black land ownership in gentrified communities.

LANGSTONThe Black arts and culture hub centers around Black art, artists, and audiences while honoring the ongoing legacy of Seattle’s Black Central Area.

Visit Seattle’s African American Cultural Heritage Guide: Learn about the history of African American heritage in Washington.

More businesses can be found through Visit Seattle’s I Know a Place, a video series featuring Seattleites who tell stories of the city and their favorite spots. Vignettes include Seattle-based stage actor Nicholas Japaul Bernard showing his friend around the city; Seattle musician Sassy Black sharing local favorites with her friend, artist Tyrell Shaw; and Seattle Kraken announcer Everett “Fitz” Fitzhugh, the NHL’s first Black full-time play-by-play announcer, showing his family around his favorite Seattle places.

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