Since historian Carter G. Woodson initiated black history celebrations in the United States the second week of February back in 1926 that were expanded to the entire month beginning in 1970 and officially recognized by 1976, institutions have paid special tribute to African Americans in February with exhibits, concerts and speakers.
Among the places to go in Metropolitan Chicago are the Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago and the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. In Washington DC, the Newseum has an unusual MLK exhibit. Note that some events occur this weekend.
In the northern suburbs, the Greenbelt Cultural Center, a part of the Lake County Forest Preserves, recognizes the county’s African-American educations at its annual Profiles in Excellence program, Feb. 3, 3-5 p.m. The program, which includes singers, speakers and refreshments, is free. For more information visit Greenbelt and call 847-968-3477. The Greenbelt Cultural Center is at 1215 Green Bay Rd., North Chicago, IL 60064.
The DuSable Museum of African American History always has displays on history and individuals. Among its current exhibits is “Red, White, Blue & Black,” a display of more than 100 items pertaining to African Americans who served in the military. The exhibit is free with paid admission to the museum. For more information visit DuSable and call 773-947-0600. DuSable Museum of African American History is at 740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637.
In recognition of Black History Month, the Newseum, a Washington DC institution that has preserved historic news and presents up-to-date happenings, just opened the “Jailed In Birmingham” exhibit. It features a casting of the jail cell door where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was taken after leading nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Ala., April 1963. It also includes a 1963 pamphlet with his words: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere from his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
If in DC, Feb. 2, try to catch The Root DC Editor Chris Jenkins and video journalist Garrett Hubbard discuss King’s legacy at 2:30 p.m. in an “Inside Media” program at the Newseum. The programs are free with paid Newseum admission. For more information visit Newseum and call 888-639-7386. The Newseum is at 555 Pensylvania Ave., N.W, Washington DC 20001. Daily flights of about two hours go between Chicago's O'Hare Airport and Washington DC.