6 Places in Michigan to Celebrate Black History Month

Did you know that Detroit was one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad because of its proximity to Canada? That’s just one of the many ways in which Michigan’s past is deeply connected to African American history. And with Black History Month underway, there are plenty of ways for you and your family to learn about the influential figures, rich culture and milestone events that helped shape our state and country’s history. Here are some of the must-see events happening throughout February:

  • Black History Month at the Detroit Institute of Art: Through the month of February, explore the DIA’s African art collection and enjoy drop-in workshops (celebration masks every Friday), film screenings and guided tours fit for the whole family. Admission is free for residents of Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties.
  • Celebrate Black History at The Henry Ford Museum: The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn celebrates all aspects of black history and culture. Visit for views of historical items and documents from the civil rights movement as well as the bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Admission is free for museum members. General admission tickets can be purchased here.
  • Secrets of the Underground Railroad in Southern Michigan at the Nankin Mills Interpretive Center: On Saturday, February 11, from 1 – 2:30 p.m., head to the Nankin Mills Interpretive Center to learn about the important role of Southern Michigan in the Underground Railroad. Michigan became a significant stop for slaves on their way to freedom in Canada with more than a dozen Underground Railroad stops in Southeast Michigan alone. Admission is $3. Visitors can reserve their spot by calling the park office at 734-261-1990 at least 72 hours in advance.
  • African America History Day at the Detroit Historical Museum: Bring your family to the Detroit Historical Museum for African American History Day on Saturday, February 25, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Learn the history of the Underground Railroad through a “story living” presentation in which attendees learn about historical events by acting them out. There’s also going to be a youth show featuring songs, dance, poetry and crafts. The best part? Admission is free!
  • Black History Month Blues Series: The Monroe County Library System hosts its 30th annual Black History Month Blues Series this year. Throughout the month, free concerts will be offered at various branch locations around Monroe County. Performers include Davy Knowles, JW-Jones and Jason Ringenberg. The full schedule of events can be found here.
  • Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives: This Western Michigan museum has events throughout the month, including a photography exhibit of Muhammad Ali, a genealogy class to help you trace your family’s roots and an oral history project where local residents share stories from the past. See the line-up here.

Photo Credit: Steffen Weiss

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