Honor Black History Month With These Events, Books, Films, More Join an African American organization at NLU or learn other ways to expand awareness


By Cindy Danzell, MS, PEL, NCC

As our nation commemorates the 93rd Black History Month in February, we are reminded of the sacrifice, injustice and hardship many African Americans endured in the past and currently face. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASLAH), the founder of Black History Month, chose “The Great Migration” as the theme for Black History Month. Their website states, “ASALH’s 2019 theme Black Migrations emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, this theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today.”

National Louis University’s Student Experience department wants all students, staff and faculty to immerse themselves in learning about their culture and learning new cultures. This blog post lists events that are taking place all over Illinois during the month of February and books to read in hopes that we may help bridge the gap between interest and knowledge.

African American organizations available to  join at National Louis University

* Black Student Union

* Sigma Gamma Rho

* Alpha Phi Alpha

For more info, contact Cindy Danzell at cdanzell@nl.edu

Events during Black History Month

The Great Migration and the Building of Black Chicago

Saturday, Feb. 9, 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, Illinois.

This presentation will discuss how the Great Migration of African Americans from southern states to Chicago during World War I and World War II shaped the social, cultural, and political climate on Chicago’s South side. The event is co-sponsored by the Black Chicago History Forum.

The Nature of Black Wellness – The Outdoors and Black Health, Past and Present

Weds., February 13,  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Garfield Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago

African American naturalist Kim Ruffin presents an interactive talk about the pivotal role of nature in the lives of African-Americans past and present. Free,  RSVP’s encouraged.

Black History Month Celebration: Harold Washington – The Legacy

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, Room 2-2025

Join the Illinois Department of Human Rights in celebrating Black History Month with a presentation from Dr. Asif Wilson, Associate Dean of Instruction at Harold Washington College on the legacy of Mayor Harold Washington, Chicago’s first Black mayor. RSVP for this free event and find out more about “the People’s Mayor” and his fight for fairness and equality. Please feel free to bring your own lunch or snack to this event.

Second City’s Black History Month Show

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from Feb. 5-27, UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. $20-$30.

The Second City celebrates Black History Month by bringing you the most iconic sketches created by our African American alumni along with classic archive scenes with a new comedic spin.

This high-energy retrospective features material created by Steve Carell, Keegan-Michael Key, Tim Meadows, Stephen Colbert, Amber Ruffin, Sam Richardson and many more.

Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Saturday, Feb. 7, 9 am – 9 pm Walk-in testing all day to commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  At 1 p.m., a speaker from Gilead will discuss HIV/AIDS and how it affects members of the Black community.

Black History Concert

Sat., Feb. 23, 3 p.m.,  7000 S. Jeffrey Blvd., Chicago. The Englewood Neighborhood Choir performs a concert honoring Black history at Bryn Mawr Community Church. Free tickets are available at the information table an hour before the concert on a first come, first served basis.

Original New Opera by Renee Baker

Saturday, Feb. 16, 5:00 pm, Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago; $25, option to bundle with evening concert for $45 total.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s African American Network invites you to its 3rd annual Black History Month Celebration. Hear a new opera composed by Renée Baker entitled “The Baldwin Chronicles: Midnight Ramble.” The Baldwin Chronicles is a multimedia musical work based on texts by American novelist James Baldwin, including his poem “Conundrum” from Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems. Just as relevant now as he was in the mid-twentieth century, Baldwin’s writing painted a nuanced portrait of black life in America. After the opera, Baker and guests will lead a Q&A.

Book Signings

“Black Heroes of Fire, The History of the First African-American Fire Company In Chicago, Fire Engine Company 21” 

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm,  Quinn Chapel AME Church, 2401 S. Wabash, Chicago

Retired Fire Chief Dekalb Walcott Jr. will discuss his new book. 

Two Authors Discuss Criminal Justice, Children, Emmett Till 

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6:00 pm Author Talk, 7:00 Book Signing. Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St., Chicago. Free but RSVP. 

Authors Tera Eva Agyepong and Elliott Gorn explore the tangled history of black children and America’s criminal justice system. Their books are:

  • “The Criminalization of Black Children: Race, Gender, and Delinquency in Chicago’s Juvenile Justice System, 1899 –1945, by Tera Eva Agyepong
  • “Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till” by Elliott Gorn


The Great Migration: An American Story by Jacob Lawrence

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Negroland by Margo Jefferson

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr.

Movies/Documentaries/TV Shows:

Movies in Theaters

Academy Award®-nominated “Black Panther” returns to the big screen to celebrate Black History Month for a one-week engagement, February 1-7, at 250 participating AMC Theatres locations. 


Black Panther Party Ten Point Program Film Series at the Arts Bank by Rebuild Foundation

Sunday, Feb. 3,  2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

* 2:00PM Black Panthers (1968 27m)

* 2:30PM Bastards of the Party (2005 1h 35m)

Movies to Buy or Rent

* Step

* I Am Not Your Negro

* 13th

* The Color Purple

* Malcolm X

* Lean on Me

* Selma

* 12 Years a Slave

* 4 Little Girls

* King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis

* Moonlight

PBS and WTTW TV Shows

* Antiques Roadshow: Celebrating Black Americana Monday, February 4, 9:00 pm

* Independent Lens: Black Memorabilia Monday, February 4, 10:00 pm

* Finding Your Roots: Freedom Tuesday, February 5, 8:00 pm

* Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges Thursday, February 7, 8:00 pm

* One Night in March (Thursday, February 7, 9:30 pm)

* It is No Secret: The Life and Inspiration of Rev. Clay Evans( Friday, February 8, 10:30 pm/ Sunday, February 10, 4:00 pm)

* Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise (Sundays, February 10 and 17, 2:00 pm And 3:00 pm)

* Independent Lens: Hale County: This Morning, This Evening (Monday, February 11, 10:00 pm)

* DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis (Thursday, February 14, 8:00 pm)

* Shinemen (Thursday, February 14, 9:30 pm)

* Sammy Davis, Jr.: American Masters (Tuesday, February 19, 9:00 pm/Sunday, February 24, 2:00 pm)

* Reginald F. Lewis and the Making of a Billion Dollar Empire (Thursday, February 21, 9:30 pm Sunday, February 24, 4:00 pm)

* Charley Pride: American Masters (Friday, February 22, 9:00 pm)

* An Evening with Ken Chenault (Friday, February 22, 10:00 pm)

* John Lewis: Get in the Way (Sunday, February 24, 12:00 pm)

* Rising From the Rails: The Pullman Porters (Sunday, February 24, 1:00 pm)

* Roads to Memphis: American Experience (Tuesday, February 26, 9:00 pm)

* Maya Angelou: American Masters (Thursday, February 28, 8:00 pm)

And More…


We know there are many other books, events, awareness and movies, etc., going on in Illinois. So, let us know what you know in the comment section.