Black History Month 2021

February 10, 2021

Here's a look at ways you can partake in honoring the month without leaving your home:

Participate in online events

Throughout the month of February, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is launching virtual events and conversations that affirm and preserve the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history. Events are free and open to all -- but registration is required.

A variety of events are planned to celebrate Black History Month throughout February at Iowa State University and in Ames.  Events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise indicated. Event sponsors are listed in parentheses. Check back often as this schedule is updated throughout the month.

Celebrate Black History Month this February and every month with the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden! Enjoy virtual and on-site opportunities to learn more about Black History in horticulture, gardening and the environment.

Celebrate through song

In honor of Black History Month, the Chicago Children's Choir will host its annual Black History Month Concert—virtually. The choir showcases the talents of young people from every zip code in Chicago. The livestream will include preproduced performances and at-home footage of the young choir stars filming themselves. The national event is free and will livestream on the choir's Facebook and YouTube pages in addition to their website on February 25th at 7pm CST (8 pm EST).

Take virtual field trips

With many museums closed due to Covid, Black History museums across the US are unable to welcome guests or program as in years past, pushing many galleries to go digital. Without having to stand in line or scramble for tickets, Black art connoisseurs can visit galleries from home. Using 360 street view technology, Google Arts and Culture allows for gallery goers to take a virtual field trip and enjoy online experiences through more than 80 partner institutions. Among the featured exhibits are the Civil Rights Movement ExhibitFredrick Douglass—from Slavery to Freedom: The Journey to New York, and Kansas City Jazz. Google Arts and Culture also offers African American Art from the Hewitt Collection.

Invest in Black businesses

As economic ripple effects from the pandemic persist, Black History Month this year presents a timely opportunity to respond to the economic disparities experienced by African American businesses.  This month, and all year long, check out the links below to find Black-owned businesses in Greater Des Moines and around Iowa. Shop local at local businesses for artists, financial services companies, barbers and stylists and more.

Check out Black History Resources

The Iowa Department of Education has outlined the following resources to help observe Black History Month in Iowa:

African American Museum of Iowa

Iowa Department of Human Rights

African American History Month

Iowa PBS

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Also in Iowa, with limited hours, visit the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to see the newest exhibit, Unwavering: 21st Century Activism or visit the George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa to take a virtual tour of the space.