Chicago Black History Month Events 2023

February is Black History Month. Explore the city throughout the month with food from Black-owned businesses, jazz concerts, exhibits featuring Black artists and scientists, and more.

get jazzy

For music lovers, get a two-in-one celebrating Valentine’s Day and Black History Month with The South Side Jazz Coalition. On Valentine’s Day, the ensemble (piano, guitar, bass and drums with guest vocalists) will perform a free concert of jazz classics.

February 14 at Compassion Baptist Church (2650 E.95th St., Chicago). Free. register here.

do not stop the Music

A non-stop dance party? Art, body painting and a photography scenario? Experience this and more at the Afrofuturism Stage: Chicago presented by Electro Afro Stage and Wakanda Music Festival. DJs, producers, presenters and artists will perform throughout the night.

February 26 at The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W., Chicago). Tickets starts at $25.

Travel back in time to history

The Newberry Library on the Gold Coast has a new exhibit of rare hand-colored images documenting the Great Migration, when African-American communities moved from the South to the urban North. The collection is the most comprehensive set to survive, with 44 glass slides capturing the daily lives of black migrants. The images, many of which have never been published before, were used by the Methodist Episcopal Church to raise funds and inform people interested in moving to Chicago.

available to view online or at the Newberry Library (60 W. Walton St., Chicago).

A dressmaking class at St. Mark's Church in Chicago from 1922.
A dressmaking class at St. Mark’s Church in Chicago from 1922. Courtesy of the Newberry Library

Explore new technologies

The DuSable African American History Museum and Education Center offers an innovative immersive virtual reality exhibit that allows visitors to attend and witness the 1963 March on Washington. The exhibit first opened in 2020 and was created by TIME in collaboration with Viola Davis.

Through February at the DuSable Black History Museum (740 E. 56th Pl., chicago). Tickets Free for Illinois residents. Free exhibition with museum admission.

Melt away the freezing Chicago winter with black joy

In Second City, the Dance like black people are watching: A Magazine of Black Excellence The show features a cast of rising comedy stars, new sketches, songs, and improv.

Fridays and Saturdays through February at The Second City (230 W. North Ave., Chicago). Tickets starts at $29.

See the work of black artists from across the country.

The Museum of Science and Industry opened its 2023 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. Engage with rich contemporary art including paintings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, and photography by more than 50 Black artists, including young artists ages 14-17. Shown annually since 1970, it is the oldest exhibition of African-American art.

Through April 23 at the Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago). Ticketsstarting at $21.95; discounts for residents, children and EBT card holders.

The Muntu Dance Theater will perform at the Field Museum on February 20 as part of a celebration highlighting the Field Museum's Africa Hall.
The Muntu Dance Theater will perform at the Field Museum on February 20 as part of a celebration highlighting the Field Museum’s Africa Hall. Courtesy of the Field Museum

Learn about black scientists, artists and icons

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Field Museum’s Africa Hall, and the celebration includes several events throughout February, all on days off. And, if you can’t make it in person, events are also broadcast remotely via Zoom and Facebook Live. The month is full, with panels on being black in STEM on February 8 and 15; meetings with a museum member to learn about the West African sande/bundu mask on February 14; and the performance of the Muntu Dance Theater on February 20.

Through February 28 at the Field Museum (1400 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr., Chicago). To view all events and register, click here.

feed your soul

Chicago Restaurant Week may be over, but the Chicago Black Restaurant Week it’s just beginning. Twenty-four restaurants participate, offering Southern classics, baked goods, and even vegan options.

The two-week gastronomic event will take place from February 12 to 26.

WBEZ Metropolitan Reporter Adora Namigadde contributed to this story. Follow her on @adorakn.