Celebrate Black History Month Around Illinois

Illinois Humanities

Read Time 3 minutes
February 1, 2023

Illinois Humanities celebrates Black history, Black resistance, and Black futures this month – and every month! We are pleased to share Black History Month events and activities across the state hosted by our partners, peers, Road Scholars, and more. Know of other events happening around the state? Send them to us at info@ilhumanities.org or tag us on social media @ILHumanities.

Unity Temple Restoration Foundation Dance Performance 
February 17 | 7:30 p.m. | Oak Park

Unity Temple Restoration Foundation is proud to present South Chicago Dance Theatre in the Unity Performing Art Series at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill. South Chicago Dance Theatre’s seven core programs utilize dance to reframe trauma narratives through creative storytelling and replace dominant cultural narratives with community narratives. The performance takes place on February 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 – $40. Limited student seating is available for $10.


South chicago dance theatre web

Hidden Messages in Negro Spirituals on the Underground Railroad 
February 20 | 2:00 p.m. | Elburn

Connie Martin, an Illinois Humanities Road Scholar, will help audiences explore the powerful, sacred songs that derived from the heart of the antebellum enslaved African and capture melodic outflowing of religious expression, passion, and the hope to be free. Join Connie as she explains the connections of Plantation songs, or Negro Spirituals with meanings and interpretations of lyrics of some songs used in regions of the South that signaled signs and tips that aided enslaved fugitives to find freedom. The free event will take place at 2:00 p.m. at Town and Country Public Library District (320 E North St, Elburn). For more information, please contact Megan Shumaker at mshumaker@tcpld.org.


History on Wheels Black History Month Event 
February 26 | 4:00 p.m. | Joliet

History on Wheels, an Illinois Humanities grantee partner, is hosting a celebration of the contributions made by African Americans through U.S. military service on February 26 from 12:00-5:00 p.m. at Level Up Event Venue (3135 W Jefferson St., Joliet). The event will feature a free screening of the documentary “For Love of Liberty” and attendees are welcome to bring care package items (protein snacks, individual drink mixes, crossword books) that will be donated to troops through Project Liberty. For questions, please call 773-968-9072.

More Than a Color: The Marginalization of African Beauty Through History Road Scholars Event
February 26 | 4:00 p.m. | Naperville | Register

Join Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Karen Anderson to learn about women of color in history who refused to view themselves through social limitation. Like all Road Scholars events, Karen’s presentation is free and open to the public. Get a sneak preview by watching to Karen’s interview with CBS.


Ethnic Heritage Museum Black Baseball Players Exhibit 
February – April | Rockford

Grantee partner the Ethnic Heritage Museum in Rockford is presenting a Black Baseball Players Exhibit examining the contributions of African-American players from the Negro Baseball league to present. The exhibit also features the Cubs, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Robert “Smoki” Whitfield, a graduate of Rockford Central High. The exhibit runs from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. every Sunday from February 5 to April 30. Admission is $5.00 for children, $7.00 for adults, and $15.00 for a family. Special tours are available upon request for parties of 10 or more.