In a city as culturally diverse as Indianapolis, every month is (or at least should be) Black History Month. That being said, February is the only time that this awe-inspiring history can be experienced in such a wide variety of ways. The black experience is ingrained into the heart and soul of Indy, and without recognizing and honoring that history, we’d be doing a great disservice to all that call this city home. We are so proud of our black leaders past and present, and strive to always remember the struggles that our fellow Hoosiers endured, and continue to endure, on the path to equality that seems far, far too long.

It’s been a hard year. We all know. From Ferguson to New York City, time and time again we were shown that the America we know and love isn’t the post-racial society so many of us so desperately want it to be. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it here in Indy. We’re going to celebrate our differences and our similarities and all are invited to join in the festivities. All month long there will be events happening Downtown, many of which are FREE.


A Celebration of African-American Art & Artists in Indiana
Art & Soul, Downtown Indy’s celebration of local African-American arts and artists, returns to the Indianapolis Artsgarden this winter with performances from musicians, dancers, poets and visual artists. Performances begin Jan. 31 with the Art & Soul Kickoff and conclude March 1 with a ceremony featuring City-County Council president Maggie Lewis. This year’s special guests include Mathew Davis, Zakk Knight, Kassim Norris, Ronne Stone and many more. All Art & Soul events are FREE.


Meet the Artists at Central Library
Through March 28, the Central Library hosts Meet the Artists XXVII, displaying the works of locally-prominent African-American artists in a wide array of mediums. Art lovers are encouraged to meet the artists and enjoy an evening of free cultural entertainment – including African drumming gospel music, a fashion show and workshops – during the Meet the Artists Gala Reception Feb. 14 from 5 – 10 p.m.


The Children’s Museum celebrates Madame Walker
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will host a Black History Month Performance Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. Vignettes will feature a performance of Madam C.J. Walker and others who played a significant part in American history. Stay for a post-performance discussion with the actors.


Sankofa Black Heritage Festival
The Indiana State Museum will kick off its annual Sankofa Black Heritage Festival Feb. 7 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The festival showcases art, history and culture from West African and Hoosier African-American perspectives. Performance-based arts closely align with Black History Month themes that explore the African-American experience, both past and present.


A Night with the ISO
Enjoy a FREE Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performance at Hilbert Circle Theatre Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. for the annual Celebration of Black History Concert. Join guest conductor Chelsea Tipton II along with the Voice of the Light Choir for an evening of classical and contemporary African-American music. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.


Throwback Thursday Cinema
The Madame Walker Theater continues the Throwback Thursday Cinema series of thought provoking documentaries and films with The Black List on Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. Renowned photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders sheds light on what it means to be black in America by talking to prominent African-American pop-culture icons, including Chris Rock, Colin Powell, Serena Williams, Sean Combs and others. Tickets are $5.

Music and dancing at the Madame Walker Theatre
Hear from the Freetown Village Singers during a unique Black History Month event at the Madame Walker Theatre Center on Feb. 28. A buffet dinner begins at 5 p.m. followed by a music performance of African folk, gospel, blues, jazz, pop and more. Celebrate with Freetown Village all month long for The Madam Walker Story on Feb. 4, 11, 18 & 25 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Madame Walker Heritage Center.

Blog by Dan Satterthwaite, Communications Intern