CONNECTICUT, USA — February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month, honored across the country and in Connecticut.
Below are events residents can take part in to understand Black history on a local level and its impacts in the United States, from films, concerts, plays, lectures, and events are held across the state.
This is not a complete list. To suggest an event to add, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Fairfield University Art Museum presents "Adger Cowans: Sense and Sensibility."
Adger Cowans (American, b. 1936) is a celebrated photographer whose wide-ranging work includes the civil rights movement, jazz musicians, landscape, and artistic studies of the human form, water, and light. He is also one of the founding members of Kamoinge, a Black photographers collective whose mission is to ‘Honor, document, preserve and represent the history and culture of the African Diaspora with integrity and respect for humanity through the lens of Black Photographers.’
The exhibit will run until June 18.
ArtWalk at the Hartford Public Library is holding an exhibit titled "The Adornment Series: Images of Empowerment" by Michelle Thomas. The exhibit will run until Feb. 19.
Hartford's own Michelle Thomas creates large scale works that use ceramic mask making techniques and found objects to create sculptural portrayals of people of African descent in the United States in order to connect these communities to deeper, more diverse, ancestral roots before slavery and combat imagery that denigrates the history of Black people in America. Thomas writes, "armed with an empowering narrative, the purpose of this body of work is to offer solutions to reverse psychological imprisonment with positive imagery."
A mask-making workshop will be held on Feb. 12 from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Also in Hartford, at the Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum, there is a free online event on Feb. 1 called "Buses Are a Comin': Conversation with Charles Person, an Original Freedom Rider."
Running to April 3 is an exhibit called "Changing Lanes: Mobility in Connecticut," aimed at demonstrating the barriers that African Americans faced in Connecticut.
The Hartford Stage will be presenting Pearl Cleage's "Angry, Raucous & Shamelessly Gorgeous," which tells the story of four African American women in their 20s, 40s, and 60s who offer their unique perspective on feminism, art, and activism.
You can learn more about the performance, which runs through Feb. 6, here.
The New Britain Museum of American Art has an ongoing collection titled "People and Places in America, the 1960s to Today"
Coming of age in the mid-1900s during the Civil Rights Movement, groundbreaking artists including Romare Beardon, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith create work that brings awareness to struggle in American life while also celebrating the rich diversity of their cultural heritage. Using collage, assemblage, and abstraction to fragment their compositions, these artists imbue their works–and the people and places depicted–with a sense of tension and transformation.
The exhibit runs until May 1.
The Arts Alliance of Stratford will present the "Through Our Eyes: A Celebration of Local Black Artists" held now to Feb. 18.
Playhouse on Park is presenting "Five Guys Named Moe," a Clarke Peters musical that pays homage to the songs of Louis Jordan. There are also talkbacks with the cast after Sunday matinees. The show runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 27.
The Funny Bone Comedy Club at the Buckland Hills Mall will present Marshall Brandon & Big Regg. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Crowds are 21 years or older. They previously had a performance on Feb. 2.
The Ridgefield Playhouse will show “Queen & Slim,” a film drama about racial profiling, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
QUEEN & SLIM is a thrilling modern drama about love, justice and righteous anger that follows a young couple on the run from the law after a first date gone terribly wrong. The film tracks the unwitting outlaws on their desperate escape through the country as they grow into folk heroes, reflections of the trauma and terror that surrounds and threatens them at every turn.
The "Lil Tecca: Tecca Loves You Tour" will perform at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford. The show begins at 8 p.m. and features Bktherula, Yvngxchris, and BabySantana.
The West Hartford Library will present a virtual screening of Short Films About Black-Owned Businesses. The event will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 pm.
The businesses include Studio Sole sneaker consignment shop, Harriet's Bookshop, and Mosaic on a Stick art space in Minnesota.
The Wood Memorial Library will present “Let it Shine: The American Civil Rights Movement,” a 45-minute historical production.
Let it Shine: The American Civil Rights Movement is a 45-minute professional production from North Carolina’s Bright Star Theatre. It is designed to provide an honest and accessible portrayal of the American struggle for Civil Rights. Key figures from the time period are brought to life and celebrated. The Freedom Riders, ‘Bombingham,’ the Montgomery bus boycott, and the March on Washington are just a few of the events that will unfold as you watch key figures from the time period brought to life and celebrated for their dedication to securing equal rights in America. This script is sure to provide a great launching pad for better understanding this challenging time in our nation.
From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Urban League of Greater Hartford will host its 2022 Annual Black History Month Celebration, “A Legacy Revealed – One Nation. One Assignment.” This virtual experience, streamed digitally on YouTube and Facebook, will showcase the achievements and contributions of African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino cultures in the Capital Region with an interactive virtual exhibit, inspiring entertainment, and the 2022 Legacy Honors awards ceremony to honor local residents.
The event is free and will be livestreamed on Social Media @ulgh64
Belonging: Finding your legacy African American genealogy in Connecticut
Adrienne Billings-Smith will discuss the journey researchers who are interested in discovering Black Heritage can follow using the many resources found at the Connecticut State Library.
Please register in advance for this Program at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the program.
This program will be posted to the Connecticut State Library’s Facebook Page, after the live event
The University of Hartford, as part of its 2022 Annual MLK Observance, will host a talk titled "Activism Through Action: Moving Beyond a Hashtag" over Zoom. The talk will feature activist Zyahna Bryant and be held from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
The Bijou Theater presents Funk Night, featuring LeMixx, What Up Funk, and Anthem.
Valerie Simpson and Damien Sneed will star in "A Tribute to Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul" at the Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts at UConn.
"Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," had a legendary career with countless hits. To pay homage to her, celebrate vocalist and keyboardist Damien Sneed and a veteran ensemble of jazz, gospel, and soul musicians and singers are joined by six-time Grammy nominated Pop/R&B singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson for A Tribute to Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul. Join us to honor Aretha with a joyous presentation of Franklin classics arranged and musically directed by Sneed, paying homage to the monarch herself with fresh renditions of her most cherished hits, including "How I Got Over," "Respect," "Say A Little Prayer," and others."
On Feb. 20 and 23, several theaters across the state will feature "Lady Sings the Blues," a 1972 biopic of Billie Holiday starring Diana Ross. The Feb. 20 show begins at 3 p.m.
The Colin Walters Quartet will have a performance at the Hartford Public Library from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the Baby Grand Jazz series.
As part of the University of Hartford's 2022 Annual MLK Observance event, the university will host a talk by Dr. Garrey Michael Dennie virtually titled "From Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela: The Global Vocabulary of Black Liberation."
The Connecticut History Society will host a visual presentation titled "Black History at the CHS."
"This program offers a virtual tour of items from our collection representing a spectrum of the Black experience in CT. You’ll learn about a Harlem Renaissance writer, Ann Petry, who carefully preserved artifacts chronicling the black community of Saybrook. Examine daguerreotypes by Augustus Washington, who abandoned a successful Hartford photography business to build a new nation in Africa. Browse through the photo album of a Hollywood actress who became a champion of labor rights for black entertainers. Marvel at the gorgeous costumes created by CT’s West Indian community for their annual MAS celebration, and see artifacts documenting the Civil Rights movement in our state."
The Mystic Seaport Museum will present "African Americans in Astronomy", a virtual seminar, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"Join us as Brian Koehler, Supervisor of the Mystic Seaport Museum’s Treworgy Planetarium, highlights the groundbreaking achievements by African Americans in the fields of Astronomy and space exploration. For hundreds of years, these pioneers have worked in the face of discriminatory laws and prejudicial treatment. However, their persistence led to remarkable accomplishments that have changed and shaped our understanding of the cosmos. This program will introduce and celebrate just some of these remarkable individuals. AARP CT is the proud sponsor of this virtual program."
The Connecticut Science Center will present a virtual Straight Talk titled "The African Ancestry Identity Experience" with Dr. Gina Paige. Paige is co-founder and president of African Ancestry, Inc.
Admission is pay-as-you-wish and the event begins at 6 p.m.
The Norwalk Historical Society and Historic Rowayton are partnering up to host "Beyond the Amistad," a virtual lecture.
The event begins at 7 p.m.
"In this program, Belanger will give a virtual tour of items from the Connecticut Historical Society’s collection representing a spectrum of the Black experience in CT. Learn about a Harlem Renaissance writer, Ann Petry, who carefully preserved artifacts chronicling the black community of Saybrook. Examine daguerreotypes by Augustus Washington, who abandoned a successful Hartford photography business to build a new nation in Africa. Browse through the photo album of a Hollywood actress who became a champion of labor rights for black entertainers. Marvel at the gorgeous costumes created by CT’s West Indian community for their annual MAS celebration, and see artifacts documenting the Civil Rights movement in Connecticut."
Suffield's Kent Memorial Library presents a virtual book talk with Christine Pride and Joe Piazza at 7 p.m.
Pride and Piazza are the authors of “We Are Not Like Them."
Register by emailing email@example.com or call 860-668-3896.
Beginning Feb. 24 and running until March 26, the Joseloff Gallery at the University of Hartford will exhibit illustrations by Floyd Cooper.
The CT Forum and Connecticut Humanities will present "The Fight for Racial Justice: Reckoning with and Dismantling Systemic Racism." The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
Panelists include writer-comedian-activist Baratunde Thurston, poet Cathy Park Hong and politician Julian Castro, moderated by Melissa Harris-Perry.
The Bijou Theater presents “Stax of Soul.”
"Celebrating the music of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Booker-T & The MGs and many more! With Featured guest, Lady Soul singing Aretha Franklin!
Featuring Powerhouse Vocalist Julius Dilligard Jr. (Crown Heights Affair) and SOS killer band complete with horn section, authentically captures the sound and power of this "feel good" genre of music which crosses the age barrier like no other, and makes you want to dance all night!"
Hartford-based Journey Writers will host a virtual reading of "I Put a Spell on You," a story of two young friends learning about the struggles and triumphs of iconic African Americans James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, and Nina Simone.
Garth Fagan Dance will perform at UConn's Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts beginning at 8 p.m.
"Garth Fagan has been one of the most iconic figures in contemporary American dance for decades - and his dance company isn't short of that excellence. With their dedication to nurturing and inspiring the next set of world's top dancers, Garth Fagan Dance pushes the boundaries to create an experience beloved by all."
The Funny Bone Comedy Club at the Buckland Hills Miall presents Project Herlarious featuring comic Eryca Nolan. The performance begins at 4 p.m.
The Palace Theater in Waterbury presents Life in Color Fashion Show beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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