It’s Black History Month and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is celebrating all month long.
Charles H. Wright was a Detroit-based Black physician and founded the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in 1965. This year, they’ll be celebrating the achievements African Americans made in American history throughout the years with virtual and in-person panels and screenings discussing history, politics, art, and identity. Here are all of the ways you can celebrate Black History Month with the Wright Museum as they explore Black excellence for the entire month of February.
1. Check out virtual exhibits with the Mobile Gallery Guide
The Wright Museum just launched their first ever Mobile Gallery Guide on February 1st! This app lets you digitally access all the exhibits currently in the museum, as well as artifacts from the Museum’s collection. They also have a web version which you can access here. They have a few featured exhibits right now, such as Art of Samuel A. Hodge and Voting Matters: African Americans and the Vote, and many more. Each exhibit comes with a rich image gallery or an audio-only overview. They also have annotations for each of their featured artifacts.
2. Listen to a speaker on “Wednesday Night Virtual Storytelling Series”
sourced via thewright.org
The Wright Museum is hosting their “Virtual Storytelling Series” every Wednesday night at 6 p.m., and the first one is on the third. Different members of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers will tell personal and historical narratives with different themes for youth and families. The first speaker is Mary Grant, who is a writer of children’s stories aimed at black youth, and was once the president of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers. Check out this page for more information as it gets updated throughout the month.
3. Watch a film during the “Excellence in Black Cinema Series”
facebook / charleshwrightmuseum
Every Thursday, there will be in-person screenings at the Wright Museum dedicated to celebrating Black voices in cinema, in front of and behind the camera. These screenings are free, and each film will run at 3 specific times: 9:30a.m., 12 noon, and 2p.m., with 3 different films. Stay for all 3 or choose which one you’d like to attend. You can find out which movies they’ll be screening on their information page. Each week will also center around a certain genre of film. Week 1 is documentaries, week 2 is foreign films, week 3 is films based on a true story, and week 4 is all about sci-fi and fantasy.
4. Listen to kids speak on important topics during the Youth Speak Virtual Stage
Fridays are all about giving a voice to Black youth ages 8-18, and exploring their feelings about history, justice, equality, and Afrofuturism. Each week, speakers will be chosen based on submissions they send in. Kids will be able to express themselves through a variety of different mediums like songs, poetry, or monologues, but the museum encourages kids to explore other visual forms as well. Keep an eye on the page for details to come throughout the month.
5. Make your own comix during the Wright Museum’s Comix workshop
This year, the Wright Museum is featuring a “Make Your Own Comix Workshop” hosted by Generate Comix, all held virtually. Zoom sessions will be 90 minutes each and will take place over five different sessions. Registration is $1, and participants will learn how to produce comix as well as learn all about comic book history. Check out their information page for how to sign up.
6. Check out a feature-length documentary
Sunday, February 7th, the museum will be screening “The Blackness Project: Identity and the African American Community,” a 2018 documentary by award winning director, Korey Green. The documentary looks into the lives of Black community members of Buffalo NY and gets their perspective on race. Updates will be available here as the month goes on.
7. Get a sneak peek of another documentary, “Mr. Soul”
“Mr. Soul” is a documentary exploring the changing political landscape behind the variety series, “Soul!” which premiered in the 60s and 70s, and was a huge impact on Black culture. “Mr. Soul” focuses on the five seasons of the show with a mix of archival footage and interviews with contemporary interviews with guests and performers. This event premieres February 16th from 6 to 7 p.m.
8. Watch this virtual discussion on the Harlem Renaissance
Wright is hosting a conversation panel titled, “In Vogue: The Harlem Renaissance” which is all about the Harlem period from the 1920s-30s. During this period, African Americans were moving from the South to the North’s “Black Mecca” in Harlem, New York, where they were trying to reinvent themselves past stereotypes placed upon them. The 20s and 30s saw a fashion, art, and music revolution within the Black community, and this panel will celebrate that. Fashion designer and illustrator, Shawna McGee and artist, producer, and Black Americana collector, Leonard Davis, will be a part of the discussion which takes place Tuesday, February 23d, from 2p.m. to 3p.m.. Check the page out for more info.
9. Listen to a panel, “Crown: A Look At Black Hair”
The CROWN Act is an initiative that has spread across different states since mid-2019 against the discrimination of natural hair. Michigan is one state that is working towards banning discrimination against natural hair textures. This virtual panel discusses the CROWN Act, and takes place Sunday, February 28th at 1p.m. to 3p.m. Find out more here.