Black History Month activities around Charlotte

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I look forward to celebrating Black History Month with my children. It is a time when we can attend cultural events and participate in activities that highlight the rich significance of African and African American contributions in the United States.

Most people may not know Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926. African American historian and scholar Carter G. Woodson created the concept to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, the week became a month-long celebration that we still honor today.

Black History Month isn’t just for African Americans. The celebrations can be fun and informative for all ages and backgrounds. Check out some of the events for children and adults happening in and around the Charlotte area.

February 18th

Harvey B. Gantt Center: Gantt After Dark

6:00-10:00 pm

An evening of art, poetry, food, wine and song. Listen to amazing music played by Harvey Cummings II Project featuring J. Vito of the Hamiltones, hear inspirational spoken word performed by artist, Mason "Quill" Parker, and enter a raffle for a chance to win handcrafted treasures. $10 for non-members, free for members.

Paint and sip wine with Cathay Dawkins. For an additional $25 ($20 for members), enjoy an evening of relaxation, wine-tasting and guided painting. All art supplies and a complimentary glass of wine (or non-alcoholic beverage) are included.

February 18th

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: South County Regional

6:30-7:45 pm

Shaping the Tar Heel Sound: Michael Scoggins, Historian, Culture & Heritage Museums will discuss African American folk music in the Carolina Piedmont from the late 18th century to the early 20th century and explore its roots in both African and European folk music traditions. This event is Free. Sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

February 18th

Sharon Presbyterian Church

7:30-8:30 pm

This Opera Carolina collaboration focuses on African-American influences, featuring regional artists performing classical and spiritual music, enhanced by the creative talents of regional painters and poets. $18 General admission; Age 16 & under Free

February 19th

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: South County Regional

3:30-4:45 pm

Shaping the Tar Heel Sound: Dr. Bill Lawing, J. Estes Millner Professor of Music, Davidson College will explore how African Americans helped shape the distinct sound of Appalachian North Carolina’s folk music. This event is free. Sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

February 20th

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: West Boulevard Branch

1:00-2:30 pm

Shaping the Tar Heel Sound: Billy Stevens, North Carolina Humanities Council Road Scholar, will demonstrate how historic interactions between African Americans and European Americans shaped the evolution of American popular music. With its roots in slavery and the fusion of musical traditions brought from both Africa and Europe, American music is a natural outgrowth of the unique culture of the American South. This event is free. This project is made possible by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

February 20th

Harvey B. Gantt Center: Shae Movement

12:00- 1:30 pm

Experience a traditional West African dance class with the live drumming. Fula Faré or Yoleli is a dance form originated by the Fulani people of West Africa. It is performed at celebrations and initiations. This event is free with museum admission; RSVP required.

Want more ideas on celebrating Black History Month? Check out our Pinterest page.

Lylah Holmes-Daniel is a former television news producer who now resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two energetic children. Lylah spent more than a decade covering national and international news for ABC News, CNN International, Associated Press and MSNBC. Lylah is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Howard University.