Black History Month: 10 local ways to participate


For 28 days, the United States comes together to celebrate and honor the contributions and achievements of Black Americans. There are many local and national ways to participate in Black History Month.

Black History Month was officially instituted in the United States in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.

1. Visit the Utah Black History Museum at the Orem Public Library

A poster hangs in the Orem Public Library advertising the Utah Black History Museum’s visit on Saturday, Feb. 4. The Utah Black History Museum first opened in 2021. (Sydni Merrill)

The Utah Black History Museum is a traveling museum that visited the Orem Public Library on Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The converted bus travels to communities all around Utah to educate and inform. The museum’s mission statement emphasizes its local approach.

According to their mission statement, “the Utah Black History Museum is committed to promote the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the Black experience in Utah through programming, exhibits and activities that teach local and national Black history and celebrate the culture of the African Diaspora in the United States.”

The family-friendly museum will be free and open to the public in the Orem Public Library parking lot. The bus is available on request for those interested in scheduling a visit to the museum.

2. Listen to Black Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint stories, shared by BYU faculty and staff on BYU campus

This BYU Legacy of Faith Event will contain messages from Lita Little Giddins and Whitney Johnson, according to the event’s description.

The event will take place Feb. 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Hinckley Center Assembly Hall. It is meant to “celebrate the faith, strength and steadfastness of Black Latter-day Saints baptized between 1830 and 1930, and the connection we all have to each other through the family of God,” based on the description.

3. View “Perspectives,” a free show celebrating richness and diversity of BYU’s Black community on BYU campus

BYU’s multicultural services is hosting “Perspectives,” a free event, on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Wilkinson Center Ballroom. According to the show’s description, “Perspectives” will include elements of music, dance, fashion, gospel music and poetry.

According to their description, “Perspectives consists of a show that celebrates and portrays the richness and diversity that exists among and within various black cultures in different forms.”

4. Attend “A Black History Month Celebration” weekend festival in Salt Lake City

The All-Star Bazaar, a showcase of Black owned business expo, a black art gallery and a pop-up Black History museum, will take place Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The All-Star Bazaar is a non profit organization located in Salt Lake City. The weekend coincides with the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend to provide more support for Utah’s Black community.

It also features food trucks, live music, a ferris wheel and ice skating rink.

5. Walk through the Utah Black Business Expo in Salt Lake City

The Utah Black Business Expo is “Utah’s largest event dedicated to Black small business excellence,” and will take place on Feb. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. It will feature more than 20 Black-owned businesses from a variety of industries.

The event is free and open to the public and offers opportunities to participate in networking, free children’s activities, cultural art games and movie screenings.

6. Attend the “African Cultural Celebration” at the Orem Public Library

A poster hung up in the Orem Public Library advertises the African Cultural Celebration on Monday, Feb. 27. The celebration is put on by a Utah organization helping families in Utah of African descent. (Sydni Merrill)

The African Cultural Celebration will be put on by the Ngoma y’Africa Cultural Center on Feb. 27 from 7-8 p.m. at the Orem Public Library’s Ashton Auditorium. The NACC was established in 2016 and provides learning opportunities about African culture and support for African decent families in Utah.

The event will celebrate African culture through various artistic mediums including musical performances, storytelling, dance and poetry.

7. Explore exhibits from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture online

This searchable museum offers history and culture “through an African American lens.” Within the exhibits, viewers can expect to find photography, interactive timelines, historical artifacts, videos and quotes from historical figures.

The museum currently hosts four exhibits, Slavery & Freedom, Making a Way Out of No Way, Spirit in the Dark and Millie Christine, with more coming soon.

8. Shop locally owned Black small businesses

A little more than 2.4% of all businesses are owned by Black business owners, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 20% of businesses are owned by minorities.

Shoppers can find Black-owned businesses through online directories such as Black Business Green Gook and Black Woman Owned. For Utah-specific Black-owned businesses, the Utah Black Lives Matter chapter lists Black-owned businesses by industry.

9. Participate in virtual celebrations with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History is offering online celebrations throughout the month of February.

Types of events include discussion and lectures on Black theology, music, land ownership, poetry and more. Published Black authors, including Ibram X. Kendi, will be holding virtual author’s talks. The association was established in 1915 and helped found Black History Month.

Events are free and open to the public. A complete list of virtual events can be found online.

10. Learn about Black stories, read educational material and find resources

As Black History Month begins, members of the community can use this time to come together in support.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela said in a speech given in 1990 at Madison Park High school in Boston, Massachusetts.

Those looking to read books published by Black authors can find a variety of lists and compilations online, including booklists created by the Black Caucus American Library Association.

Interested parties can visit the official Black History Month website or read through articles in the Journal of African American History.

Resources are also readily available from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

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