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Photo of women workers, East Calvary Ch. Dated to ~1922. Slide 31 out of 44.

Photo of women workers, East Calvary Ch. Dated to ~1922. Slide 31 out of 44.

Courtesy of the Newberry Library

Here are 8 great ways to celebrate Black History Month in Chicago

February is Black History Month. Explore the city all month long with food from Black-owned businesses, jazz concerts, exhibitions featuring Black artists and scientists, and more.

Get jazzy

For music-lovers, get a two-in-one by celebrating the day of love and Black History month with The South Side Jazz Coalition. On Valentine’s Day, the ensemble – piano, guitar, bass and drums with guest vocalists – will perform a free concert of jazz classics.

Feb. 14 at Compassion Baptist Church (2650 E.95th St., Chicago). Free. Register here.

Don’t stop the music

A nonstop dance party? Art, body painting, and a photography stage? Experience this and more at the Afrofuturism Stage: Chicago presented by Electro Afro Stage and Wakanda Music Festival. All night, DJs, producers, presenters and artists will perform.

Feb. 26 at The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W., Chicago). Tickets start at $25.

Time travel back into history

The Newberry Library in the Gold Coast has a new collection of rare, hand-colored images documenting the Great Migration, when African American communities relocated from the South to the urban North. The collection is the most complete set to survive, with 44 glass slides that capture the daily life of Black migrants. The images – many of which have never been published before – were used by the Methodist Episcopal Church to raise funds and inform people interested in moving to Chicago.

Available to view online or at the Newberry Library (60 W. Walton St., Chicago).

A dress making class at St. Mark's Church in Chicago from 1922.

A dress making class at St. Mark’s Church in Chicago from 1922.

Courtesy of the Newberry Library

Explore new technologies

The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center is offering a groundbreaking, immersive virtual reality exhibit that allows visitors to attend and witness the 1963 March on Washington. The exhibit first opened in 2020 and was created by TIME in collaboration with Viola Davis.

Through February at the DuSable Black History Museum (740 E. 56th Pl., Chicago). Tickets free for Illinois residents. Exhibition free with museum admission.

Melt the icy Chicago winter with Black joy

At Second City, the Dance Like There Are Black People Watching: A Black Excellence Revue show features a cast of rising comedy stars, brand-new sketches, songs and improv.

Fridays and Saturdays through February at The Second City (230 W. North Ave., Chicago). Tickets start at $29.

See the work of Black artists from around the country

The Museum of Science and Industry opened its 2023 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. Engage with rich contemporary art such as paintings, art prints, sculpture, ceramics and photography by more than 50 Black artists – including youth artists from 14 to 17 years old. Displayed annually since 1970, it is the longest-running exhibition of African American Art.

Through Apr. 23 at the Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago). Tickets start at $21.95; discounts for residents, children and EBT card holders. 

The Muntu Dance Theatre will perform at Field Museum on Feb. 20 as part of a celebration highlighting the Field Museum's Africa Hall.

The Muntu Dance Theatre will perform at Field Museum on Feb. 20 as part of a celebration highlighting the Field Museum’s Africa Hall.

Courtesy of the Field Museum

Learn about Black scientists, artists, and icons

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Field Museum’s Africa Hall opening, and the celebration includes several events throughout February – all on free days. And, if you can’t make it in-person, the events are also being streamed remotely via Zoom and Facebook Live. The month is packed, with panels about being Black in STEM on Feb. 8 and Feb. 15; meetings with a museum insider to learn about the West African sande/bundu mask on Feb. 14; and the Muntu Dance Theatre performance on Feb 20.

Through Feb. 28 at the Field Museum (1400 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr., Chicago). To see all the events and register, click here.

Feed your soul

Chicago Restaurant Week may be over but the Chicago Black Restaurant Week is just starting. Twenty-four restaurants are participating, featuring Southern classics, baked goods, and even vegan options.

The two-week dining event runs Feb. 12 to 26.

Adora Namigadde, a metro reporter for WBEZ, contributed to this story. Follow her at @adorakn.

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