Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Downtown Indy Celebrates Black History Month

February 01, 2013

For more than 30 years, February has been recognized nationally as a time to remember and celebrate important figures and events in African-American history. This month, or more specifically the second week of the month, was originally selected to commemorate the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Although these two dates remain important parts of the celebration, the entire month of February has grown to become a unique, significant opportunity not only to celebrate African-American history, but also to educate to our younger generations as to why we celebrate.

Central Indiana families will have some outstanding opportunities to take part in special Black History Month events downtown. Concerts, kids’ events and special exhibits are all on the calendar throughout February, and many are FREE to enjoy!

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis hosts three special educational events you won’t want to miss. Madame Walker Presents has three showings at the Lilly Theater: Feb. 7 at 6 p.m., Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. This dynamic theatric performance tells the unique, inspirational stories of Madame C.J. Walker and Levi Coffin, taking visitors on a unique educational journey through Hoosier African-American history. Ruby Bridges in the Power of Children Exhibit, open throughout the month, walks kids through the day-to-day experience of Ruby, who was one of the first children to attend a desegregated school in the 1960s. Finally, don’t miss the special Target Family Free Night Feb. 7 from 4 – 8 p.m. for a special Black History Month celebration highlighting African-American achievements in history, science, art and music.

You have a few ways to celebrate one of our favorite Hoosiers, Abe Lincoln, at the Indiana State Museum. From 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Feb. 9, mark Honest Abe’s 204th birthday at Happy Birthday Abe! with fun activities related to the time period, and you may even get a chance to meet the former president! And, if you can’t make the celebration, you’ll at least get to experience The Lincolns: Five Generations of an American Family, a new exhibit that kicks off that day with the birthday celebration. Also Feb. 9, the FREE annual Sankofa Black Heritage Festival brings live music and dance, games, arts activities, exhibits and films to the museum from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Kick off Black History Month with a FREE event Feb. 1 at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. At the Art & Soul Kick-off Celebration from noon – 1:30 p.m., you’ll have a chance to meet 2013 Art & Soul artists like Cynthia Layne, Blair Clark, Rusty Redenbacher and more. Ms. Layne will give a performance and special guest Amos Brown of Radio One will be in attendance. Plus, enjoy some light refreshments!

Finally, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will host a FREE Black History Month concert on Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Hilbert Circle Theatre.

Also, your kids can put their knowledge of black Hoosier athletes to the test with the Indiana Historical Society’s Indiana Black History Challenge through Feb. 28. Boost your knowledge with a sports-themed study guide before taking an online, ten question quiz. Kids who answer all ten questions correctly will be entered to win a Family Fun Pack provided by Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. that includes an overnight stay at the J.W. Marriott, $50 to The Capital Grille, lower-level seats to a Pacers game, four passes to both the Indiana State Museum and The Children’s Museum, membership to the Indiana Historical Society and more! Complete information is at www.indianahistory.org/challenge

Make this year’s Black History Month especially meaningful by taking part in one or more of these outstanding offerings. For more information on these or other events taking place downtown, please visit Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.’s website at www.indydt.com.