Make space to embrace Black history this month

Black History Month is not simply asking, “How can I remember and learn about Black people?” It is all of us asking, “How can we love Black people by seeing them, hearing them, relishing in them and creating a world where Black people feel loved, inspired and protected?”

— writer Danté Stewart

February is National Black History Month, an occasion to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans to the evolution of our nation across all areas of society.

Locally, stop by the Hinsdale Public Library’s Youth Services Department and check out the I Spy case to see how many of the notable Black leaders you can identify, and learn about those whose important achievements may be less well-known.

The photo exhibit “African Americans and the Arts” runs through March 15 in College of DuPage’s Student Resources Center. 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, featuring images and captions from past to present day stories, struggles and accomplishments that focus on African Americans and their contribution to the arts in American culture. Visit for details.

Black leaders in education, sports, civil rights and the arts who have significantly impacted DuPage County are highlighted in the “Black Trailblazers” exhibit through February at the DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St. in Wheaton. Visitors will learn about how these individuals, such as Ida B. Wells and Thurgood Marshall, overcame challenges to break down barriers, effect change and make history. Visit for more information.

The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. invites families to explore the history and contributions of Black Chicagoans to the city’s vibrant arts scene with a full slate of hands-on, family friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from this Saturday, Feb. 24. Programming includes a Chicago’s Black History Heroes Scavenger Hunt from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., an inspirational African American arts storytime and art making from 10:30 to 10:50 a.m. or noon to 12:20 p.m., and a printmaking session to learn about some of Chicago’s African American printmakers from 11 to 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 to 1 p.m. Visit for tickets or more information.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., is commemorating the month with wide-reaching programs that elevate the theme of “African Americans and the Arts,” using art as a platform for social justice. The museum’s Black History Month online resources are available to explore and include a dedicated Black History Month webpage at

In a statement, Andrew W. Mellon Director Kevin Young said the museum, while celebrating Black history year round, relishes the chance to raise people’s awareness of art as “a platform for understanding history, struggle, social justice and triumph,” he said.

“In doing that, we will put the spotlight on paintings, sculpture, photographs and fiber works that were made to mobilize people to create a better world by harnessing the power of protest, defiance and resilience,” Young continued.

Let’s honor that legacy and the vision for a more just tomorrow.