We can all agree that Black History is an important part of American history. February is Black History Month and what better time to learn and celebrate the history of those who paved the way for freedom, equality and civil rights for all. We’ve rounded up a list of places sure to inspire, engage and more importantly, educate our youth about black culture and more. Plan your visits now–you don’t want to miss out!
Richmond Art Center | Richmond
This year Art of the African Diaspora celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Bay Area Black Artists Exhibition at Richmond Art Center! This vibrant art center has classes, exhibitions and events that cater to schools, community centers and the Richmond Public Library. For Black History Month, they have partnered again with the Art of African Diaspora for a special event highlighting the work of 100 artists that is sure to be fun and educational for families. You can enjoy this programming through March 19.
Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) | San Francisco
MoAD, a contemporary art museum, celebrates Black cultures, ignites challenging conversations, and inspires learning through the global lens of the African Diaspora. This month, you can engage in activities including poetry readings by local artists, a special concert in collaboration with SFJAZZ, with Martin Luther McCoy and new exhibits: Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks and Billie Zangewa: Thread for a Web Begun. Check the website for details on this and other programs.
Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) | Oakland
The Oakland Museum of California is happy to welcome visitors back onsite. It is also continuing its OMCA at Home program with fun projects and seminars for families of all ages. Check out the virtual tour of Black Power, an exhibition that explores the history of the Black Power movements in California and the Bay Area’s role. COVID-19 Update: Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry starting Feb.1.
African American Museum and Library at Oakland
This museum has been dedicated to discovering and sharing the historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California. The second-floor museum regularly hosts traveling and original exhibitions that highlight the art, history and culture of Black history. Check out their wide variety of online classes and special programming.
Willie Mays Statue | San Francisco
Are you a baseball family? A trip to Oracle Park is sure to please as the park boasts a statue of one of the most well-known baseball players: Willie Mays. Mays spent most of his 22-season Major League Baseball career playing for the San Francisco Giants. Learn about his history starting with the Negro American League and visit the statue on your next trip to San Francisco. While you're at the statue, get the kids to count the palm trees in Willie Mays Plaza. Fun Fact: When they find 24, see if they can guess that the 24 palm trees represent Mays' jersey number.
San Francisco Symphony's Educational Video "Musical Heroes: Stories of African-American Composers"
This hour long video discovers the lives and achievements of three African-American composers, William Still, Florence Price and George Walker and the lasting impact they have had on the musical landscape: .
The Presidio | San Francisco
History is truly all around us. A visit to the Presidio can teach kids about Buffalo Soldiers, the famous Black cavalrymen who were stationed there from 1902-1903. The Presidio marks a key time in the history of the participation of Black people in the armed forces. They fought with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, fighting bandits and patrolling Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon.
African American Arts and Culture Complex | San Francisco
With an emphasis on the power of community, this organization has a mission to empower and connect through culture. The AAACC is a great place for our youth to learn about Black history. They are all about expression with art, education and special programs while supporting local Bay Area artists. Check out some of their virtual programming and exhibits like The Black Woman is God: Reclaim, Reconfigure, Re–Remember.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Yerba Buena Gardens | San Francisco
Peace and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. are often synonymous. Take in the vision of peace and unity at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. You’ll get to see his inspiring words, poems and images from the Civil Rights Movement surrounding a beautiful waterfall.
Ralph D. House Community Park
In 2010, this park was named in honor of Ralph Dewitt House, a park champion who devoted himself to public service. House was a driving force and leader in ensuring open space in the Bayview community. He founded the Bayview Hill Neighborhood Association and was its president from 1985 through 2004. He volunteered his time tirelessly and empowered others to advocate for their communities. Be sure to visit this park soon and take in the beautiful views of the city's southeast.
Gilroy Center for the Arts | Gilroy
Travel back in time to see how African-American artists had the courage to let their art speak on their behalf. Produced by artist Louise Shields, the 8th Annual Black History Month exhibit is on display at the Gilroy Center for the Arts through Feb. 28. Celebrating Black Artists from Around the World; Past and Present is sure to be a colorful and enlightening lesson for all families stopping by. Be sure to check the center’s website for more details and a corresponding virtual presentation that honors female artists/activists.
— TaLeiza Calloway-Appleton & Sandra Lee