say it loud
Embrace the culture at these 8 Black History Month celebrations in Austin
Black history is American history, whether or not school curriculums are ready to live up to its fullness. Even in 2024, the learning never ends, and there are plenty of places around Austin to get acquainted with those who came before us through tours, art, and more.
As we gather context, there's an entire Black community in Austin to support via businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs. And let's make sure that support goes beyond the month of February, shall we?
Here are eight ways to celebrate Black History Month around Austin.
Six Square – Austin's Black Cultural District
Named after the six-square-mile segregated block from the City of Austin's 1928 Master Plan, Six Square is the first black cultural district in Texas. The organization offers tours throughout the district to educate locals and tourists about the city's segregationist policies, while also honoring the community's legacy and its businesses. More information is available at sixsquare.org.
Austin Public Library
On Thursday, February 15, the Austin Central Library will debut a new exhibition, Black Girls Don't Wear Red Lipstick, created by local photographer Leta Harrison and curated by _OfColor's Keyheira Keys and Whitney Hamilton. Harrison's photography captures the confidence of Black women wearing red lipstick while combatting beauty standards and stereotypes. Austinites can also join in on any of the library system's other BHM programming throughout February, including the Central Library's Black History Month Celebration on Saturday, February 24 from 1-3 pm.
Black History Month Market
As part of AllBlkMade's "Ease On Down" event series during Black History Month, a pop-up Black makers market will be held on Saturday, February 17, from 12-5 pm at the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave. Past events have showcased freshly baked goods, home decor, art, and more. The event is free to the public, and attendees can RSVP via Eventbrite.
Black Austin Tours
Native Austinite and historian Javier Wallace takes locals and visitors on interactive journeys throughout the city, sharing the stories of Austin's local Black community and its history. His tours include walks through downtown, East Austin, and seasonal tours on the Colorado River. Tours are 2-2.5 hours long, and are $45 per person. More information can be found on blackaustintours.com.
Riches Art Gallery
Spearheaded by its versatile owner, Richard Samuel, Riches Art Gallery is always honoring Black artists. This month marks the return of the American History Exhibit for its third iteration. It displays work by six artists who have taken history into their own hands, re-contextualizing through art. This year, each artist was given a stipend with a rule that it would flow back into the community somehow. The exhibition runs now through March 24. Learn more at richesart.com.
George Washington Carver Museum
The Carver Museum is hosting several events throughout February, including a screening of Love Jones at The Rosette on Thursday, February 15, the eighth annual HBCU fair on Saturday, February 17, and a special education Black History Month Kid's Day event on Saturday, February 24. All events are free to the public, and attendees can RSVP online via Eventbrite.
Black Austin Matters
This one can be done from anywhere; All you have to do is listen. Black Austin Matters is a podcast series exploring Central Texas' Black community and discussing Black Austinites' experiences. It's led by UT Austin's Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Richard J. Reddick, and Lisa B. Thompson, an accomplished playwright and associate professor of African American Disaspora Studies at UT Austin. Episodes are released monthly, and can be found on npr.org.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
This renowned dance company is returning to Bass Concert Hall from March 2-3 to perform newly commissioned works and Ailey's iconic Revelations. Other performances include Alonzo King's Following the Subtle Current Upstream, Ronald K. Brown's Dancing Spirit, and excerpts from Ailey's Memoria, Night Creature, Pas de Duke, and many more. Both shows begin at 7:30 pm, and ticket prices range from $19-129. More information and tickets can be found on texasperformingarts.org.