The month of February is traditionally reserved to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in our society. In Dallas, it is a time to reflect on the history, culture, and creativity of black heritage and how it has helped shape our city. In 2021, even as the coronavirus pandemic forced us to scale back and rethink our celebrations, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Black History Month.
Take a Bus Tour Through Black History in Dallas
7700 W. Northwest Highway; 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm on February 21 and February 27
Hop on a bus to explore the often untold story of Black History in Dallas. The Dallas' Black History; Past and Present Tour weaves through the history of several sites that were instrumental in the development of Dallas' vibrant African American community. Starting in former Freedman's Town, the narrated bus tour highlights Ray Charles' former house, Martyrs Park and the post-Civil War former plantation of Joppi. The three-hour tour will also stop at Black-owned businesses for dessert snacks.
To follow Covid guidelines, the bus will be limited to half capacity and masks are required.
Visit the African American Museum
3536 Grand Avenue
Not only is the African American Museum devoted to the preservation and display of African American artistic, cultural and historical materials, it also has one of the largest African American Folk Art collections in the entire United States. The exhibit during February is 3 Decades of Social Commentary. The exhibit is sculptor Vicki Meek's collection of work over the past three decades that examines the African American experience in the United States as well as her own reactions to social injustice, African American heroes and the African and African American aesthetic.
The ongoing Facing the Rising Sun permanent exhibit gives visitors insight into Dallas' Freedman's Town community with photographs, found objects and historical documents. An interactive video kiosk allows visitors to hear first hand experiences of life in Freedman's Town.
Watch a Civil Rights Inspired Dance From Your Living Room
Virtual; 7 pm on February 6
For 40 year the folks at Dallas Black Dance Theatre have used dance to enrich the cultural fabric of Dallas. For Black History Month they are combining the music of Andra Day, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight & the Pips with the empowering words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a collaborative choreographic effort to create Reminisce. The one-hour tribute to the Civil Rights Era will feature Encore! dancer Terrell Rogers, Jr., and the entire Encore! Company.
This year's performance will be shown virtually to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Hear the Story of a Freedom Rider
Virtual; 7 pm on February 4
Betty Daniels Rosemond was one of the hundreds of activists who traveled by bus throughout the South in the 1960s to protest segregation. During her travels through Mississippi, Rosemond almost lost her life when a violent mob attempted to kidnap and threatened to lynch members of her group.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum has invited Rosemond to share her story about her commitment to equal rights in the face of virulent racism in A Journey for Justice: Freedom Rider Betty Daniels Rosemond. The program is in conjunction with the museum's current exhibition, The Fight for Civil Rights in the South. The conversation will take place virtually on Zoom.
Eat At a Black-Owned Restaurant
In our humble opinion, one of the best ways to celebrate any culture is through food. Whether you are comfortable dining in or taking out, Dallas has a ton of Black-owned restaurants serving mouth-watering meals to help you celebrate all month (and all year) long. If you have a sweet tooth, stop by Kessler Baking Studio in Bishops Arts for a cinnamon roll or Val's Cheesecakes in Lower Greenville for a slice of cheesecake.
For those who appreciate good barbecue, Smokey John's Bar-B-Que in the Medical District has been serving up hickory-smoked brisket since the 1970s, while Off the Bone Barbeque in The Cedars is more of a newcomer known for baby back ribs. In addition to barbecue, Sweet Georgia Brown in South Dallas also serves meatloaf, fried chicken and turkey wings. And for those craving seafood gumbo, lobster boxes and all things Cajun-style seafood, check out Aunt Irene's Kitchen in Fair Park.