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Honor African American achievement at these Black History Month celebrations

Brittany Martin

Since 1976, February has been recognized as Black History Month, an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans. There’s no doubt about the value of diversity in Los Angeles, and many local institutions and event organizers are making special plans to commemorate the month. 

The California African American MuseumIn addition to the museum’s regular programming and exhibits about the African American experience, there will be several special public events this month, including a conversation with Grammy-winning musician turned philanthropist and activist David Banner discussing activism in post-Obama America on February 8 at 7pm. 

The Pan African Film FestivalRunning February 9 to 20, this year will mark the 25th outing of this film festival, considered by many in the industry to be among the top film festivals in the U.S. There will be 150 films screened and more than 100 artists and craftspeople from the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere displaying visual arts representing the diversity of the African diaspora. Among the films we’re most excited to see are two documentary features, Generation Revolution, an exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Jewel’s Catch One, the story of L.A.’s own legendary LGBT-friendly, culturally diverse disco and its colorful founder.

37th Annual Orange County Black History Month Parade and Cultural FairJoin the Orange County Heritage Council in Anaheim for this fair that brings together various local organizations, churches, businesses and citizens for a free public parade and fair honoring African Americans. From 10am to 4pm on Saturday, February 4, find your spot along the parade route or take a stroll through the local vendors and education booths.  

Aquarium of the PacificThis year marks the 15th annual African American Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific, a weekend-long event on February 25 and 26 featuring Mardi Gras-inspired festivities, hip hop and break dancing, jazz music, West African dancers and storytellers, interactive drum circles and more. Entrance to the festival is free with aquarium admission. 

Black History Month Celebration Concert at Baldwin Hills CrenshawJoin the AARP of California as it sponsors this free community concert by contemporary jazz musician Terrance Martin, nominated for a Grammy this year for his album Velvet Portraits. There will be free tote bags and other festivities to mark the occasion, which is also the 70th anniversary of the Baldwin Hills shopping center. The concert runs 3pm to 5pm on February 4. 

Los Angeles Public LibrariesPublic libraries across the county are offering special Black History Month programming almost every day of the month. Among the highlights are screenings of The Tuskegee Airmen and The Jackie Robinson Story, a group discussion of the book Hidden Figures that inspired the hit film, and a chance for kids to weave their own paper versions of Kente cloth. The full Black History Month schedule can be found online. 

Black History Month Celebration at Anaheim Packing DistrictPay tribute to the month on February 11 from 6pm to 10pm as the Anaheim Packing District hosts a concert by Errol J. Martin, an art crawl through the complex and other special events.

Battleship Iowa MuseumThe Battleship Iowa is featuring a month-long temporary exhibit entitled, Celebrating the American Spirit: Battleship Iowa Salutes Black History Month, which focuses on five Black servicemen who broke boundaries in the American armed forces.  

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