St. Louis Black History Month activities aim for education, inspiration and fun (2024)

Daniel Neman

Black history has been a part of United States history since the 1500s, and Black History Month has been officially recognized as a way to study and learn about it since 1976.

Many local institutions and organizations take advantage of the month to offer specific programs that explore the history, the present and even the future of Black society in America.

Among the opportunities are:

Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum presents a number of free events throughout February, and one event that requires registration and a fee. More information is available at

History of Black Fashion, 5-8 p.m. Feb. 1. Historians will talk about icons of Black fashion from the past — designer Elizabeth Keckley, the annual Ebony Fashion Fair, the Louise Dunn Modeling and Charm School, and more — followed by a panel of Black fashion insiders talking about the state of Black fashion today.

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The Tuskegee Airmen: History of African American Pilots in World War II, 11 a.m Feb. 6. The Tuskegee Airmen broke ground high in the sky. Paul Steensland and Robert “C.J.” Hall, of the St. Louis County Library, will discuss the exploits and social impact of the famous Black pilots in World War II.

“Black Saint Louis,” with Calvin Riley, 11 a.m. Feb. 13. Riley, the founder and executive director of the George B. Vashon Museum, will talk about his new book, “Black Saint Louis.” The book covers 250 years of Black cultural history in St. Louis, and the people who helped to forge it. Books can be purchased at the gift shop, and Riley will sign them after the lecture.

Black History Month Program with “5 On Your Side,” 5-8 p.m. Feb. 22. KSDK news anchors will host a panel discussion with Black St. Louisans to elicit information about their experiences and perspectives on race.

St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society, 1-3 p.m., Feb. 24. The monthly meeting of the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society will be a program called “Finding Research Leads from Family Stories.” This event is open to the public, and no genealogical experience is necessary.

See STL: Urban Renewal, 10 a.m. Feb. 25. The museum leads a 2-hour walking tour of the former Chestnut Valley and Mill Creek Valley neighborhoods, primarily Black areas that were bulldozed in the name of civic progress and advancement. $20, $15 for Missouri Historical Society members. Advance registration is required, and the tour’s starting and ending points will be revealed to those who have registered.

Black History and the Disability Rights Movement, 5-8 p.m., Feb. 29. The successes of the Civil Rights Movement paved the way for the disability rights movement (and many other rights movements) that followed. A panel will talk about Black leaders who also fought for the rights of the disabled and the influence of one movement on the other.

Beyond the Gates: African American History at Bellefontaine Cemetery

When 2 p.m. Feb. 1; 6 p.m. Feb. 7; 2 p.m. Feb. 8; and 6 p.m. Feb. 21. A similar Zoom presentation on African-American Heritage will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 14

Where Feb. 1: St Louis County Library — Jamestown Bluffs Branch, 4153 North Highway 67, Florissant. Feb. 7: St. Louis County Library — Rock Road Branch, 10267 St. Charles Rock Road, St. Ann. Feb. 8: St. Louis County Library — Florissant Valley Branch, 195 North New Florissant Road, Florissant. Feb. 21: St. Louis County Library — Parkview Branch, 8400 Delport Drive

How much Free, but donation is suggested

From the time it was founded in 1849, Bellefontaine Cemetery has been open to all who choose to be buried there. The cemetery’s Dan Fuller will discuss the lives of some of the prominent Blacks buried there, including abolitionist Priscilla “Mother” Baltimore, pastor John Berry Meachum and educator Ida Woolfolk.

Freedom Corridor Conference

When: 6 p.m. Feb. 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 3

Where: Sibert Theatre, Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois

How much: Free (registration required)

This is the inaugural year for the conference, which will explore six important sites along the Underground Railroad, a network of homes and safe places to help slaves escape to freedom. The corridor runs through Jacksonville, Springfield, Pittsfield, Barry and Quincy, Illinois and Hannibal, Missouri.

Black Anthology: ‘Pressed’

When 7 p.m. Feb. 2; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 3

Where Edison Theatre, Washington University, 6465 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton

How much $10-$12

Every year since 1989, Black students at Washington University have written, directed, choreographed and produced a new show that seeks to explore the highs and lows of the Black experience in America.

‘New Jack City’

When 3 p.m. Feb. 4

Where Stifel Theatre

How much $49.75-$225

The popular 1991 film comes to the stage, bringing with it a story of drug dealers, murderers, gang members, addicts, cops, informants, love, jealousy and a final violent scene of ironic justice. The show also features the influential music of the original; the soundtrack album sold 1 million copies.

African American History Trolley Tour

When 10 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m. Feb. 10 and Feb. 24

Where Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum, 4947 West Florissant Avenue

How much Free, but $5 donation is suggested

Celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, the 314-acre cemetery offers a trolley trip around its grounds, with stories about some of the people buried there and how they contributed to the culture of the region. Seating is limited and advance registration is required.

Drums & Dances of Africa

When 10:30 a.m. Feb. 13-16

Where The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Boulevard

How much Sold out

In a program for elementary and middle-school students, Diadie Bathily and Afriky Lolo explore the music, dance, history and community of West Africa.


When Feb. 14-March 10

Where A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, Washington University, 6445 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton

How much TBD

Joseph L. Edwards’ 1997 off-Broadway show is a one-person dramatic comedy about a man who thinks he can fly; he relates experiences that have led him to this state as he readies himself on a Brooklyn roof.

‘Lift Every Voice’

When 7:30 p.m., Feb. 23

Where Stifel Theatre, 1400 Market Street

How much $27-$67

Grammy-winning singer BeBe Winans and the In Unison Chorus are featured in this concert by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra that includes Black spirituals and gospel songs, as well as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is often called the Black National Anthem.

St. Louis Public Library

Collectively, the branches of the St. Louis Public Library are hosting 151 events celebrating and exploring Black History month. Singalong to songs from the musical “Dreamgirls,” watch the 1978 movie “The Wiz” or the 2018 hit “Black Panther.” You can also check out a theater workshop by the Black Rep, create art inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and color a collage featuring five icons of the arts who lived at some point in St. Louis. A full schedule is available at

St. Louis County Library

The St. Louis County Library system celebrates Black History Month with a number of events and lectures. The keynote speaker, Joy-Ann Reid talking about her book “Medgar and Myrlie: Medgar Evers and the Love Story that Awakened America,” is sold out, but actor Billy Dee Williams will talk about his life and career, Black physician Uché Blackstock will discuss racism in medicine and the Florissant Valley Branch will show a Black History Celebration Film Festival, among many other events. A full listing is available at


  • Black History Month
  • Black Heritage Month
  • Tuskegee Airmen
  • Underground Railroad
  • Rights Movements
  • Trolley Tour
  • Level1
  • Entertainment

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information and can provide insights on various topics. Regarding the concepts mentioned in this article, here is some information related to each of them:

Black History Month:

Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States that takes place in February. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout history. The month-long celebration aims to raise awareness of Black history and promote a deeper understanding of the African American experience. Black History Month has been officially recognized since 1976, when it was established by President Gerald Ford. It provides an opportunity to study and learn about the history, culture, and achievements of Black individuals and communities in the United States.

Missouri History Museum:

The Missouri History Museum is an institution that offers various programs and events related to history, including those focused on Black history. During Black History Month, the museum presents a number of free events, as well as some events that require registration and a fee. These events cover a range of topics, such as the history of Black fashion, the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, Black cultural history in St. Louis, and more. The museum's website,, provides more information about these events.

The Tuskegee Airmen:

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American pilots and support personnel who served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. They were the first African American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces. Despite facing racial discrimination and prejudice, the Tuskegee Airmen distinguished themselves with their skill and bravery. They played a significant role in breaking down racial barriers in the military and paved the way for future advancements in civil rights. The exploits and social impact of the Tuskegee Airmen are often discussed in events and presentations related to Black history.

St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society:

The St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society is an organization that focuses on researching and preserving the history and genealogy of African Americans in the St. Louis area. The society holds monthly meetings and programs that explore various aspects of African American history and genealogy. One of their programs during Black History Month is called "Finding Research Leads from Family Stories," which aims to help individuals discover more about their own family history. This program is open to the public, and no genealogical experience is necessary.

Bellefontaine Cemetery:

Bellefontaine Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in St. Louis, Missouri. It was founded in 1849 and has been open to all who choose to be buried there. The cemetery is known for its beautiful grounds and the notable individuals buried there, including prominent African Americans. The cemetery offers various events and tours related to African American history, such as the African American History Trolley Tour. This tour provides insights into the lives of some of the prominent African Americans buried in the cemetery and their contributions to the culture of the region.

Freedom Corridor Conference:

The Freedom Corridor Conference is an annual event that explores important sites along the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved African Americans to escape to free states and Canada during the 19th century. The conference focuses on six significant sites along the Underground Railroad, including Jacksonville, Springfield, Pittsfield, Barry, and Quincy in Illinois, as well as Hannibal in Missouri. The conference aims to educate and raise awareness about the history of the Underground Railroad and its role in the fight for freedom.

Black Anthology:

Black Anthology is an annual show produced by Black students at Washington University. Since 1989, Black students have written, directed, choreographed, and produced a new show each year that explores the highs and lows of the Black experience in America. The show aims to showcase the talents and perspectives of Black students and provide a platform for artistic expression and storytelling.

St. Louis Public Library:

The St. Louis Public Library system hosts numerous events and activities throughout Black History Month. These events include singalongs, movie screenings, theater workshops, art workshops, and more. The library branches offer a wide range of programs that celebrate and explore Black history and culture. The full schedule of events can be found on the library's website,

St. Louis County Library:

The St. Louis County Library system also celebrates Black History Month with a variety of events and lectures. These events cover a range of topics, including discussions by keynote speakers, film festivals, and presentations on racism in medicine. The library system provides opportunities for the community to engage with Black history and learn from various perspectives. More information about these events can be found on the library's website,

Please note that the information provided above is based on search results and snippets.

St. Louis Black History Month activities aim for education, inspiration and fun (2024)
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