Why we still need Black History Month

UC honors Black excellence with exciting events in February

People sometimes ask, “Is Black History Month just for Black people?” No. Carter G. Woodson created "Negro History Week" in 1926 so the entire world could learn about the contributions of Black Americans.

In 1976, Negro History Week officially became Black History Month

While Black History Month is an opportunity for all Americans to consider concepts central to the founding of the nation — democracy, freedom and equality — the University of Cincinnati propels the diversity, equity and equality momentum by honoring Black Americans’ extraordinary impact through engaging lectures, open classes, food, galas and off-campus activities.

Throughout the month, many Black Americans are honored for their contributions, others for the sacrifices they made, but all have their place in America’s history for the fundamental ways they have helped shape the United States.

Prepare to learn and grow while experiencing 28 days of Black excellence with exciting events you won’t want to miss Check full calendar listings.

Kuamka Week ‘Black Renaissance’ | Jan. 30

Kuamka, which is Swahili for the phrase “in the beginning,” is a week of exciting events. Students will compete to become the next Mr., Mx., or Ms. Kuamka, and will serve as the critical student leaders of the African American Cultural & Resource Center (AACRC)! 

  • Jan. 30 (5:30 p.m.) - Meet the Candidates Platform and Q&A competition. Location: UC’s Tangeman University Center (TUC) Great Hall, 2600 Clifton Ave.
  • Feb. 1 (6 p.m.) - Talent Showcase Competition. Location: TUC Great Hall, 2600 Clifton Ave.
  • Feb. 3 (6 p.m.) - Furaha Friday: Kuamka Social Location: UC’s African American Cultural & Resource Center (AACRC), 60 Charlton
  • Feb. 4 (6 p.m.) - 24th Annual Kuamka Ball and Crowning of Mr. & Ms. Kuamka. Location: TUC Great Hall, 2600 Clifton Ave.

Free ‘Black Panther’ Oscar-nominated film screening | Feb. 1-7

Check local Tristate cinema listings for twice daily viewings. *Also, included free with Disney+ streaming service.

Welcome Black History Month town hall | Feb. 1 (noon-1:30 p.m.)

Enjoy refreshments and meet Black History Month co-sponsors from across campus. Also, pick up a complimentary copy of the month’s read, “Slavery at Sea,” which goes inside the Atlantic slave trade to explore the social conditions and human costs embedded in the world of maritime slavery. Author Sowande’ Mustakeem will be at UC to discuss her work on Feb. 23, from 12:30-2 p.m. at UC’s College of Medicine (CoM), where you can get your copy signed.

Location: UC’s Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, Edwards 1, 47 Corry Blvd.,

Welcome Back Black History Month | Feb. 1 (noon-1:30 p.m.)

Join a luncheon featuring a Black faculty book swap. Students can pick up a free copy of the book of the month and participate in a dialogue. Location: TUC Great Hall

For more info, contact Holly McGee, mcgeehy@ucmail.uc.edu

Drink-n-Think...a lil’ more | Wednesdays in February (6:30 p.m.)

For the second year, Ludlow Wines, Clifton’s retail merchant of wine and craft beer, will host Holly McGee, UC associate professor of history, every Wednesday in Black History Month for another four-part Drink-n-Think lecture series. Drink, laugh and learn about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about African American history but were hesitant to ask.

Location: Ludlow Wines, 343 Ludlow Ave.

  • Feb. 1 - Does America still need Black History Month? Learn about the origins of Black History Month and engage in thoughtful discussions regarding the continuation (or cancelation) of the official celebration.
  • Feb. 8 - Who’s afraid of the big, bad CRT? Demystify critical race theory, debunk divisive misinformation and find out why critical race theory might actually be significant to real-world success.
  • Feb. 15 - Reparations now! Join us in understanding the historical call for financial restitution to Black America and help to calculate the costs of generational discrimination.
  • Feb. 22 - Black to the future. Kick back and relax while we delve into Afrofuturism — a social, political and artistic movement that imagines a world where African-descended peoples and their cultures play a central role in the creation of the world.

Black History Month opening ceremony | Feb. 2 (5 p.m.)

The signature ceremony will include welcoming remarks by keynote speaker, Anthony Stone, UC Africana Studies instructor, cultural performances, a special Black History Month libation and the unveiling of the 2023 Kuamka candidates. Food, fun and festivities included.

Location: AACRC, 60 W. Charlton

‘Black History Month keynote series celebrates the Black experience in America and the diaspora

Each week, features themed keynote addresses from exciting Black artists, professionals, writers and musicians from across the nation.

  • Feb. 10 (6 p.m.) - Week two, “Food and Foodways” presented by Psyche Williams-Forson, associate professor and chair of American Studies, University of Maryland, who speaks on African American foodways (the eating habits and culinary practices of people, regions or historical periods), the importance of food in the workplace and the meaning of Juneteenth beyond food. Location: AACRC, 60 W. Charlton
  • Feb. 17 (1:30 p.m.) - Week three, "Expansion, Contraction and Transformation: The Creation of Sacred Space Through Music for Communal Healing and Social Justice” presented by Lisa Beckley-Roberts, from Jackson State University, who speaks about the importance of music and how it says so much about our culture. Location: UC College Conservatory of Music (CCM), Baur room
  • Feb. 23 (10-11:30 a.m.) in UC Department of History - (12:30-2 p.m.) in UC CoM, Stanley J. Lucas Boardroom. Week four, “Health and Wellness” presented by Sowande’ Mustakeem, from Washington University, who speaks about her book, “Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex and Sickness in the Middle Passage.” *Free E-copies of the book available (as a PDF) for all Bearcats.
  • Feb. 24 (3 p.m.) - Week four, “Health and Wellness” presented by Yolanda Lawson, president-elect, National Medical Association. Enjoy family fun, games, fitness, mindfulness and free health screenings. Location: UC CoM, Kresge Auditorium

Morning movie mini-festival | Saturdays in February

Every Saturday in February enjoy a free movie screening with Q&A led by UC and Xavier University faculty. Join representatives of UC’s School of Communication, Film and Media Studies and the Niehoff Center for Film & Media Studies for a monthlong mini film festival celebrating all things Black history. Free popcorn and water at all screenings. 

Location: Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave. 

  • Feb. 4 (10 a.m.-noon) - Film, “See You Tomorrow, a 2016 Chinese-Hong Kong romantic comedy”
  • Feb. 11 (10 a.m.-noon) - Film, “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America”
  • Feb. 18 (10 a.m.-noon) - Film, “Chicago Footwork” (adult themes), a two-part experience featuring co-sponsor Xavier University dancers and the documentary maker. Come learn a few steps of this exciting and expressive genre of movement.
  • Feb. 18 (6 p.m. in Xavier’s Gallagher Student Center) - Join an evening of dance. Free transportation at 5:30 p.m. from UC’s AACRC to Xavier. Show your Bearcat card.
  • Feb. 25 (10 a.m.-noon) - Documentary, “Aftershock,” which addresses one of the most pressing American crises of our time — the U.S. maternal health crisis. The documentary details two families who galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with maternal health disparities.

Children’s Africana reading circle | Saturdays in February

Join UC each Saturday in February for reading, fun, crafts and free books!

Location: Evanston Recreation Center, 3204 Woodburn Ave. 

  • Feb. 4 (noon-1:30 p.m.) - Book titled, “It’s Just Skin, Silly!” (preschool to 5 years)
  • Feb. 11 (noon-1:30 p.m.) - Book titled, “Freedom Soup” (elementary to 3rd grade)
  • Feb. 18 (noon-1:30 p.m.) - Book titled, “The Hill We Climb” (middle school/tween)
  • Feb. 25 (noon-1:30 p.m.) - Book titled, “Piecing Me Together” (young adult)

Kuamka 2023 event | Feb. 4 (6-8 p.m.)

Kuamka, Swahili for "in the beginning," is a week of excellence, which includes a competition where candidates compete for the title of Mr., Ms. or Mx. Kuamka. This event is formal attire or African garb. Advanced registration is requested, contact Eric Watford, watfore@ucmail.uc.edu

Location: TUC Great Hall, 2600 Clifton Ave.

Historical Black church Sundays | Sundays in February

The Black church in America is a living, breathing, cultural artifact with which you are welcome to interact during February 2023. Join UC’s Department of Africana Studies each week at select churches in Greater Cincinnati to celebrate Black History Month. Meet in the lobby 10 minutes prior to service for group Bearcat seating.

UC Office of the Vice Provost is generously providing refreshments during "Fellowship Hour" immediately following each service.

  • Feb. 5 (10 a.m.) - Allen Temple AME Church, 7080 Reading Rd. 
  • Feb. 12 (10:45 a.m.) - Union Baptist Church, 405 W. 7th St. *Cemetery Tour of Union Baptist Cemetery at 2:30pm. This is both in person AND online 
  • Feb. 19 (9:45 a.m.) - Gaines United Methodist Church, 5707 Madison Rd. *Free health screenings after service
  • Feb. 26 (10:45 a.m.) - Mount Zion Baptist Church-Woodlawn, 10180 Woodlawn Blvd.

Black Food Truck Week | Feb. 6-9 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

UC’s central campus will host 12 of Cincinnati’s hottest and tastiest Black-owned food trucks from Monday through Thursday. Sponsored by the Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce.

HIV Testing | Feb. 6 (11 a.m.-2 p.m.)

In observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, AACRC outreach educators offer free and confidential testing, referrals, counseling and harm reduction and prevention education. Walk in for a rapid test (no needles) and receive results in 15 minutes. HIV testing will continue the first Monday of each month through the semester.

Location: AACRC, 60 W. Charlton

AACRC Choir and CCM Chorus Concert | Feb. 8 (7 p.m.)

The AACRC choir will host the CCM chorus in a joint Black History Month concert, ending with both choirs combining to sing a popular Gospel song.

Location: AACRC, 60 W. Charlton

Black Excellence in Leadership: Learning from Leaders to Develop Your Leadership Identity | Feb. 8 (noon-1 p.m.)

Join the Student Activities and Leadership Development Office’s “Leaders Who Lunch” to look at the 2023 #MakingBlackHistoryHonorees from the Cincinnati Regional Chamber, what we can learn from their examples of leadership and how to apply that to individual leadership identities. Lunch provided.

Location: UC’s Steger Student Life Center, 6th floor

Open academic classes | Throughout February

Throughout February, select classes across campus will be open for Bearcats and their guests to drop in and learn. A list of open classes will be available in every discipline, from history and sociology to medicine and music. Come in and experience Black history from a truly interdisciplinary perspective. Note: Check calendar daily as classes are added

  • Feb. 16 (11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.) - Class titled “Race and Blackness in the early Islamic world” in UC’s Department of History. Location: Swift Hall 519
  • Feb. 22 (2:30-5:20 p.m.) - Class titled “Black lives matter in a post-racial society” in UC’s Department of African Studies. Location: AACRC #227, 60 W. Charlton
  • Feb. 28 (11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.) - Class titled “The evolution and migration of Homo sapiens” in UC’s Department of Anthropology, Biology. Location: Baldwin Hall 544

Soul food cook-off: “The golden foot award” | Feb. 10 (7-9 p.m.)

Do you think you have what it takes to win the Golden Foot Award? Would you like to compete? In 2019 the AACRC hosted UC’s first soul food cook-off. After two years the cook-off is finally back and ready for a new champion. The entire UC community is invited to either compete in the cook-off or judge the entries. Free food! Free drinks! Doors open at 5:30 p.m. 

Location: AACRC, 60 W. Charlton

Sign up to compete

Greater Cincinnati Black business meet and greet | Feb. 13 (noon-2 p.m.)

Join the African American Chamber of Commerce in meeting Black-owned business owners in Greater Cincinnati. This opportunity will take a deep dive into the amazing cultural and entrepreneurial offerings of Black-owned businesses in the Queen City. Come meet the founders of innovative startups, established institutions and interact with a metropolitan cadre of businessmen and women who are blazing a new path in economic independence.

Location: UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business, Kautz Attic 4350

UBSA "Love Week"| Feb. 13-16

The United Black Student Association (UBSA) celebrates their annual "Love Week" with a series of activities throughout the week. Join one or all for great fun.

  • Feb. 13 (6-8 p.m.) - Discuss "Healthy Relations"
  • Feb. 15 (7-8:30 p.m.) - UBSA and AACRC choir annual "Love Concert"
  • Feb. 14 (6-8 p.m.) - Game Night
  • Feb. 16 (6-8 p.m.) - Black Love Movie Night

Location: AACRC, 60 W. Charlton

Douglass Day at Langsam Library | Feb. 14 (noon-2 p.m.)

Join UC’s Department of English, History and the McNair Scholars Program in-person or virtually to honor American abolitionist and leader Frederick Douglass on his chosen birthday (Feb. 14) to collaboratively transcribe archives and records of Black history. Work with the papers of activist, educator, abolitionist and newspaper editor Mary Ann Shadd Cary, transcribing records from her time in Philadelphia, Canada and Washington, D.C. 

*You can participate using your own laptop or one of the available library laptops. 

Location: Langsam Library, room 475

HIV testing | Feb. 16 (11 a.m.-2 p.m.)

UC’s Student Wellness Center sponsors free rapid walk-in HIV testing with results in 15 minutes.

Location: UC’s Student Wellness Center, Steger 645B

Visiting artist in DAAP School of Art: Aaron Coleman | Feb. 16

Join UC’s School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) for an evening of artistic contemplation and conversation with visiting artist Aaron Coleman. Immediately following is a reception celebrating the artistic medium of blues music featuring UC students and some of the greatest blues artists in Greater Cincinnati.

Location: DAAP Aronoff, room 5401

Bearcat Vogue Ball: Love on Top | Feb. 17 (7-10 p.m.)

Black and white poster with people dressed in ballroom attire on left. Right side is white satin background with test saying, "Bearcat Vogue Ball: Love on Top, Friday, February 17th, 7 to 10 p.m., Nippert West, with @LBGTQCenter on bottom.

Love doesn't stop on Valentine's Day. Come party with the members of the Cincinnati ballroom scene dressed in your best eleganza and celebrate the legendary legacy of the ballroom.

Location: Nippert West

Ninth annual Onyx & Ruby Gala | Feb. 18 (6 p.m.)

Created in 2007, the Onyx & Ruby Gala recognizes the achievements of African American UC alumni, faculty, staff and students who have made significant contributions to UC and the community at large. Since its founding, this elegant black-tie event has become one of the largest alumni-driven award events for the UC Alumni Association.

The 2023 alumni awardees are Reginald Wilkinson, Georgia E. Beasley Legacy Award; Honorable Judge Cheryl Grant, Linda Bates Parker Legend Award; Cecily Goode, Tower of Strength Award; Kerry Charles, Pillar of the Community Award; Ashley Townes, Emerging Leader Award; and Raphael Hicks, Student Trailblazer Award.

  • 6 p.m. | Cocktail reception
  • 7 p.m. | Dinner and program

Location: Graduate Cincinnati Hotel (formerly Kingsgate Hotel), 151 Goodman St.

For more info and to purchase tickets

Black family fun night | Feb. 21 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)

Friends, family and relatives alike are welcome to participate in an evening of wholesome fun including games, meditation, movies, scavenger hunts, family reading and a kids’ “Sip-n-Paint.” 

Location: Tangeman University Center (TUC), 2600 Clifton Ave.

"Love Jones" movie and panel discussion | Feb. 22 (4 p.m.)

Pay tribute by watching one of the most popular Black love films ever, “Love Jones." Wear your 90’s attire as a way to recognize the 25th anniversary of this historical film. After the film, engage in a modern-day Love Jones discussion with student panelists and community therapists. Free popcorn, soda and snacks.

Location: TUC Mainstreet Cinema

Talking Black: Poetry, rap and spoken word | Feb. 23 (7-9 p.m.)

Join the Bearcat community for an intimate evening of thought-provoking, inspiring and emotionally artistic testimony. "Talking Black" is an opportunity for poets, writers, performers and artists of all kinds to share their work as an expression of their humanity and as a way of processing racialized trauma. This open mic event will feature 10 exciting student performers and create an improv space where members of the audience may perform if so moved.

Location: TUC Atrium

Medical and health screenings | Feb. 23 (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Join UC's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and community healthcare providers for medical screenings and guidance toward health resources. Sponsors include the African American Chamber of Commerce, UC's College of Medicine, Africana studies and A&S.

Location: TUC Atrium

"Talking Black" open mic | Feb. 24 (7-9 p.m.)

Join the Bearcat community for an intimate evening of thought-provoking, inspiring,and emotional artistic testimonies.  "Talking Black" is an opportunity for poets, writers, performers,and artists of all kinds to showcase their work as an expression of their humanity and as a way of processing racialized trauma.  This structured open mic event will feature 10 talented student performers, creating an improv space where members of the audience may perform, if so moved.

Location: TUC Atrium

Listen and learn | Feb. 25 (noon-1 p.m.)

Join a panel discussion about Avondale’s Black history featuring community voices from the neighborhood. Guests include Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Cincinnati’s vice mayor; Sandra Jones Mitchell, director of Serving Older Adults Through Changing Times; and Andria Carter, community engagement specialist and board president of Invest in Neighborhoods. Conversations moderated by Deqah Hussein-Wetzel, co-host of the Urban Roots podcast and director of Urbanist Media.

Location: Avondale Branch Library, 3566 Reading Rd.

Archival scanning session with Urban Media | Feb. 25 (1-4 p.m.)

Get involved in preserving your family and local history. Urbanist Media is currently producing a documentary video highlighting the devastating impacts of I-71 on Avondale and Evanston and I-74 on South Cumminsville. They need help from the community to understand what these neighborhoods looked like before these highways. 

To do this, Urbanist Media is partnering with the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library to host a community archival scanning session at the Avondale Branch Library. If a resident agrees to share the scans with the library (for their archives) and Urbanist Media (for the documentary), they will be able to scan up to 10 family photographs and documents (up to 8.5-by-11-inch in size) and receive the digital contents on a free flash drive in return.

Location: Avondale Branch Library, 3566 Reading Rd.

Town Hall - Staying in THIS powerful place: Reflections on Black History Month | Feb. 28 (1-2:30 p.m.)

Join Valencia Moses, learning facilitator at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, for a guided conversation on capitalizing on the energy of Black History Month 2023 throughout the year. “Staying in THIS powerful place” will help reflect on 28 days of Black excellence and give feedback on programming and dialogue on strategic goals for the future. 

Take part in a powerful networking event for students, faculty and staff working to recognize and end polite silence surrounding racial injustice. UC’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation and Coalition for Anti-Racist Action will guide conversations on how the entire Bearcat community can work together to normalize true equity on UC’s campus and beyond.

Urbanist Media will record a special podcast that will tell little-known stories of urban history, highlighting stories of women, people of color and other marginalized groups to preserve their important contributions. Add your voice to this bonus episode featuring one-on-one interviews with the co-host and producer of the Urban Roots podcast, Deqah Hussein-Wetzel.

Location: UC’s Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, Edwards 1, 47 Corry Boulevard

CCM New Orleans Jazz Concert | March 3 (7:30 p.m.)

CCM Jazz Orchestra, featuring internationally acclaimed guest artist Ashlin Parker, trumpet — Scott Belck, music director.

A companion to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s Black History Month programming, CCM's New Orleans Mardi Gras concert is a celebration of music and culture. The performance promises an evening with all the revelry and flair of Mardi Gras, followed by a reception and meet-and-greet with New Orleans-based jazz trumpeter, Ashlin Parker.

Location: Harriet Tubman Theater, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 East Freedom Way
Tickets: $25 general admission; $20 for Freedom Center members


*Check back daily as new Black History Month events are added.


Featured image at top: Black History Month poster/Courtesy of National Institutes of Health Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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