February is Black History Month, and San Francisco is an excellent place to honor, uplift, and celebrate Black history on both a local and international level. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Black culture and contributions in San Francisco, this is a great place to start. Read on for some inspiration.
1. Check out More Than a Month at SF Public Library
Each year, the San Francisco Public Library puts on More Than A Month, a celebration of Black history spotlighting Black creators. This year will emphasize the theme of resistance, with free meditation, film screenings, musical performances, panels, craft programs, and more. Some standout events include a meditation workshop in the Main Branch’s African American Center on Wednesdays, periodic film screenings including Malcom X and Black Panther, a paper kente cloth pattern workshop on Feb. 15, and more.
2. Visit the Museum of the African Diaspora for exhibitions and activities
San Francisco’s extraordinary Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) has served as a vital Bay Area institution since 2005. It’s one of the world’s few museums focusing solely on African Diaspora culture, and we are very lucky to enjoy it right here in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena neighborhood. Be sure to visit the current exhibition The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, which showcases the work of 15 contemporary Black fashion photographers from around the world. Other events include:
- Feb. 4 – ENGAGE Symposium 2023: Photography, Fashion, and Black Representation
- Feb. 9 – Community Voices: Poets Speak Closing Reception
- Feb. 11 – Community Free Day: KP Thrive @ MoAD
- Feb. 15 – Film Screening & Discussion: Favela é Moda (Favela Is Fashion)
- Feb. 23 – Poetry Reading: Black Fire This Time
- And more
3. Look into the SF African American Historical & Cultural Society
The SFAAHCS is a great resource for programs, exhibits, and cultural events all year round. They’ll host a kick-0ff event for Black History Month on February 3rd with brass musicians and dancers on the steps of City Hall. Other events include a genealogy resources workshop for African Americans, an exhibition of African American art, and a short film by Anthony Anderson and Ancestry.com.
4. Walk beneath a waterfall at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial
Yerba Buena Gardens is home to the country’s second-largest memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., an enormous sculptural waterfall fountain. Water cascades over a granite walkway, blocking out the city sounds and creating a tunnel in which visitors can contemplate inscribed quotations from Dr. King’s speeches. When’s the last time you visited this profound monument?
5. Check out this month’s events at the Bayview Opera House
The Bayview Opera House dates back to 1888 in the Bayview Hunters Point district, which is the most ethnically diverse community in SF. It will be hosting numerous events in honor of Black History Month including A Black Lives Masquerade and Pop-Up Village on Feb. 11; a workshop on Black love and resistance on Feb. 14; a book signing on Feb. 16 with Lyzette Wanzer M.F.A., author of Trauma, Tresses, and Truth; and more.
6. Watch Black History Month film screenings at SFO
SFO International Airport will screen a series of films spotlighting Black American artists. Learn about Kris Bowers, an award-winning jazz composer; Liz Montague, the first Black female cartoonist at The New Yorker; and Michaela DePrince, a Sierra Leonean-American ballet dancer. You can enjoy the screenings daily between 7am-10pm in the Video Arts gallery, located pre-security in the International Terminal departures hall.
7. Explore the African-American Freedom Trail
SF Travel put together a fantastic map marking local spots with connections to African-American history. It takes you through community centers, restaurants, gathering points, libraries, hotels, and more. Download the map here to learn about significant locations in local Black history you may not have known about!
8. Enjoy a meal at these Black-owned restaurants
There are dozens of ways to honor Black culture in our city, and one of the easiest is to order from a local Black-owned restaurant. These amazing restaurants will keep you coming back!
9. Support these Black-owned businesses recommended by locals
We asked our Instagram followers for their favorite Black-owned businesses around the Bay Area and got some great suggestions. Check out this list of Black-owned businesses recommended by San Franciscans, for San Franciscans.