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Here are 10 events happening around Bloomington for Black History Month


The IU African American Choral Ensemble sings “Oh Happy Day” Jan. 20 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The ensemble will perform at 11:45 a.m. Feb. 12 at the School of Education Atrium as part of Black History Month. Sarah Zygmuntowski

Black History Month began Saturday, and there are various events that will happen both on and off campus for students to take part in the celebration.

African American Read-In 2020

When: 11 a.m. Feb. 3

Where: Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center

The Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center will be providing a platform to share poems and passages of students favorite African American artists or original works about the black experience with local high school students.

State of the Black Community Address

When: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 4

Where: City Hall Council Chambers

This public forum will focus on the issues surrounding the black community and other minority populations across the city.

African American Choral Ensemble performance

When: 11:45 a.m. Feb. 12

Where: School of Education Atrium

The African American Choral Ensemble will be putting on a show to celebrate Black History Month.

Essay contest reception

When: 6 p.m. Feb. 12

Where: Fairview Elementary School

The theme of this year’s essay contest is “Black and Blooming,” which seeks to acknowledge and highlight the up-and-coming black leaders within Bloomington who are leaving their mark on this city, state and country as a whole. The deadline for the contest is 5 p.m. Feb 3.

“I am my Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams” open mic night 

When: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12

Where: Neal-Marshall Culture Center

The Kelley Office of Diversity Initiative is hosting the event that will showcase the history and contributions of black people through visual and performing arts. 

Black Joy Conference

When: 10:45 4 p.m. Feb. 15, 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19

Where: Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center

This two-day event, presented by the Black Joy Collective sets to introduce attendees to the concept of joy and its positive impact on emotional and mental well-being. There will be an open dialogue between artists on joy, being and mortality, as well as a keynote speaker and workshops on music and experiential joy Feb 15. There will be a panel discussion between three artists Feb. 19. The artists will cover topics such as the power of storytelling and its connections to black joy, the role of art in the political realm and the tools artists need to navigate those space.

Mid-Day Lunch & Learn

When: 6:00 p.m. Feb. 19

Where: Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center

In collaboration with the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, the Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center will put on the Mid-Day Lunch & Learn. This event will feature an interactive panel of IU students, faculty, staff and alumni to talk about student activism at IU and how to create change on campus.  

Black History Month gala and silent auction

When: 5 p.m. Feb 29

Where: One World at Woolery Mill

The gala will begin at 5 p.m., and a silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. The event will honor the 2020 Living Legend and the Commission on the Status of Black Males Outstanding Black Leaders of Tomorrow recipients. The theme of this year’s event will be “Black and Blooming.” Tickets are on sale now at Buskirk-Chumley Theater until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 24. Tickets will not be available to purchase at the door.

Environmental social justice speaker series

When: 6 p.m. Feb 11

Where: Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center

The series what features Dr. Valerie Grim, Professor of African American and Africa Diaspora Studies. This speaker series will discuss different aspects of environmental activism within the African American community.

Black Knowledge Bowl: Jeopardy edition           

When: 7 p.m. Feb 27

Where: Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center

As an annual Black History Month event that began in the 1980s, the Black Knowledge Bowl is a student-run event in which student teams answer questions regarding black culture. The questions are formulated by black faculty and staff members on topics such as black legends, historical events and literature.

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