Black History Year? That was the vision of Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the original Black History Week, who “believed that black history was too important to America and the world to be crammed into a limited time frame,” according to the black history association he founded in 1915.
For now, we make do with a monthlong celebration of Black life in America. The largest annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in the nation was canceled this year because of the pandemic omicron surge, but San Antonio offers many events for those interested in learning more about Black history and culture.
Below are a few notable events. Please let us know what we missed by emailing event specifics to email@example.com, and we may include the information in an updated version of this story.
San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum
The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum celebrates the 2022 Black History Month national theme of health and wellness with Barrier Breakers: Pioneers in Medicine, a new digital exhibit highlighting Black San Antonians.
Prominent names that ring through the decades are featured, including doctors Ruth Bellinger, Charles C. Andrews Sr., Robert L. M. Hilliard, Dianna Burns-Banks, Greene J. Starnes and Charles Austin Whittier.
A physical version of the digital exhibit will also be on view in locations around San Antonio in the coming weeks, at True Vision Church throughout the month, and at Southwest Research Institute Feb. 7-14.
The museum offers Barrier Breakers as a pop-up exhibit and suggests requests be sent via email.
Other museum events in February include a celebration of cowboys of color at the Ella Austin Community Center, with a Feb. 5 matinee featuring two movies: The Bronze Buckaroo and Two Gun Man from Harlem. On Feb. 13, a Black History River Tour departs at 6:30 p.m.
More information on museum events is available here.
The DoSeum children’s museum opened Uniquely Us: Understanding Race and Building Unity on Jan. 15.
The hands-on exhibit is described as “community-designed,” developed in response to families asking the museum for childhood-age resources on race and racism, according to its website on the exhibit.
Uniquely Us runs through April 13, accessible with regular museum admission.
Thursday at 7 p.m., the Overtime Theater will present a staged reading of Coco Queens by playwright LaDarrion Williams.
The official selection of the Overtime’s 2022 New Play Development Series, the reading will include former District 2 Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan among four actors.
Information on tickets and safety protocols is available here.
Slab Cinema Arthouse
The Slab Cinema Arthouse in the Blue Star Arts Complex presents Beautifully Black, a monthlong look at the world of Black culture through Hollywood movies, independent film, visual art, and performance.
Curator Barbara Felix called the show “a celebration of Black excellence” and said she hopes it promotes understanding of the Black experience.
As one of 18 Texas filmmakers included in the programming, Felix shares her own experience transitioning from what she thought was a strictly Latina identity to embracing her complex heritage.
Beautifully Black opens Thursday and Friday evenings with free screenings of short films by Texas filmmakers. Sound artist Xavier Gilmore will perform at 6 p.m. Friday, prior to the screening.
The full schedule is available here.
Blue Star Contemporary
Though Blue Star Contemporary will not participate in the First Friday art crawl due to the omicron surge, the art space opens its exhibitions Friday at 10 a.m.
Alongside the Threads Bare show is the Black Art Library, on view through March 27.
The Black Art Library is an effort begun in 2020 by Detroit curator Asmaa Walton to collect exhibition catalogues, children’s books, artist memoirs and biographies, art history texts and other materials focused on Black artists.
The Blue Star exhibition marks the first time the library has been exhibited outside of Michigan.
Carver Community Cultural Center
Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater will perform at the Carver Community Cultural Center Feb. 5, with a slate of re-envisioned jazz standards.
Pianist Christian Sands, noted for his melodic approach, will take the Carver stage Feb. 18 to play tunes from his latest release Be Water.
For two hours before each show, the artwork of Shawn Oliver Harold “Swerv O Harold” Ervin will be on view in the Carver gallery.
For tickets and details, see the Carver events calendar.
University of the Incarnate Word
On Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m., the University of the Incarnate Word will celebrate the artistic life of composer Florence Price, cited as the first Black woman to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra.
Her Symphony No. 1 in E minor won first prize in the prestigious Wanamaker Competition in 1932, drawing the attention of Frederick Stock, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Stock included the composition in a Juneteenth-day concert for the Chicago World’s Fair the following year.
The concert will also be performed Feb. 6 at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin.
More information on Price, the concerts and related events is available here.
The Magik Theatre
The Snowy Day and Other Stories opens Feb. 12 at the Magik Theatre, showcasing coming-of-age short stories by children’s author Ezra Jack Keats.
Director Darcell Bios called the hourlong play an opportunity to “witness an African American child simply be,” going through formative experiences such as learning to whistle and having a first crush.
The “Snowy Day” segment arrives in a timely manner, following Winter Storm Uri of 2021 and this week’s inclement weather, when some young San Antonians might also have had their first glimpse of snow, just like main character Peter.
Information on showtimes, tickets, and safety guidelines is available here.
San Antonio Public Library
Among events scheduled by San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) to celebrate Black literature and history are several virtual events free and accessible to the public, with registration.
Children’s and young adult author Varian Johnson will talk and answer audience questions Feb. 12 at 3 p.m., focused on recent books The Parker Inheritance, Playing the Cards You’re Dealt, and the graphic novel Twins, which won a 2020 NPR Best Book award and was a Texas Library Association Little Maverick Reading List Selection.
On Feb. 15 at 6 p.m., Carver Library manager D. L. Grant will give a presentation titled Towards a Certain Future: Preserving African American Culture Memory, examining the effects of gentrification on preservation efforts.
To test your knowledge, library staff will host Black History Month trivia Feb. 17 at 10 a.m.
Check the SAPL website for more information and event details.
This story has been updated.