Six Ways to Celebrate African American History Month

By Michael Berick

Los Angeles black history month events

Join a drum circle at Aquarium of the Pacific’s African American Festival. PHOTO COURTESY AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC

February is African American History Month. Here are six of our favorite ways to celebrate:  

At 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3, Children’s Book World (www.childrensbookworld.com) in West L.A. welcomes storyteller Michael D. McCarty for a free storytelling session with tales reflecting African American history. Kids will be tapping their toes while learning about jazz and African American composers at the free story time and dance party at John C. Fremont Branch Library (www.lapl.org) on Melrose Avenue from 4-5 p.m. Feb. 5.  

Gospel music, meanwhile, is the focus of the new exhibit “How Sweet the Sound” at the California African American Museum (www. caamuseum.org) in Exposition Park Feb. 8-Aug. 26. The show explores the little-known story of the Los Angeles gospel music scene, which traces all the way back to the early 1900s. The museum is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. Admission is free; parking is $12. 

Music and dance performances are central to the 16th annual African American Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific (www.aquariumofpacific.org) in Long Beach from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 24 and 25. West African dancing, jazz music, interactive drum circles and Mardi Gras second-line merriment are among the festival’s highlights. $29.95 adults, $17.95 ages 3-11. 

Feb. 24 is the day of STAR Eco Station’s free African American Art Festival in Culver City (www.events.starinc.org). Now in its 18th year, this salute to African American culture takes place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and showcases the talent of local students and artists with children’s art exhibits, music and dance performances and interactive projects.  

The 36th annual Pasadena Black History Parade and Festival will be held from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 17, but it’s just one of the many Black History Celebrations the City of Pasadena has scheduled. The parade will go from Altadena’s Charles White Park on Mountain View Street to Jackie Robinson Park on Fair Oaks Avenue, where the festival takes place. Charles White Park is named for the acclaimed artist, while Jackie Robinson Park commemorates the trailblazing athlete. Parade viewing and festival admission are free. 

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