The Black History Festival NW is an extension of World Stage Theatre’s consistent work around educating diverse communities about Black History. The festival a region-wide event taking place during the month of February in different locations spanning as far east as Troutdale and west to Beaverton, south to Eugene and north to Vancouver Wa. Each weekend an event highlighting and celebrating the African-American experience is presented by African-American organizations, artists, small businesses, and leaders. The kickoff will begin with a youth curated museum at various Multnomah County Libraries and a city-wide scavenger hunt that runs the entire month.
Because Black Health Matters, we’ve partnered with NW Skaters United who will host “For Tha Culture” Skate Night at Gresham Skate World. And, because many African Americans have deep roots in the church, there will be a musical concert featuring some of Portland’s wonderful gospel artists, groups and choirs.
The second week, to honor when Black History Week was first celebrated back in 1926 by founder Carter G. Woodson, will continue in the area of arts and education where the community can experience two live performances of the 12th Annual Who I Am Celebrating Me Black History play performed downtown at the World Trade Center auditorium. Black Parent Initiative will host their book fair at Clackamas Barnes and Noble showcasing African American authors.
Week three is fun, film, and games. Black Panther Movie Night (location TBD) and How Well Do You Know Your Black History Game Show held at Jefferson high school and played by local fraternities, sororities and Black leaders is sure to be quite an entertaining weekend.
Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, to close out the festival, Black History Festival NW will host the Unity Gala at Self Enhancement Inc where the keynote speaker will be ESPN’s Sports Center 6 co-host of Michael and Jemele, Jemele Hill. In addition, our market place will display works and products of local artists in photography, film, fashion, literature, food, tech and more.
The festival’s focus is about building community and partnerships through culturally specific activities, to bridge generational, economical, social and emotional gaps. Through diverse locations, African Americans are able to celebrate their connection to old communities while embracing new ones. Our committee members represent ten different Black owned organizations. Through support, planning and development, the Black History Festival builds capacity for African-American organizations, businesses and artists. Every sanctioned event on the festival calendar is designed to help improve knowledge of the African American experience and community.
Our theme, Standing at The Forefront of Change is an extension of this years national theme, African Americans In Times of War. Through arts, education and advocacy 365 days a year, Black History Festival NW is committed to creating spaces to celebrate and showcase Black excellence, bridge gaps, amplify truth, unity and hope in the Pacific NW. Spaces to be inspired, affirmed, uplifted, amongst people who simply get it without having to explain Black Girl Magic, Black Boy Joy, Black Excellence or why Black Lives Matter.