Each February, the U.S. honors the achievements of African Americans and their central role in the country’s history. In San Diego, our citywide events range from choir performances to author talks, children’s crafts, and SDSU men’s and women’s basketball games.
Discover 15 events to celebrate the Black community and help us understand their integral role and contributions in shaping our society.
Beginning in 1915, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) was founded. Dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans, the ASALH sponsored a national week in 1924 to celebrate Black history and literature. It was held during the second week of February and inspired nationwide celebrations, with communities, clubs, schools and more uniting to commemorate African Americans.
Throughout the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, the weeklong event began to slowly evolve into a month celebration in various regions of the country. But it wasn’t until 1976, 50 years after the week’s inception, that President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month. He called upon the public “to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Since then, every American President has dedicated February as Black History Month. This year’s theme is African Americans and the Arts and spotlights the importance of poets, writers, visual artists, and dancers who use their crafts to uplift, engage, teach and inspire the nation.
Here are some of the local events happening throughout February to honor Black history and the arts.
Black History Month Breakfast
The Greater San Diego Association of Realtors is hosting a Black History Month Breakfast at the University Club Atop Symphony Towers on February 8. Listen to speakers including Kenneth B. Morris Jr., a descendant of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, who will discuss “harnessing the power of education to magnify societal voice.” Admission is $35 or $100 for a VIP ticket offering up-front seating, a book signing, and photo opportunity.
750 B Street Suite 3400
Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir San Diego Performance
Join this non-profit organization dating back to 1990 for some traditional and contemporary sounds of gospel music with Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir San Diego. Catch the unique tunes starting at 1:30 p.m. at the Rancho San Diego Library.
11555 Via Rancho San Diego
The Kick Back: Black Excellence
Movement BE, a creative arts studio for kids and teens, is hosting a gathering curated to provide culture, creativity, and community to students and families of all ages. This event takes place on February 10 at noon and aims to give people the opportunity to share their story through food, music, and other creative outlets.
6787 El Cajon Blvd
Create it! Tuesdays
Every Tuesday starting the 13th through the end of February, take your kid aged 5-11 to Valencia Park at the Malcolm X Library for some Black History Month themed crafting. The program starts off with creating a Freedom Quilt Square on the 13th, a Freedom Quilt Mosaic with Toshwerks on the 20th, and ending with weaving a Kente Cloth on the 27th.
5148 Market St
Freedom Quilt Fabric Mosaic
Dating back to the 17th century, quilts began in Black American culture with enslaved women quilting patchwork blankets using the scraps from their slave owners’ households as a way to keep their families warm. They quickly evolved to serve as messages about African American’s journey to freedom and have since become standout pieces in history of Black Liberation. Register to make your own on Tuesday, February 13 at the Central Library Teen Center; Thursday, February 22 at Skyline Hills Library; or Tuesday, February 27 at Mountain View/Beckwourth Library.
330 Park Blvd | 7900 Paradise Valley Rd. | 721 San Pasqual St.
PRIDE Storytime Featuring Friidae
Skyline Hills Library PRIDE Storytime hosted by Drag Queen Friidae to honor Black History Month. At 10:30 a.m. join this family-friendly event featuring age-appropriate stories and songs to celebrate diversity and individuality.
7900 Paradise Valley Rd
Black History Celebration and Author Talk
Bring the whole family down to the Community Room at Logan Heights between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. for an afternoon filled with activities for everyone. The event includes soul food from Mad’m Chef with Kitchen Magician, face painting, music by DJ Charles Egypt, and discussions with author and former Miss America Catherine Grace Pope on her recent memoir.
567 S. 28th St
Daygo Eatz is bringing people together through food and art in the Black Arts & Culture district of Encanto. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., The Mental Bar, Black San Diego, and Pillars of the Community will pack nine blocks along the Marie Widman Memorial Park with local vendors, an art walk, and live entertainment.
449 Ritchey St
Exploring Identity, Love and Being Black in America in Fiction Writing: A Conversation with Jason Mott
New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott discusses his recent novel Hell of a Book which depicts a fictional Black author traveling across the country for a publicity tour of his new novel and delves deep into themes about racism, life for Black Americans, and police violence. Register here before February 19 to secure a spot for the hour-long virtual talk at 1 p.m.
SDSU Women’s Basketball Game
During the month of February, San Diego State University will be honoring Black History month through various on-campus events, including the women’s basketball game on February 21. The lineup versus the Air Force will honor Black history and includes free shirts to the student section as well as performances by Diamonds. The game starts at 8 p.m at Viejas Arena.
Solidarity Fight! 2nd Annual SoCal Sumo Open
HONU SUMO Club and Maximum Effort Foundation are hosting the 2nd Annual SoCal Sumo Open on Saturday, February 24, from 9 a.m.-3pm. at the City Heights Performance Annex. The organizations focus on the love of Japanese sports, and the contributions Black people have brought to martial arts and civil rights. The free event brings together Japanese and Black Communities to celebrate a day of sumo, music, food, and meeting new people.
3795 Fairmount Ave
Fearing the Black Body Author Talk with Sabrina Strings
Professor and North Hall Chair of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Strings, comes to the San Diego Public Library to speak about her award-winning book: Fearing the Black Body: the Racial Origins of Fat Phobia. Registration is encouraged for this two-hour long event, beginning at 1 p.m. with the author talk and Q&A, followed by a book signing at 2 p.m.
330 Park Blvd
Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: Black History Month
At the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, this month is dedicated to all articles centered around Black History. Learn to edit and contribute to making knowledge more accessible at the Wells Fargo Technology Learning Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Begin by learning all the Wiki how-to’s, then begin editing right alongside the San Diego Wikimedians User Group.
330 Park Blvd
Crafternoon: African Mask Craft
Parents and guardians, grab your kiddos for an afternoon of crafting where the kids can make their own African Mask. Take home a mask that represents the spirits of people or things worn during Black ceremonies and celebrations. Held at the Balboa Library from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., bring anyone aged preschool to middle school to enjoy an hour of free fun.
4255 Mt. Abernathy Ave
SDSU Men’s Basketball Game
On February 27, SDSU’s men’s basketball team will be dedicating their game versus San Jose State University to Black history. The celebration includes free t-shirts for students and a Diamonds performance with tip off starting at 8 p.m at Viejas Arena. Make sure to buy tickets beforehand and head down early as the parking situation can be pretty hectic.
5500 Canyon Crest Dr
Create-it Thursday: Black History Month: Rocketship Craft
Missed out on the African Mask Craft? Don’t fret because Skyline Hills Library is celebrating this month by teaching kids about pioneers in Space exploration while creating crafts to coincide with the lesson. From elementary kids to teenagers, come enjoy this creative learning time from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
7900 Paradise Valley Road