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Celebrating Black History Month 2021 in Northeast Ohio with virtual events, in-person exhibitions and meaningful conversations

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Posted at 1:13 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 13:13:02-05

CLEVELAND — Numerous institutions and organizations from the Karamu House to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are celebrating the achievements of Black people in America for Black History Month. From virtual events to conversations with community leaders, News 5 compiled a list of events happening throughout the month of February to celebrate the Black heroes and heroines of U.S. history and recognize the vast contributions they’ve made to American culture.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its newest exhibit, dedicated to showcasing musical trailblazers who have used their talents to speak out against social injustices and inequality over the years.

The “It’s Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage, Hope & Empowerment” exhibit highlights artists and musical moments that have changed the world and showcases how musical artists have used rock and roll to respond to racism.

"Musicians have been creating this music, responding to these and reacting to what's happened in our society, whether it's in this country globally. You can find thousands and thousands of songs," said Nwaka Onwusa, vice president at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Click here for more information.

The Rise of Black Glenville
This virtual exhibit looks at The Glenville Neighborhood in Cleveland, which was a key place for the civil rights movement. This virtual exhibition is a curation of stories of those who lived in Glenville during the 50s and 60s to help bring awareness to the vast history of Glenville. Residents are encouraged to submit their own stories.

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Photo caption from Cleveland Memory Project: Fearing complete chaos in their Glenville area, more than 300 residents jammed the City Council Chamber today to demand better police protection and more foot patrolmen. The meeting before the Safety Committee was shifted to the Council Chamber because the regular committee room was too small to accommodate the large number.

Click here to visit the virtual exhibition and submit your story.

The Western Reserve Historical Society—African American Archives Auxiliary
The Western Reserve Historical Society celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new exhibit documenting Black excellence in Cleveland. The collection holds the stories of Cleveland legends, including Alan Cole, considered one of the greatest documentarians of African American life in Cleveland from the late 1920s until the 60s. Garrett Morgan, inventor of the early gas mask and traffic light, is also among those included.

The museum's new “Share Your Story” initiative aims to document current times during the pandemic and ongoing activism surrounding Black lives, police brutality and events sparked in response to the murder of George Floyd and countless others.

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Click here to check out the exhibit.

RELATED: Western Reserve Historical Society celebrates 50th anniversary, documenting Black excellence in Cleveland

The James F. Pye Community Art Exhibit
The Lorain County Arts Council will present the Black heritage tribute to local artist James F. Pye. Students attending the Harrison Cultural Center art workshop will display their artwork.

The exhibition will be open for the month of February on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Lorain Arts Council located at 737 Broadway Ave. in Lorain.

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The Karamu House
America’s oldest running African American producing theater, the Karamu House, presents “Our Roots Run Deep: Celebrating Black History Month with Karamu House,” a month-long series of family-friendly virtual workshops.

The first free program, a poetry workshop, will be held on Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m. It will feature local, award-winning poet Siaara Freeman, who will explore the works of Karamu House’s own Langston Hughes.

The “Our Roots Run Deep” series also features interactive workshops in African, hip hop and line dance with Djapo Cultural Arts Institute, 10K Movement, and Robert “the Line Dance King” Johnson, respectively.

Here are other events at the Karamu House:

  • Family African Dance Workshop with Djapo Arts Institute on Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Story of “Anansi the Spider” for pre-K to grade 3 students on Feb. 19 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Line Dancing with Robert “the Line Dance King” Johnson on Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Hip Hop Dance Workshop with 10K Movement on Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

All programming is free. Participants can register here.

The city of Cleveland
The Cleveland celebrates Black History Month with a month-long list of events relating to this year’s theme “ Strengthening Black families Through the Quest for Equity and Equality.”

“Each year, our Black History Month celebration serves to recognize Cleveland’s long-standing history of Black leadership and honor Black individuals who contribute to our city’s legacy of cultural diversity and equality,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “We continue this tradition by celebrating the men and women of the Black community who strive to make Cleveland a great place to live, work, play and do businesses, for our residents and their families.”

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All the events are virtual. Click here to see the calendar list of events.

LGBTQ Community Center of Greater Cleveland
Northeast Ohio native India Nicole Burton has a long list of accolades that includes directing at the Karamu House, founder of Ma’Sue Productions, a Black theater company in Akron, and actress in many productions.

On Feb. 21, she will kick off the center’s first Artist Talk of 2021. Find more info here.

Kent State University
Kent State University is hosting a virtual program to bring awareness about the experiences Black Americans face in a country founded on racism and slavery and start discussions on how we can move forward.

The event is on Feb. 18 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Register here to attend.

Playhouse Square—Rhapsody
Written and performed by LeLand Gantt and developed at NYC’s Actors Studio with Estelle Parsons, Rhapsody in Black is a one-man show that explores LeLand’s personal journey to understanding and eventually transcending racism in America. A live Q&A with Gantt will be offered on Feb. 28, at 7:00 p.m.

The performance will run from Feb. 22-28. Click here to register.

The Cleveland Museum of Art—Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art
Second Careers explores the connections between historical African art and contemporary practices. In this exhibition, visitors will see highlights from the museum’s African collection and loaned works. Objects from nine cultures in Central and West Africa—male and female figures and masks, masquerade costumes, a hunter’s tunic, and a prestige throne— will be featured with larger-scale installations and sculptures, the museum says.

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Attributed to Kuba peoples of southeast Democratic Republic of Congo, this prestige belt boasts superb craftsmanship. The accumulation of a variety of materials indicates the high status of its wearer. It is made from leather strips and finely accessorized with a combination of intricately patterned bead designs, cowries, seashells, and bells. It would have been worn over a large raffia skirt by a man during ceremonial occasions. It was acquired from the Belgian dealer Jacques Hautelet in 1994.

The exhibition will be on display until March 2021. Click here for more info.

Cleveland Browns—Cleveland Huddle
The Cleveland Browns have launched a new initiative aimed at supporting local Black-owned restaurants while helping provide food to those in need.

As part of the new initiative, called “Cleveland Huddle,” the Browns are partnering with three local restaurants—GoodfellasBBQ in Cleveland Heights, Soul Fo’ Real in Strongsville and Sauce the City in Ohio City—to hold meal distributions to local nonprofits throughout the month of February.

Click here for more info.

If you don't see your event celebrating Black History Month, and want it featured, send an email with the details and picture of your event to Kaylyn.Hlavaty@wews.com.