Black History Month: African Americans and the Arts
Published on February 01, 2024
Each February, Black History Month presents an opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the African American experience throughout our nation’s history. The City of Lakewood joins the federal government, state government and hundreds of public and private organizations in paying tribute to this important commemoration.
A key element of Lakewood's Community Dialogue on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is celebrating the diversity of cultures in our community.
On behalf of the Lakewood City Council, Mayor Ariel Pe has issued a proclamation in recognition of Black History Month, available on this page.
This year’s theme "African Americans and the Arts" spans the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements and more.
Origins of Black History Month
Black History Month grew out of the work of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans in the 1910s. Their organization, known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (or ASALH), is dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
The commemorative week that they initially created inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local festivities, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures that has since morphed into a month-long celebration.
Resources to learn more
The Los Angeles County Library has a special microsite commemorating Black History Month—chock full of engaging content which includes a booklist sharing a range of voices that continue to tell the stories of African American struggle, history, art and love.
It will also host many in-person events in celebration of Black History Month at branches across the region, including Lakewood’s two libraries.
At George Nye Jr. Library in Lakewood, a special Black History Month art and culture event for children ages 5 - 12 will take place Feb. 9 from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Attendees will learn about Romare Bearden and the Harlem Renaissance. Considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century, Bearden depicted aspects of Black culture in a Cubist style. See how jazz influenced his work with its rhythms, repetition and improvisation and use the inspiration yourself to create a collage.
At Angelo M. Iacoboni Library, registration is required for STEAM Storytime: Celebrate African American & Black History Month with Poetry on Feb. 20, 6–7 p.m.
Children ages 6 – 12 will learn about Black poets and then create their own art piece inspired by a poem. Iacoboni Library will also a special book display for Black History Month.