Celebrate Black History Month With CPL

Come and join Chicago Public Library in celebrating Black History Month with a particular focus on the contributions of African Americans in Arts and Entrepreneurship. African American art is a beautiful blend of African, Caribbean and Black-American experiences. The African American influence has significantly shaped the visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression.

African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory and promote empowerment. Throughout history, African Americans have led artistic and cultural movements such as the New Negro, Black Arts, Black Renaissance, hip-hop and Afrofuturism, setting the standard for popular trends around the world. In 2024, we will be taking a closer look at the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans.


See event highlights below and view all Black History Month events.


Common: And Then We Rise: A Guide to Loving and Taking Care of Self
5 - 6 p.m., Monday January 29
Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium

Multi-award-winning performer, author and activist Common will discuss his new book, And Then We Rise: A Guide to Loving and Taking Care of Self, a comprehensive program for addressing mental and physical health—and encouraging communities to do the same.

Justin the Good Listener With Author Corey D. Williams
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, February 6
North Austin Branch

Join the North Austin Branch story time especially for our littlest patrons! Author Corey D. Williams will read from his book, Justin the Good Listener. For kids 0 to 5 and their caregivers.

Let it Shine: Celebrating Artist and Writer Ashley Bryan
10:30 a.m. - noon Saturday, February 17
Little Italy Branch

Let's celebrate Ashley Bryan (1923-2022) during Black History Month. He was a beloved artist, writer, poet, anthologist, storyteller, and noted scholar of African and African American folklore. This event is for ages 3 to 13.

Red Clay Dance Company Presents Afro-Caribbean Dance
6 - 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 20
Douglass Branch

A Red Clay Dance Company Teaching Artivist will facilitate a lecture and demonstration, performance workshop, or creative process experience that introduces your students to Artivism through dance forms of the African Diaspora.

Capturing Creativity: A Two-Day Basic Photography Workshop for Youth with Colaj
4 - 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 27 and Thursday February 29
Lozano Branch

Embark on a captivating journey into the world of photography with our 2-day workshop. Participants will unlock their creative potential while mastering fundamental camera skills.

Author Rich Paul: Lucky Me
6 - 7 p.m. Thursday, February 29
Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium

Join Rich Paul in conversation about his memoir, Lucky Me. Attendees will receive a free copy of the book, while supplies last.

Book Clubs

Adult Book Discussion: Lucky Me
1 - 2 p.m. Saturday, February 3
Avalon Branch

Adult Book Discussion: Lucky Me
1 - 2:30 p.m. Saturday, February 17
Toman Branch

Weird Book Club: Chain-Gang All-Stars
7 - 8 p.m. Monday
Hosted by Bucktown-Wicker Park Branch, taking place at Map Room

Film Screenings

Film Screening and a Craft: Spider Man: Across the Spider Verse (2024)
1 - 3 p.m. Saturday, February 3
Back of the Yards Branch

Family Film Screening: The Princess and the Frog
2 - 3:45 p.m. Sunday, February 4
Edgewater Branch

Film Screening: Summer of Soul (2021)
5 - 7 p.m. Thursday, February 22
West Chicago Avenue Branch

Online Event

Author Chat and Book Discussion with Moses Miller
2 - 3 p.m. Saturday, February 24
Thurgood Marshall Branch

Recommended Reading

Black History Month 2024: Books for Kids
Black History Month 2024: Books for Teens
Black History Month 2024: Books for Adults
Black History: Recent Highlights (February 2024)

Recommended Online Resource

Chicago Defender Historical Archive
Access full text, including display and classified advertisements, of this nationally significant African American newspaper from 1910 to 2010.