OnMilwaukee is proud to highlight Black History Month in Milwaukee and beyond. Our goal is to highlight even more Black-owned businesses and stories. Be sure to visit our first spotlight pick: Tropic MKE, owned by Hyacinth Nembhardt. Hyacinth's Jamaican roots were what inspired Tropic, bringing island vibes in both cocktails and cooking. Check out their sister bar, Concoctions, on Brady! Stop in for a visit.
February is Black History Month. It’s an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on Black history both local and international.
Here are some events you should know about in Milwaukee and ways you can support your community.
(Did we miss a Black History Month event? Help us fill in the gaps by posting in the comments below or by sending an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Black History Month 2023.” You can always submit your news by clicking here.)
Milwaukee Film Black History Month 2023: all month
Throughout February, Milwaukee Film has organized a slate of film screenings and events as part of its fifth annual celebration of Black History Month. Events explore topics such as Afrofuturism, conversations on Black love and more. Find a full catalog of events here.
“Magical Black Tears Experience” museum exhibition: all month
Milwaukee Area Technical College, or MATC, is hosting “Magical Black Tears Experience," an interactive exhibition designed for children to learn how to create a more just society for Black people. The exhibition is based on the children’s picture book “Magical Black Tears: A Protest Story” by Decoteau J. Irby. The exhibition is available for free public viewing from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through Feb. 28 at Create Gallery at MATC’s downtown campus, located at 1015 N. 6th St.
Black History Month at Milwaukee Public Library: all month
Milwaukee Public Library is hosting a slate of events related to Black history for all ages at multiple locations throughout February. A complete list of events and more information here.
Black History Month readings: every Thursday through Feb. 23
Tricklebee Cafe is hosting a series of readings from the book “The Night is Long but Light Comes in the Morning: Meditations for Racial Healing” by Dr. Catherine Meeks. Each week will include readings from the book and a light meal. These gatherings are free and take place from 6-8 p.m. every Thursday starting on Feb. 2 at Tricklebee Cafe, located at 4424 W. North Ave.
Tours of art by artists of the African diaspora: every Saturday through Feb. 25
Receive a tour of Milwaukee Art Museum’s collections from artists of the African diaspora, particularly African American and Haitian artists, every Saturday throughout February from 2-3 p.m. This is a drop-in tour at the museum located at 700 N. Art Museum Drive that’s included with the purchase of a museum entrance ticket or free for Milwaukee Art Museum members.
Black and green history at Havenwoods: Saturday, Feb. 18
Join Friends of Havenwoods State Forest for stories featuring Black environmentalists, both local and international. This event runs from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Havenwoods State Forest, located at 6141 N. Hopkins St.
“The Give Back Kickback”: Saturday, Feb. 18
“The Give Back Kickback” is an opportunity to donate food and supplies toward the goal of tackling hunger in Milwaukee, while also taking in a joyous atmosphere of music, games, raffles and more. The event takes place from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Coffee Makes You Black, located at 2803 N. Teutonia Ave. Entrance to the event requires purchasing items for one of two pre-prepared lists, totaling around $10 and $20, respectively.
African-American environmental pioneer awards: Monday, Feb. 20
Nearby Nature Milwaukee and partners host their fourth annual awards ceremony celebrating Black Milwaukeeans “working for a better environment.” The awards ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20 at Wisconsin Black Historical Society, 2620 W. Center St., and livestreamed online. The event is free but RSVPs for the in-person event are encouraged. More information on the award honorees can be found here, and RSVP here.
“Color My Walk in My Skin” play performance: Saturday, Feb. 25
Actors and models will be re-enacting Black leaders in history, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Rosa Parks and more, in this play directed by Willie Abney of the Hansberry-Sands Theatre Company. Admission to the play includes a fashion show of historical clothing related to the play. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show takes place from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, located at 3020 W. Vliet St. Tickets are $10.
Shop Black-owned businesses: ongoing throughout February and beyond
During Black History Month and beyond, find Black-owned businesses to support through the MKE BLACK app and website. MKE BLACK’s catalog includes local Black-owned businesses offering products and services in a variety of sectors, including legal, automotive, culinary services and more. See a complete directory here.
Tour the Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum: ongoing throughout February and beyond
The Wisconsin Black Historical Society at 2620 W. Center St. offers scheduled tours of its museum all throughout Black History Month and beyond.
Visit America’s Black Holocaust Museum: ongoing throughout February and beyond
America’s Black Holocaust Museum at 401 W. North Ave. is a resource for Black history year-round, and will be open throughout Black History Month. You can tour the museum in person, or visit the museum’s virtual exhibit here.