Celebrate Black History Month With These Cultural Happenings in San Francisco
San Francisco will celebrate Black History Month with an exciting slate of events to commemorate the contributions of African-Americans within our city, across our nation, and throughout our history, beginning Feb. 1. Plan ahead, purchase tickets, and gather your friends to take part in all of the excitement here in San Francisco and the East Bay. If your calendar is already looking full, don't worry; you can plan an excursion of your own to experience San Francisco's African-American culture any time of year.
EXHIBITIONS & CONVERSATIONS
The San Francisco African-American Historical and Cultural Society celebrates Black History Month on Feb. 2, 2018. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Dawn Elissa Fischer, chair, Department of Africana Studies, San Francisco State University. Community leaders will also be on hand for the kickoff event beginning, at noon at San Francisco’s City Hall Rotunda, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., 12 - 1 p.m.
Museum of the African Diaspora
Among the special events at the Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., is a reading of “The Long Long Ride” by Brian Thorenson on Feb. 3. Part of MoAD’s series, The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre at MoAD, this dark comedy finds a mother and her troubled son unknowingly on the run and looking for hope. Also on view through March 4 is “EN MAS’,” conceived around a series of nine commissioned performances realized during the 2014 Caribbean Carnival season across eight cities in six different countries. Throughout the month of February admission to MoAD will be free every Saturday.
Oakland Museum of California
“Question Bridge: Black Males” returns to the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), 100 Oak St., through Feb. 25, 2018. Intimate videos simulating face-to-face conversations between a diverse group of more than 160 black men across the U.S. offer nuanced portraits of the past, present and future of black men in American society. Often exceptionally honest, the conversations share stories, beliefs and values at a personal level.
San Francisco Public Library
Beginning on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in January and continuing throughout the month of February, the San Francisco Public Library champions black history and culture with special music, dance, crafts and storytelling events at every branch in the city. “More Than a Month” features film screenings and literary events for adults, interactive events for teens and hands-on activities for all ages. For full details visit www.sfpl.org/more-than-a-month.
San Francisco Main Library
Covering more than 50 years of professional baseball, “A Game of Color: The African-American Experience in Baseball” exhibition at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., begins with the founding of the Negro League in 1920 and continues into the ‘60s and ‘70s when a new wave of players challenged the baseball establishment. While intended as a general introduction with an emphasis on key figures and pivotal moments, the exhibition includes artifacts and artworks that are being shown in San Francisco for the first time. Presented by The Baseball Reliquary and the Institute for Baseball Studies, exhibition highlights include “The Negro Leagues,” “Barnstorming as a Way of Life,” “Pioneers of Integration,” “Jackie Robinson and Emmett Ashford,” and “A New Activism in the Post-Jackie Era.” Related events will include film screenings and discussions through March 18, 2018.
De Young Museum
Occupying six galleries at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, “Revelations: Art from the African-American South” is on view through April 1, 2018. The de Young recently acquired 62 works by contemporary African-American artists based in the South. Included in the current acquisition are paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by 22 acclaimed artists, including Thornton Dial, Ralph Griffin, Bessie Harvey, Lonnie Holley, Joe Light, Ronald Lockett, Joe Minter, Jessie T. Pettway, Mary T. Smith, Mose Tolliver, Annie Mae Young and Purvis Young.
San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
Throughout the month of February, view rare photos and learn about African-Americans in the maritime trades at the Visitor Center, 499 Jefferson St. On Feb. 17, 2018, a series of events will include a discussion of Sargent Claude Johnson’s art at the Maritime Museum with an optional mile-long walk to Johnson related sites in San Francisco, and special programs on the Hyde Street Pier.
Main Gallery, San Francisco Arts Commission
On view Feb. 16-April 17, 2018, “The Retrieval,” a solo exhibition of works by Bay Area artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle is the first solo exhibition at the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Main Gallery, 401 Van Ness Ave. It features drawings and sculpture that respond to the disappearance of black women and female-identifying women.
Presidio Officers’ Club
The “Presidio Live” series, 7 p.m. on Thursdays at the Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., includes “Blackball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues” on Feb. 1. This musical suite by Marcus Shelby celebrates Negro League baseball, which lasted for some 60 years. The music highlights the careers of Satchel Paige, John Gibson and Jackie Robinson.
American Conservatory Theater
On Feb. 3, 2018, the American Conservatory Theater will debut “Every 28 Hours Black Arts Festival,” an annual festival to include spoken-word artists, musicians, singers, dancers, visual art installations, guest speakers, panel discussions, and a special performance of selections from “Every 28 Hours,” a series of one-minute plays inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. This year’s theme, “A Healing Experience,” will center on resilience and joy in the face of oppression and brutality. The Strand Theater, 1127 Market St., where the festival will take place, will also transform its lobby into a marketplace where local black-owned businesses and restaurants will be selling products and food.
New Conservatory Theatre Company
Get tangled in one spider’s quest to secure the stories of the world from the Sky God in “Anansi, An African Folktale” at the New Conservatory Theatre Company, Feb. 10-18 on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 4 p.m. Anansi must outsmart a number of foes and along the way learn how to treat others more kindly. The hour-long show features West African songs and dances, captivating puppetry and vibrant costumes.
The Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now - 2018 Next Wave Choreographers Showcase
Devoted to emerging artists, the Black Choreographers Festival is an annual event celebrating African and African-American dance and culture, featuring award-winning Bay Area choreographers and companies. Confirmed artists include Dazaun Soleyn, Joslynn Mathis Reed, Brontez Purnell, Latanya d. Tigner, Christopher Scarver, Shawn Hawkins, Cherie Hill, Jamie Wright, and the duo of Ashley Gayle & Noah James. Performances: Feb. 17-18, 2018 at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St.; Feb. 24-25, 2018 at SAFEhouse Arts, 145 Eddy St.; and March 3-4, 2018 at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon St., Oakland. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore
Mardi Gras opens at 5 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018 with a free blues concert at Fillmore and O’Farrell Streets featuring St. Gabriel’s Brass Band and Sambafunk in a traditional processional. Entertainment also includes Silver Fox. Tickets are also available for a Masquerade Ball at the Westbay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore St., featuring Alabama Mike at 8 p.m. For details visit www.mardigrassanfrancisco.com.
Presidio of San Francisco
On Feb. 11, 2018, join Ranger Alejandra from 10:30-noon as the Presidio of San Francisco celebrates Black History month with a 1.5-mile leisurely stroll through the Main Post of the Presidio and explores the story of the African-American "Buffalo Soldiers." Learn about their connection to the Presidio and other national parks, as well as their extraordinary contributions to our nation in a time of overt racism and segregation. Tour departs from the Presidio Visitor Center, 210 Lincoln Blvd.
San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour
Award-winning magician, storyteller, Bay Area native, and original co-creator of the tour with Jim Fassbinder, Christian Cagigal leads his San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour through Pacific Heights starting at the Healing Arts Center, 1801 Bush St. Among the people and historic events he talks about is Mary Ellen Pleasant, considered by some to be “The Mother of Human Rights in California” because of her work on the Underground Railroad and her support of John Brown. Tours are offered Wednesday-Sunday at 7 p.m. from Feb. 1-Oct. 31, 2018.
Visit the African-American Art & Culture Complex
Visitors on their way to capture an iconic photo of the famous Painted Ladies on Steiner Street should not miss a visit to the African-American Art & Culture Complex, a vital resource for the African/African-American community and San Francisco arts and culture communities. The facility houses an art gallery and three art exhibitions spaces, a 203-seat theater, a recording studio, library and archives of African-American history, two dance studios and other multi-purpose space.
Take a Tour of the Bayview Opera House
Originally constructed in 1888, the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre (BVOH) is one of oldest cultural buildings in San Francisco and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Situated along the Third Street commercial corridor, BVOH became an official Cultural Center of San Francisco in 1990 and has served as the focal point for art and culture in the Bayview/Hunters Point community by providing accessible, diverse, and high-quality arts education, cultural programs and community events in a safe environment.
The African-American Freedom Trail
The African-American Freedom Trail tells how African-American pioneers in San Francisco changed the world. Learn from Oxford University Press historian John William Templeton about the legacies of great African-American figures such as Capt. William Alexander Leidesdorff, Mary Ellen Pleasant, Sargent Johnson and Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett. Tours are offered almost daily of the California African-American Freedom Trail during February.