Black History Month in Detroit— It’s a Celebration! 

Story By: Biba Adams


Even In Detroit, we celebrate Black history all year long. As a 80% Black city with over 50,000 Black owned businesses throughout the metro area, we have a lot to celebrate. Black History Month is always a great time to pause and acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions of our local history makers and beyond. This is a perfect destination to learn and immerse yourself into culture and history.


Gateway to Freedom Statue at Hart Plaza

First, a Little History


When historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced that the second week of February would be “Negro History Week,” it was because he felt there was a need for the recognition of the importance of the contributions that African Americans had made to the nation. 

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history,” he said in one of his more famous quotes. 


Woodson’s respect for history led him to create his Journal of Negro History—an academic journal which was released quarterly for nearly 100 years. 

Negro History Week grew in popularity over the years. Eventually school districts with a large Black population were adding material to their curriculum and mayors across the nation endorsed the holiday. 


In February 1969, students at Kent State University proposed that the entire month be dedicated to the study of Black history and within six years, the study spread with President Gerald Ford recognizing the event in 1976 during the U.S. Bicentennial celebration. 

He expressed gratitude to Woodson who had long since died and noted that, “freedom and the recognition of individual rights are what our Revolution was all about. They were ideals that inspired our fight for Independence: ideals that we have been striving to live up to ever since.”


“Yet,” he added. “It took many years before ideals became a reality for Black citizens.” The celebration, he said, was “the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

In Detroit, a city that is more than 80% Black, we not only celebrate Black history. We create Black history. Our city is a great place to learn more about and appreciate the contributions of African Americans because there is no part of culture that Detroit has not touched. 


In this piece, we will share some of the places in Detroit that offer interesting and informative experiences all throughout the month of February. We will also tell you about a few new places to shop and, of course, where to get the city’s best soul food. 


So, let’s go! 



Photos courtesy of: Bakers Keyboard Lounge by Marvin Shaoun and Vito Palmisano

Little known fact: Second Baptist Church in Detroit, is one of the final stops on the underground railroad before reaching Canada.
Sculpture outside of Charles H. Wright Museum



The Detroit Institute of Arts

Black History Month: The Ultimate Art Museum: Join author and art historian Ferren Gipson on February 6 for a virtual adventure throughout her magnificent museum-in-a-book. This imaginary art museum is an inspiring experience without the constraints of space and time. The DIA is also hosting a Black History Month Educator Workshop on Feb. 12. And airing the cinematic essay, Black History Month: The Last Angel of History from Feb. 8 to Feb. 14. 


Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Detroit’s preeminent venue for Black arts and culture, The Wright will host several events during Black History Month. As of press time, the schedule hasn’t been published. Still the museum notes that across the nation and around the world, Black History Month serves as a reminder of the resilience of generations of African Americans of all backgrounds who have fought for freedom and justice.


Painting with a Twist in Ferndale

This popular event will feature weekly African American themed paintings every Tuesday of the month. 



Aretha’s Jazz Cafe – The Satin Doll Revue (February 27)

Features songs from the late jazz greats musical songbook of Dinah Washington performed by Vocalist, Nina Simone Neal , Etta James performed by Vocalist, Tosha Owens, Nina Simone performed by Vocalist, Faye Bradford​, Bessie Smith performed by Thornetta Davis, Sarah Vaughan perform by Kimmie Horne​ and Billie Holiday performed by Vocalist, Sky Covington. 

Tickets are $40 and the show takes place at Aretha’s Jazz Cafe. 


Detroit Film Theatre 


An opera based on the astonishing life of Malcolm X will run at the theatre on Feb. 4., 7-8 p.m. Conversations on X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X is by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and pianist, Anthony Davis (Central Park Five), with lyrics by writer Thulani Davis—both will appear live at the event. 


Black History 101 Mobile Museum

Created by acclaimed historian Khalid El-Hakim will stop by the West Bloomfield Township Public Library on Feb. 5, 2022. This award-winning, traveling collection features original artifacts of Black memorabilia that dates from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade era and spans to current hip-hop culture. Also in West Bloomfield, Love Yourself: Wellness While Black at connect in West Bloomfield, February 12, 9a.m. —11:30 a.m. 


If you don’t mind the drive, check out the Harold Neal and Detroit African American Artists 1945 through the Black Arts Movement exhibition which will be through the month of February at Saginaw Valley State University, 7400 Bay Road, in Kochville Township.



Photo Credit: Chris Gerard and the Detroit Institute of Arts

The metro Detroit area is filled with Black artists, musicians, creators and innovators that have and continue to change history.
Detroit Vineyards tasting room

Food Specials & Entertainment


Yum Village—one of Detroit’s premier restaurants serving West African food will host First Fridays during the month of February featuring live music by The Will Band. The event will also have custom cocktails powered by Duke & Dame Salted Caramel Whiskey. 


How I Got Over Prayer Brunch will celebrate Black History Month and honor trailblazers, torchbearers and those whose we have a bright hope for tomorrow for.

February 5 at 11:30 a.m. at Commonwealth Church in Redford Charter, Township. 


Even More Food…


Detroit has absolutely no shortage of Black-owned restaurants. While the pandemic has challenged the entire industry, many of these places have continued to thrive with the support of the citizens. Visitors and locals alike can find food of every kind at just a sampling of some of our favorite places.


Eater Detroit is just one media outlet that encourages visitors to “explore their curiosity” when it comes to food from different cultures. Whether it’s African American fine dining at Savannah Blue or Imaginate or delicious African cuisine at Yum Village. Detroit offers the tastes of the world. 


Good Cakes and Bakes

Savannah Blue

House of Pure Vin

Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles

Louisiana Creole Gumbo

Coop’s Caribbean Chicken

Imaginate Restaurant 

Yum Village

The Block 

Good Cakes & Bakes vegan cookies
Photos by Michelle Gerard , Savannah Blue and Good Cakes and Bakes

"The Avenue of Fashion” in Detroit, has a rich American jazz legacy and an African-American cultural heritage. As the primary place for luxury shopping before the existence of malls, The Avenue of Fashion, shaped the arts and businesses in the area.



Visit the Avenue of Fashion for Black-owned retail in Detroit. While they haven’t announced it yet, this historic district usually does collaborations where they combine their efforts for discounts. The Avenue of Fashion is also a great area to buy Black and African-inspired clothing. 



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A post shared by Flo Boutique Detroit (@floboutique)


Also consider these retail locations:

Detroit is the New Black

Flo Boutique

Source Booksellers

Jo’s Gallery

Savvy Chic Trends

Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum 



Photos provided by Justin Milhouse and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

The Motown Sound and Techno were both born in Detroit and continue a legacy that touch people around the world to this day.

Party Time:


For your last stop, be sure to stop by Spotlite. This art gallery/event space is owned by the Creative Collective. It is run by the 1xRUN team and a silent partner is renowned artist—Tyree Guyton. During the day, it’s a great gallery and coffee shop, but also has great parties at night and weekends.



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A post shared by spotlitedetroit (@spotlitedetroit)

“The spacious and lively atmosphere is a great setting for creatives. In the morning, guests can meet over a cup of coffee, or at night over a cocktail,” according to BLAC Magazine. “What we’ve noticed is that it’s a place Detroiters are really starting to see as home,” owner Royal David told the local magazine.


With wide-ranging  programming including everything from reggae- and techno-themed nights, to events for Juneteenth and Pride, they are making a mark on the city as a place to relax, gather, and party in a safe, diverse environment that is off the beaten path. “We’ve been building and making sure all of these different communities feel like this is a place for them.”

Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
  2. 2
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  3. 3
    Aretha's Jazz Cafe at Music Hall
    350 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  4. 4
    Good Cakes and Bakes
    19363 Livernois Ave., Detroit, MI 48221
  5. 5
    Savannah Blue
    1431 Times Square, Detroit, MI 48226
  6. 6
    House of Pure Vin
    1433 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  7. 7
    Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles
    19345 Livernois Ave., Detroit, MI 48221
  8. 8
    Louisiana Creole Gumbo
    2051 Gratiot Ave., Detroit, MI 48207
  9. 9
    The Block
    3919 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  10. 10
    The Historic Avenue of Fashion
    6336 W. 7 Mile Road, Livernois between 8 Mile and McNichols roads, Detroit, MI 48221
  11. 11
    Detroit is the New Black
    1430 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  12. 12
    Flo Boutique
    404 W. Willis St., Detroit, MI 48201
  13. 13
    Source Booksellers
    4240 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  14. 14
    Jo's Gallery
    19376 Livernois Ave., Detroit, MI 48221
  15. 15
    Savvy Chic Trends
    2712 Riopelle St., Detroit, MI 48207