How to Celebrate Black History Month in Atlanta This Year
These are the best ways to spend February recognizing and celebrating Black history, locally and beyond.
As the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the city with the second largest Black population in the United States, Atlanta takes Black History Month seriously. But while Black History Month is technically observed during February, Atlanta celebrates Black history year round. It’s home to places like the Center for Civil and Human Rights, MLK’s National Historic Park, the legendary Paschal’s Restaurant, and much more. So if you’re in the ATL, here are some ways to get the most out of BHM, the right way—whether you’re patronizing a Black-owned business, going to a museum to learn more about Black History, or paying homage to the countless people that paved the way for the current generation.
There are plenty of Black-owned establishments for you frequent throughout the city that serve some amazing food, no matter what you might be craving. For starters, you can support Pinky Cole’s empire by dining at Bar Vegan in Ponce City Market, or one of her many Slutty Vegan spots spread across Georgia. For a dose of history along with your meal, you can head over to the legendary Paschal’s, which was a meeting place for many notable civil rights leaders, entertainers, politicians, and business people, including Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Other options include Old Lady Gang, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, Nouveau Bar & Grill, and many more.
Sunday, February 5 & Saturday, February 11
This month, Atlanta hosts some expos that highlight businesses and creatives throughout the city. On February 5, the Black Beauty Expo at the Georgia International Congress Center will feature industry related workshops/seminars, competitions, exhibitors, hair & fashion show and musical entertainment. Just a week later, the Atlanta Black Expo comes to the Cobb Galleria Centre, and includes various Black-owned businesses to celebrate Black History Month. These highly anticipated events were created in support of BIPOC, so take a trip to one of them for BHM.
Thursday, February 16 - Sunday, February 19
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Atlanta during Black History Month to center stage at The Fabulous Fox Theatre from February 16 - 19. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, the highly-anticipated 2023 Atlanta engagement showcases the passionate spirit and extraordinary technique of Ailey’s dancers in premieres, new productions, and long-time favorites. The uplifting finale of all five audience-captivating performances is the masterpiece Revelations.
Old Fourth Ward
One of the greatest men of the 20th Century—and a native of the ATL—has an entire plot of land dedicated to his memory. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is one of the most visited attractions in the city, and is also the same place where King himself was born and raised. Within its parameters, attendees can see Ebenezer Baptist Church, his birth home, his neighborhood’s fire station, and the “I Have A Dream” World Peace Rose Garden. Around the corner from his house, The King Center is a museum chronicling the Morehouse graduate’s journey, and that location also houses his tomb, as well as his wife’s, Coretta Scott King.
Immerse yourself in the history of civil rights
Visiting Atlanta’s Black history-focused museums is a powerful opportunity to learn about the United States Civil Rights movement, along with the story of Black people in America. The Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Atlanta History Center highlights the struggle of African Americans in the early-to-mid 20th century, while other places like Hammonds House and APEX tell the larger story of people of color not just in the US, but around the world.
Friday, February 10 - Sunday, March 5
Written and directed by Katori Hall, The Hot Wing King is a fierce new comedy about the risks and rewards of celebrating who you are. This Pulitzer Prize-winning play is making its debut at Alliance Theatre this month, so it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss. Black History Month mainly generally focuses on the past achievements of African Americans, but it is just important to support contemporary Black artists.
Go to a gallery that showcases Black Art
In Castleberry Hill, you can visit ZuCot, or Miya Bailey’s Hidden Gallery 333 in Peters Street Station, which is a community for artists where they can fellowship, gain resources, and view or purchase art. At Future Gallery downtown, artist talks and workshops are held frequently, and MINT on the West End always provides a fun environment during its many exhibition openings. The Black-owned September Gray in Buckhead’s Miami Circle is easily one of the best galleries in the 404, specializing in contemporary works by established, mid-career, and emerging African American and African diasporic artists.
Wednesday, February 1 - Tuesday, February 28
Roswell Roots is a community-wide, month-long festival that honors our diverse community and celebrates Black History Month. It aims to educate, impact, and promote cultural awareness. These month-long programs and events focus on welcoming all community members and offers an opportunity for all ages to engage and participate. During the fest, you can see some art exhibitions, author talks, history conferences, and tours; where you will visit Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall, and Smith Plantation for an in-depth look at Black experiences in Roswell dating back to the city's founding.