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San Francisco Celebrates Black History Month

February 6, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Throughout the month of February, San Francisco will be commemorating the contributions of African-Americans in the United States with a wide array of celebrations and exhibits.

African-American Freedom Trail Exhibition at the Port of San Francisco

Port of San Francisco – Pier 1, The Embarcadero,
Media Contact: Renee Martin,
In celebration of Black History Month, the exhibition of the African-American Freedom Trail opens at the Port of San Francisco headquarters at Pier 1 on Feb. 3, 2014.  Sponsored by San Francisco Travel, Holiday Inn-Civic Center, Fairmont Hotels, ParkSFO, HCA & Associates, Café Golo and Sheba Lounge, the four panels will hang in the front lobby area of the Port offices during February to support the seven-week community learning series “Come to the Water: Teaching San Francisco Black History.” A companion brochure is available at the Port of San Francisco and the Visitor Information Center of San Francisco Travel, 900 Market St.

Black Maritime Heritage Festival 
Feb. 21, 10 a.m.
The Black Maritime Heritage Festival will present the maritime history of African-Americans in the Bay Area with representatives from various agencies describing potential water-related careers for school children in the Port’s Bayside Room at Pier 1.  The festival ends with a march to the new statue of Capt. William Alexander Leidesdorff erected by Clinton Reilly Holdings at Leidesdorff and Pine Streets in the Financial District.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical ParkSidebar LBH 250x250, 415-447-5000
Media Contact: Peter Kasin,
African Americans and Caribbeans have played a major role in maritime history. From the earliest days of the nation to modern times, Black men have built, crewed and captained ships, fought in wars, invented shipboard tools, and created maritime music. Join the Maritime National Park in celebrating Black History Month throughout February with programs and exhibits for the whole family.

Come to the Water with John William Templeton
Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22 and March 1, 5
Curated by Oxford University Press historian John William Templeton, the panels show the global impact of local pioneers towards freedom and justice as well as interesting personalities in the fields of religion, literature, politics and business.  Templeton presents the “Come to the Water” course at the Visitor Center of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park at Hyde and Jefferson Streets.  For more information, contact John Templeton,

African Americans in the Maritime Trades: A Photographic Exhibition
Feb. 1-28, 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
View rare photographs and learn about African American officers, sailors, cooks, longshoremen and shipbuilders.

The Great Migration in Alaska: African Americans, the Alaska Packers Association and the Politics of Race at Sea
Feb. 2, 16, 23, 2:15 p.m.
The Balclutha was renamed Star of Alaska during her years in the Alaskan salmon trade. In 1920, 307 African Americans signed contracts to work in Alaska’s salmon industry and voyaged north aboard the Star of Alaska and other ships like her. These men were part of the early wave of the Great Migration out of the South. Board the Balclutha to explore their experiences in this ranger-led program.

The Saga of Captain William Shorey
Feb. 15-16, 3:00 p.m.
A series of slides depict the extraordinary life and accomplishments of the only Black whaling ship captain on the West Coast.

Chanteys: The African American and Caribbean Connection
Feb. 20, 12-1 p.m. and Feb. 22, 1-1:45 p.m.
Discover African American and Caribbean maritime work songs in this ranger-led program. Sing chanteys of sailors, longshoremen, fishermen and oarsmen.

Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now 
Feb. 9, 13-15, 21-23, Feb. 28-Mar.1, 6-8
Media Contact: John B. Hill,
An annual event celebrating African and African American dance and culture with five weekends of dynamic performances, featuring award-winning Bay Area choreographers and companies. Highlights of the festival include works by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Nora Chipaumire, Gregory Dawson, Joanna Haigood, Portsha Jefferson and Robert Moses.

Jazz Heritage Center 
1330 Fillmore St.,
Media Contact:, 415-255-7745

Spiritual Traditions in African-American Music
Tuesdays, Feb. 4-25, 7-8:30 p.m.
Acclaimed Bay Area Grammy-nominated vocalist and percussionist Linda Tillery is the instructor for this exciting four-part series in partnership with SFJAZZ.  The series explores the myriad forms of spirituality embedded in African American music, from field hollers to the music of John Coltrane.  The series will feature live performances by several other Bay Area musical treasures beginning with the Cultural Heritage Choir appearing this Tuesday.

Conversations with Sonny
Jazz Heritage Center Theater
Feb. 23, 4-6 p.m.
Join jazz historian and JAZZ 91.1 radio personality Sonny Buxton as he talks with jazz pianist and vocalist Frank Jackson about his remarkable more than 62-year career in music.  Performing in legendary clubs like Bop City in the Fillmore in San Francisco to Birdland in New York City, Jackson has performed with greats from Lionel Hampton to Dexter Gordon to Ernestine Anderson.

Macy’s 10 Decades of Culture Defining Style
Macys Union
Media Contact: Kelly Tarzian,, 415-393-3248
Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Macy’s Union Square is saluting 10 decades of culture defining African American style with an “in conversation” discussion featuring journalist and style expert Constance White, supermodel Beverly Johnson and host Renel Brooks-Moon. Following the discussion enjoy a special reception and fabulous fashion.

Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
685 Mission St.
Media contact: 415-358-7200,
MoAD is celebrating this month with a robust schedule of exhibitions, education and public programs showcasing the history, art and the cultural richness that resulted from the dispersal of Africans throughout the world.

Film Screening and Discussion | Uptight
Feb. 6, 6:30-9 p.m.
“Uptight” is the first in a film series to be curated and introduced by Cornelius Moore. This adaption of the novel and movie “The Informer” replaced Irish nationalists fighting the English in the early 20th century with Black nationalists in Cleveland waging guerrilla war after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Educator Workshop | Civil Rights in the 1960s
Feb. 9, 2-4 p.m.
Throughout the year, MoAD offers a series of free Sunday afternoon workshops to teachers and educators. Each workshop covers a different aspect of the permanent exhibition and is an opportunity for teachers to explore how they can integrate MoAD’s resources into classroom curriculum. Civil Rights in the 60s – Using MoAD’s website and current exhibition Cultivating Crosscurrents: Africa and Black Diasporas in Dialogue, 1960-1980, participants will discover a range of creative thinkers, artists and activists working toward Civil Rights within the African Diaspora. To attend, RSVP to

Performance | Early Black Composers by the Afro American Chamber Music Society
Feb. 9, 2-4 p.m.
The Afro-American Chamber Music Society, conducted by Professor Janise White, presents Early Black Composers. The harpsichord ensemble will premiere keyboard and chamber music by the Black Mozart, Le Chevalier de St. Georges of France and Ignatius Sancho of England. The program will begin with a pre-concert lecture by Professor White. The Afro-American Chamber Music Society was founded in 1987 by Professor White and several colleagues from the University of Southern California dedicated to preserving the music of Black symphonists. For more information visit

Workshop | Cultural Connections: Aligning Informal Education with Common Core
Feb. 12, 6-8 p.m.
A workshop about how museums can create great programs for K-12 teachers, and how the standards, particularly the common core, are used in classrooms. This discussion will feature case studies of informal education programs that have successfully met the needs of both museums and teachers. Each program will be presented by a pair of speakers, an informal educator and a K-12 teacher who has participated in the program. Hearing multiple perspectives on the same program will provide insights into how museums create programs and how teachers use these programs to enrich classroom education. Information and registration:

Film Screening and Discussion |Right On! Poetry on Film
Feb. 13, 6:30-9 p.m.
“Right On! Poetry on Film” is a long lost film on the Original Last Poets featuring performances of their incendiary poetry.  It also stars the city of New York whose streets and rooftops played such a vital role in developing the insurgent culture of this important group which emerged out of the vibrant Black Arts Movement.

Artwords | The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre at MoAD
Feb. 15, 2-3:30 p.m.
Steven Anthony Jones, artistic director, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, presents a collection of poetry and prose that reflects the ideas that drove the struggles for liberation, civil rights, human rights and cultural identity. These struggles were international in the ’60s, ’70s and continue to the present. The program draws from the writings of numerous writers including Ishmael Reed, Nikki Giovanni, Jayne Cortez, Franz Fanon, Amiri Baraka, Nelson Mandela, Haki Madhubuti, Gwendolyn Brooks and Mari. The writings and ideas expressed by the various authors came into existence at the same time as the artwork in “Crosscurrents: Africa and Black Diaspora in Dialogue, 1960-1980.”

Free Admission | Third Thursdays in Yerba Buena: Art, Drink & Be Merry
Feb. 20, 5-8 p.m.
Enjoy free admission to MoAD’s current exhibition, “Crosscurrents: Africa and Black Diasporas in Dialogue, 1960-1980,” as MoAD joins the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the California Historical Society and UC Berkeley Extension Art & Design Gallery for Art, Drink, & Be Merry! Third Thursdays in Yerba Buena. The MoAD Salon will be the scene for the Yerba Buena Neighborhood Alliance Mixer. Enjoy drinks, bites and DJ Craft Spells. Be sure to pick up a wristband at MoAD for special Third Thursday all-night happy hours at participating bars and restaurants. For more information, visit

Panel Discussion | Listen to the Party Music Whitey!: The Soundtrack of the Black Liberation Movement
Feb. 22, 2-4 p.m.
Pat Thomas, award winning author of “Listen Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power,1965-1975” will engage in a lively discussion of the soundtrack that accompanies the Black Power and global liberations movements with Rickey Vincent, author of “Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers’ Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music.” The event will include a multi-media presentation of rare images and unusual recordings that capture the “sights and sounds” of the era and the movement.

IKR First Look: Crossing Fences: Conversations & Stories with African American Men across the Generations 
Feb. 27, 6-8 p.m.
A sneak peek of “Crossing Fences,” the newest volume of stories from “I’ve Known Rivers:” The MoAD Stories Project. Made possible by a generous grant by the Irvine Foundation’s Exploring Engagement Fund, “Crossing Fences” will collect “first voice” intergenerational stories of young and older men of African descent living in Oakland, CA. The storytelling will capture a wide range of compelling and untold experiences about what it means to be Black and male in America.

Film Screening and Discussion | Unearthing the Dream
Feb. 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
A film screening and discussion of “Unearthing the Dream” with Director Pam Uzzell. The 1968 desegregation of schools planned to eliminate the separate and unequal system, but in the process forced the very students it aimed to help to sacrifice their shared experience and identity. These formative years that most American high school students enjoy and recall with fond memories were stripped away, for the greater good of integration. Forty years have passed, and those boys and girls are men and women with careers and families. Yet they continue to grapple with the memory of this decision made for them. More information at

San Francisco Public Library (SFPL)
100 Larkin St.,
Media Contact:
San Francisco Public Library is celebrating Black History Month citywide with almost 100 events for adults, teens, children and families, including music, films, storytelling, arts & crafts, lectures and exhibitions. Highlights include:

Souls of Water: Memories of the African Diaspora
Feb. 1, 1-3 p.m.
An opening and artist talk by local artist William Rhodes featuring several pieces created using reclaimed materials, such as wood and glass, deeply informed by the theme of water and its relationship with people of the African Diaspora.

Black Media
Feb 2, 1-3 p.m.
Community activist and filmmaker, Kevin Epps, is in conversation with JR Valrey, associate editor of San Francisco Bayview newspaper, to discuss media activism and civil rights.

Jazz at the Library
Feb. 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
In celebration of Black History Month, bring the family for an evening with local jazz duo Six Roses who will perform popular songs representative of the African American experience.

Jungle Bells
Feb. 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Actor Barry “Shabaka” Henley,a fixture in many films directed by Michael Mann, will perform his one-man show, Jungle Bells, a thoughtful historical reflection on his complicated African American heritage and quest to express universal human experience. Sponsors: City College of San Francisco, the African American Historical and Cultural Society and SFPL.

Black History Month Kickoff at City Hall
Feb. 7, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society preside over the 2014 Black History Month celebration. This year’s theme: Civil Rights in America.

Dr. Chad Williams
Feb 7, 6-8 p.m.
Dr. Chad L. Williams, leading scholar of African America and U.S. history will be giving a forum. A Black History Month event co-sponsored by the African American Art and Culture Complex and SFPL.

Jazz Performance by ”Six Roses”
Feb. 8, 2-3 p.m. (visit for more showtimes)
Celebrating Black History Month, Six Roses, David Boyce and Michael Cavaseno embark on a musical journey with a solid performance of Jazz renditions representative of Black-American music.

Film: 42: The True Story of an American Legend
Feb. 8, 2 p.m.
(PG-13, 128 min, 2013) A biographical account of Jackie Robinson and the challenges he overcame to become the first African American Major League baseball player.

African American Quilts: A Community Project
Feb. 8, 3-4 p.m.
In the South folks still make quilts using the same patterns their ancestors did during slavery and along the Underground Railroad. Take a slide show “field trip” inside quilters’ homes, handle 100-year-old quilting pieces, and create a quilt block to add to the Library’s wall-hanging quilt in the traditional manner of quilting bees. The Library quilt will be made collaboratively from fabric scraps, glue and cardboard, and will hang publicly during Black History Month with quilter’s name next to it. Ages 5+. Co-sponsor: Peopleologie.

Talking Wood: African Music and Musical Instruments
Feb. 8, 3-4 p.m.
Keenan Webster performs music with traditional African instruments. The audience will have a chance to participate, too. Founder of SankofaAfrica, Keenan has studied with Master Teachers from Africa and Cuba. Surrounded by a highly spiritual family, he has spent his life concentrated on his studies of religion, history and music. Adults and all ages.

Black History Month Film: Lilies of the Field
Feb. 8, 4 p.m.
(NR, 94 min, 1963) Ex-GI Homer Smith (Sidney Poitier) takes a temporary handyman job at a farm maintained by five German nuns. The Mother Superior is convinced that the personable Homer has been sent to help her realize her cherished dream of building a chapel. Poitier won an Academy Award for Best Actor, the first time that award was given to an African-American.

Bridges that Brought African-Americans Over Deep Rivers
Feb. 11, 7-8:30 p.m.
Friends of Negro Spirituals presents a program featuring rare DVD footage of slavery time ring shouts, old-time Negro spirituals (audience participation encouraged), and the Sojourner Truth story told poetically. Program Participants, Speaker/Coordinator: Bisola Marignay, A Sojourner Truth Story, Angela Thomas and Rener Price, song leaders.

Black Women in the West
Feb. 12, 7-8 p.m.
Dr. Johnetta Richards leads a discussion on African American women in the West. Sponsors: CCSF, the African American Historical & Cultural Society and SFPL.

Let Freedom Sing: How Music Inspired the Civil Rights Movement
Feb. 13, 1-3 p.m.
Documentary viewing and discussion lead by Jessica Nelson-Lundy about music’s influence on the Civil Rights movement. Sponsors: CCSF, the African American Historical & Cultural Society, and SFPL.

African American Pioneers of the West
Feb. 19, 6-8 p.m.
Dr. Johnetta Richards will discuss the African American pioneers of the American West, focusing on California.

The Many Lives of Colonel Charles Young
Feb. 19, 7-8:30 p.m.
In observance of Black History Month, Ranger Rik Penn illuminates the life of Colonel Charles Young, Captain in the 9th Cavalry at the Presidio in San Francisco in 1903 and the first African-American superintendent of a U.S. national park. Penn discusses the current nationwide petition campaign to promote Young to the rank of general posthumously.

African Americans in Mathematics and Science
Feb. 20, 12-2 p.m.
Ronald Page moderates a panal of African American mathematicians and scientists. Sponsors: CCSF, the African American Historical & Cultural Society and SFPL.

Black Power: Coming of Age in a Time of Revolution
Feb. 21 and 25, 12-1:30 p.m.
Dr. Tarik Farrar, CCSF Chair of African American Studies and History Instructor, delivers a compelling lecture on Black Power using film clips from the documentary Eyes on the Prize. Sponsors: CCSF, the African American Historical & Cultural Society,and SFPL.

Black History Month Concert: Tony Saunders
Media contacts: Barbara Ockel, Executive Director at the Bayview Opera House,
Laura Dominguez, communications and programs manager, San Francisco Heritage,

Afternoon Concert Celebrates San Francisco’s African American Heritage
Feb 9, 2-5 p.m.
The Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, San Francisco Heritage, and SFJAZZ will co-present an afternoon concert in honor of Black History Month, featuring two-time Emmy Award winner Tony Saunders, with special guest Infinity Productions. The concert will open with a spoken word performance by Infinity Productions, a community-based group located in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Known for its theater and spoken word presentations, the group is led by Bayview actress and playwright Mary L. Booker.

Beyond San Francisco:

Petaluma Historical Library and Museum
20 Fourth St., Petaluma
Media Contact: (707) 778-4398,

“It’s All About the Music”
Feb. 1 – March 16, 6:30 p.m.
An exhibit that covers the diverse range of music genres largely developed by and for African-Americans.  Jazz, blues, gospel, soul, rock and roll, hip-hop and a look at black composers and classical musicians.  The exhibit will include a tribute to Nelson Mandela, who advocated for peace and equality on both a national and global scale.

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official tourism marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit or call 415-391-2000.  The Visitor Information Center is located at 900 Market St. in Hallidie Plaza, lower level, near the Powell Street cable car turnaround.

American Express® is the official Card partner of the San Francisco Travel Association.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 31 international cities on 30 international carriers. The Bay Area’s largest airport connects non-stop with 76 cities in the U.S. on 15 domestic airlines. SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit Follow us on  and

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