Black history is American history, and it should be studied and celebrated all year. Since that often doesn’t happen, it’s especially important to recognize it throughout the month of February. Fortunately, Cincinnati is a booming cultural hub, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate black history throughout the city.
Check out this list for the best ways to celebrate black history in the Queen City this month:
Support black businesses
Conscious Kitchen, a black-owned restaurant, is just a five minute walk from UC. It offers a wide selection of juicy burgers and heaping salads, including vegan and vegetarian options, at 2912 Short Vine Street. It also boasts some of the best sweet tea in the city. It’s the perfect place for a date and features art created by local black artists. Right now, Conscious Kitchen is featuring artists Quinn Battiste and Javarri Lewis, both of whom are selling their artwork in the restaurant.
Looking for something different? Check out Ollie’s Trolley — a Cincinnati classic at 1607 Central Ave. This burger, fish and rib joint, famous for its special Ollie’s sauce, is located inside an old trolley car and offers several breakfast options as well.
There are so many other places to explore, including clothing store BlaCk OWned Outerwear, Divine Appetite Café, Kick Backs Cincy sports bar and nightclub, OTR Live, PRVLGD and Pure Beauty Skin Bar, just to name a few. If these don’t strike your fancy, click here to check out even more black-owned businesses in Cincinnati.
Support black art
With so many plays, movies, books and artwork on the market, now is the perfect time to support black artists. Although there aren’t any hubs designed to promote black artists and creators in Cincinnati, it’s fairly easy to find people to support.
There are many local rap groups that perform regularly throughout the city, including Supreme Prisms, Triiibe and Patterns of Chaos. Attend one of these events, listen to the music or find it on streaming services. There’s also The Cincinnati Herald, an African-American print newspaper that is distributed weekly and can also be found online.
For those interested in the classics, consider seeing “Fences” by August Wilson, which is playing at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company until Feb. 16. If you’re an avid reader, check out this list from The Voice of Black Cincinnati, which features countless works by local black writers.
Study the history
For those who don’t know much about black history, pick up a book or try one of the many documentaries available online or via streaming services. From Liz Garbus’s “What Happened, Miss Simone?” to Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” it has never been easier to immerse yourself in black history.
In particular, study events that are still relevant today. You can use resources like the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Association for the Study of African Life and History, and the National Museum of African-American History and Culture to learn more. Study the lives of black trailblazers, understand the civil rights movement and teach yourself about the nationwide history of blackface and lynching.
Attend a local event
This list is going to be short, as it would be nearly impossible to include every event going on in the city. So be sure to do your own research and step outside your comfort zone.
On Feb. 12 from 6 to 9 p.m., join St. Peter’s United Church of Christ for “Race, Rage and Fear: Training our Children to End Racism.” This is a great chance to talk with others about reconciliation and ways to facilitate lasting change in the community.
At UC, there is a virtual reality booth dedicated to the civil rights movement with a special mention of Marian Spencer, who wasn’t allowed to live on campus but now has a dorm named after her. Booths are available at Tangeman University Center, University Pavillon and CARE/Crawley.
The UC Women’s Center will host the third annual Black Feminist Symposium from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb 22. This one-day conference focuses on black feminism, activism and leadership.
There are countless ways to celebrate Black History Month. Set aside some time to appreciate the struggles that black people have endured in America and across the world. Watch movies made by black artists, attend lectures, study the history and talk about it with your friends and family. Black history is American history, and it’s important to learn.