Black History Month, which takes place in February every year, is celebrated throughout the metro Atlanta area with festivals, storytelling, performances, lectures, film, and much more.
It’s nearly impossible to talk about black history in America at all without mentioning Atlanta. Our city has seen remarkable achievements from the civil rights leaders, musicians, athletes, politicians, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who’ve called Atlanta home.
We’ve put together a list of some of the special events taking place around metro Atlanta for Black History Month in 2021, as well as a few places that focus on African American history and culture all year round.
This post is structured with highlighted events and venues first, followed by a chronological list of Black History Month events in a calendar format. Be sure to scroll all the way to the end to browse in-person and virtual events.
Please note that many events will be online this year. Make sure to follow each link for more information.
Places to visit & things to do during Black History Month
To the best of our knowledge, these are all places that you can visit during the pandemic, though many have limited hours now. Please check all details on your own before you head out — because things change.
♦ Shakespeare in the Ponce
This re-imagined telling of Hamlet uses Black culture, rhythm, and dialogue to tell the classic tale.
Shows take place every Saturday and Sunday in February at 3:30 p.m., at the Ponce City Market amphitheater.
These are outdoor performances. Bring your own food and drinks.
You’re also welcome to bring a blanket or lawn chairs.
♦ The APEX Museum
APEX is an acronym for African-American Panoramic Experience. The mission of the APEX Museum is to accurately interpret and present history from an African-American perspective.
♦ National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Exhibits connect the American civil rights movement to the current global human rights movement.
♦ South-View Cemetery
Take a FREE self-guided walking or driving tour of South-View Cemetery, which was chartered after the Civil War by former slaves who were banned from white cemeteries. Martin Luther King was originally buried in South-View, before being moved to the grounds at the King Center.
♦ Oakland Cemetery’s African American Burial Grounds
Each year, Oakland offers free tours during Black History Month, but they fill up immediately. Read about the African American Grounds online and then visit on your own. Oakland Cemetery is ALWAYS FREE. The best way to learn of these free tours each year when reservations open up in January is to subscribe to our newsletter.
♦ Atlanta History Center
A special exhibit, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, explores the African American struggle for full citizenship and racial equality in the 50 years following the Civil War. On view through Feb. 28, 2021. More info
Do you have a credit or debit card from Bank of America? That gets you FREE admission to the History Center on Feb. 6th & 7th through the Museum on Us program.
♦ Atlanta University Center Historic District
The Atlanta University Center District comprises a group of the country’s most important institutions of higher learning for African Americans. This national historic landmark in Southwest Atlanta includes Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morehouse School of Medicine. Many civil rights movement leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., attended these schools, which have been a progressive force among Atlanta’s black community.
♦ Martin Luther King Historic Sites
According to the National Park Service website, park Rangers will be stationed outside the MLK Visitor Center and the Birth Home of Martin Luther King, Jr.every Monday and Tuesday to provide visitor orientation and information — but the inside tours have been suspended. You can still stop by the tomb of Reverend and Mrs. King, with its eternal flame. And the MLK World Peace Rose Garden is also open, although there’s not much in bloom right now.
Dr. and Mrs. King are laid to rest at the King Center’s outdoor campus.
♦ The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Special programming all month long celebrates the legacy of prominent African Americans in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art. Take the kids for interactive storytimes, hands-on activities, and exciting science experiments all month long.
♦ College Football Hall of Fame
Two new exhibits chronicles the history of racial integration in college football, tells the stories of the Black trailblazers that changed the sport, and explore the role of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). More info
Movies to watch & speeches to listen to
Whether you want to be inspired or entertained, you can put together your own watch list for Black History Month.
Black voices in film
Do you subscribe to a streaming service? Several of them have curated collections of films that focus on Black history and stories, and feature Black actors and filmmakers.
You may also be interested in our big list of FREE streaming services. You might browse the curated films in one of the collections above, find something you want to watch, and then look to see if you can find it streaming for free.
Reelgood.com is compiling a list of films that stream for FREE and showcase Black stories. (It’s not by any means complete.)
HBO.com is offering the documentary We Are the Dream for free, to stream in a browser window. Click here, then scroll to the documentary section.
As Black History Month gets underway, there will likely be more free movies to stream, and we’ll keep you updated.
Notable speeches in Black history
These are worth a watch or a listen — especially the dramatic recreations of historic speeches.
♦ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Listen to the famous 17-minute I Have a Dream speech in its entirety, courtesy of NPR.
♦ President Barack Obama
He’s known as one of the greatest presidential orators in modern history, so it’s hard to choose just one. But for Black History Month, we’re going with A More Perfect Union, a 2008 campaign address about America’s long struggle with race (37 minutes). But go ahead and watch the 3-minute Amazing Grace clip from the eulogy for Rev. Pinckney too.
♦ Frederick Douglass
Listen to a trained voice actor read the words of the famous abolitionist, in the What to the Slave is the Fourth of July speech. It was delivered on July 5, 1852.
♦ Sojourner Truth
Watch a Black actress deliver the Ain’t I A Woman? speech that Sojourner Truth delivered in 1851, as a freed slave. In this talk, she compares experiences of Black women to white women.
Black History Month calendar of events
NOTE: We’re still adding BHM events for February, so check back!
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Thursday, February 4, 2021
Friday, February 5, 2021
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
Saturday, February 13, 2021
Sunday, February 14, 2021
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Sunday, February 28, 2021