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Collage of Feature Performers including Sam Dinkins III, Tommy Terrific, Deborah Mouton

This February, Harris County Public Library is celebrating African American History Month with a special emphasis on the performing arts. Featured programs include theatrical performances from local companies like the Ensemble Theater, Houston Grand Opera and Main Street Theater, music by Apollo Chamber Players and Da Camera and much more. All of it celebrating the cultural achievements and contributions of African Americans. Below is a list of featured programs and highlight events at our branches. For full African American History Month listings visit our Events page.

All events are FREE and open to the public.

Featured Events

Da Camera Houston LogoThe History of Jazz with the Sam Dinkins III Quartet
presented by Da Camera Houston

From ragtime and Dixieland to the blues, swing, and more, "The History of Jazz" traces America's contribution to the world of music as it developed late in the nineteenth century from African American work songs, hymns, and spirituals

High Meadows Branch Library
Monday, February 6. 6:00 PM 

Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library 
Monday, February 10. 6:00 PM 

bright star theater logoGeorge Washington Carver & Friends
presented by Bright Star Theater Company

Black History heroes laid the groundwork for some of the most amazing discoveries of the modern era, especially when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Hosted by the incredible scientist, George Washington Carver, a man who invented thousands of uses for the lowly peanut, this show introduces students to other incredible scientists, entrepreneurs, and groundbreakers from Black History. Meet Madame CJ Walker, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and more! 

High Meadows Branch Library
Friday, February 21. 1:30 PM 
Maud Marks Branch Library
Saturday, February 22. 10:00 AM 
North Channel Branch Library
Saturday, February 22. 2:00 PM

Struggle for Freedom: The Life of Dr. King
presented by Bright Star Theater Company

One of Black History’s most influential Civil Rights Leaders, the life and story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of both triumph and tragedy. Learn how Dr. King came to be such a prominent leader in this dramatic show. Follow Dr. King’s life from his time as a young boy in Georgia to becoming a preacher in Alabama, to becoming an important figure on the international stage. A powerful and impactful story, audiences will come to recognize that the Civil Rights won during Dr. King’s time came with a heavy price. 

Evelyn Meador Branch Library
Friday, February 21. 4:30 PM

ensemble theater logoI, Barbara Jordan 
presented by the Ensemble Theater

I, Barbara Jordan celebrates the remarkable life and career of the eminent Texas orator, legislator, and teacher. Tracing Barbara Jordan's journey from her childhood in Houston's Fifth Ward neighborhood through her election to the United State Congress, I Barbara Jordan introduces students to a legendary Texas politician who was a model for the power of perseverance. Written by Celeste Bedford Walker and Directed by Eileen J. Morris

Spring Branch Memorial Library
Monday, February 24. 6 PM 

Tommy Terrific’s Wacky Magic: Black Cowboys of the Old West 

In this educational and engaging magic show, audiences will learn about famous black cowboys of the old west through interactive magic tricks. Meet Bill Pickett, who invented bulldogging, Nat Love, an expert roper, and Mary Fields, who delivered mail out West, just to name a few!  This show, which includes audience participation, is designed for kids age 3-12, but will be fun for the whole family.  

Atascocita Branch Library
Monday, February 3. 6:30 PM 

Aldine Branch Library
Tuesday, February 4.10:30 AM
Evelyn Meador Branch Library
Tuesday, February 4. 6:30 PM
Katy Branch Library
Wednesday, Feb. 5. 4:30 PM 
AAHM2020 graphic rooftop saxophone player with neon signs

 Main Street Theater logoSpeak of Me as I Am: A Celebration of African American Contributions to Shakespeare 
presented by Main Street Theater

While many African Americans of yesteryear are well known for contributions to America’s art scene such as Louis Armstrong, Langston Hughes, and Hattie McDaniel, fewer people know about the great black Shakespearian actors of early America. Figures such as Ira Aldridge, Henrietta Vinton Davis, and Paul Robeson may not be household names, but they enthralled audiences with their truth, dignity, and passion, as they embodied characters such as Hamlet, Juliet, Lady Macbeth, and Othello. In this one of a kind reading, actors from Main Street Theater’s Shakespeare for All program will share historic recounts, stories, and of course, scenes and speeches from Shakespeare, in an interactive, audience friendly presentation that reminds us that Shakespeare is indeed, for ALL. Ages 8 and up are recommended, and some volunteers may get to be part of the act!

Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek
Wednesday, February 12, 6:00 PM 
Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library 
Thursday, February 13, 6:30 PM 

hgo logoPreview of World Premiere Opera Marian's Song
(plus writing workshop with librettist Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton and Q&A with Performers
presented by Houston Grand Opera

Join us for a sneak peek into the process creating Marian’s Song, HGO’s 68th world premiere opera, composed by Damien Sneed with libretto by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton. Featuring a writing workshop with Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, and a preview of Marian’s Song. The 60-minute opera is based on the life of Marian Anderson, one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century, who broke racial barriers throughout her storied career. This innovative fusion of opera, spoken word, and multimedia projections debuts in March 2020. 

Lone Star College - CyFair Branch Library
(at Main Stage Theater in the Center for the Arts)
Monday, February 10. 7 - 8:30 PM


Highlight Events

A Little Taste of Soul Food

In honor of African American History Month, Aldine library will provide a small sampling of traditional soul food, the traditional, homecooking cuisine based of the southeast. Please join us on this culinary excursion. This program is sponsored by FABLE (Friends of the Aldine Branch Library Extraordinaire). While food supplies last.

Aldine Branch Library
Saturday, February 8. 2 - 3:30 PM

Preserving Houston's Past: The African American Library at the Gregory School

Learn about the work being done to preserve the history and culture of African Americans in Houston,

West University Branch Library
Tuesday, February 11. 2:30 PM

Celebrating the African American Experience

Come celebrate Black History Month in style!  On Saturday, February 22 at 10 AM, come to the Maud Marks Library to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to our nation’s culture.  We will begin with Bright Stars Touring Theatre presenting “George Washington Carver & Friends”.  Come meet Madame C.J. Walker, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and more!  Then, at 12 noon Jazz Education Inc. will be here to celebrate the historic contribution and achievements of great Americans in music.

Maud Smith Marks Branch Library
Saturday, February 22. 10 AM 

E.B.O.N.Y. African American History Month Read-In

As part of African American History Month, the Barbara Bush Library in partnership with E.B.O.N.Y will be hosting our annual read in. This event will feature author talks, a storyteller for children,  kid's crafts and a visit from the HCPL Curiosity Cruiser! After the author talks, there will be  refreshments and an chance to buy the author's books

Hosted by Barbara Bush Branch Library
at Cypress Creek Church & Community Center
Saturday, February 22. 1 - 3:00 PM

Author Lora-Marie Bernard on "The Yellow Rose of Texas"

Please join us on Friday, February 28 at 10:15 AM as local author Lora-Marie Bernard presents the research from her latest book, The Yellow Rose of Texas: The Song, the Legend and Emily D. West.

This free program is presented with generous support from The Friends of Freeman Library 

Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library
Friday, February 28. 10:15 AM

Meet the Greeks of the National Pan-Hellenic Council

Did you know there were "nine nationally recognized historically black fraternities and sororities? The council's purpose is to promote unity and expose members to the "service for life" philosophy and foster leadership development and scholarship among the Divine Nine chapters which belong to the NPHC." Join us on Sat, February 29th at 3:00 pm to meet the different organizations and hear a history about how they were founded during such a hard time for them. These chapters are from all over the Houston area and would love to teach you more about their organization. Questions and fellowship will be at the conclusion of the program. This event will take place across the parking lot at the Lion's Center. To register, please call 832-927-7890.

Fairbanks Branch Library
Saturday, February 29. 3 - 4:30 PM

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