Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Columbia

January 28, 2022

Black History Month is a time to honor and celebrate the Black experience of the past, present and future. This kind of recognition is closely tied to what CA values and what our community so proudly represents, and we are proud to be part of it.

We’re always working to find ways to celebrate the unique perspectives that make up our community  whether it’s through creative expression at the Columbia Art Center, recognizing our rich and diverse history with the Columbia Archives or through multicultural programs. This year’s Black History Month theme is Black Health and Wellness, a topic that’s also central to our organization. You can learn more about this theme on the Association for the Study of African American Life and History website.

Here are some of the ways CA and our community partners are marking Black History Month throughout the month of February: 


New Town Entrepreneurship: Early Black-Owned Businesses in Columbia, 1967-1977

When: February 1-28

Where: Virtual 

Columbia Maryland Archives shares a recap of exhibits from 2019 and 2020, which feature diverse perspectives and insight into the successes and challenges of Black-owned businesses in Columbia and beyond. View here (Note: This link is accessible starting February 1).


Cornelison Exhibit

When: February 1-28

Where: Virtual 

Columbia Maryland Archives presents an exhibit on the papers of Dr. Alice Cornelison, which are held within their collection. Dr. Cornelison provides further dialogue on her thesis, Black College Students: Perceptions of the Effects of Early Integration, which studied the effects of early community and schooling integration in a predominantly white hometown from the perspective of 13 Black college students (some who were from Columbia) at two predominantly White universities. View here (Note: This link is accessible starting February 1).


Treasure Hunt for History: Exploring the Columbia Maryland Archives Digital Catalog

When: February 3

Where: Virtual 

In partnership with Howard County Library System, Archivist Erin Berry will give a virtual tutorial focused on navigating the collections of Columbia Maryland Archives. Berry will guide participants through the search and request process, highlighting the new Black History Month online exhibit and subject guide. Learn more and register here


Celebrating the Art of Self-Care Gallery Show

When: February 10- 28

Where: Columbia Art Center

In celebration of Black History Month, Columbia Art Center Galleries is showcasing the talents of local black artists in a show inspired by the 2022 Black History Month theme, “Black Health and Wellness.” Pieces include overall wellness and inspirations of managing through the pandemic. Learn more here


Living Histories: Rising to Leadership in Howard County

When: February 28, 7-8pm 

Where: Equity Resources Center at the Howard County Central Branch Public Library

In honor of Black History Month, the Columbia Association, the Howard County Center for African American Culture and the Howard County Library System invite you to listen to the personal journeys of Black leaders in our community, including opening remarks from Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive. Hear what pivotal moments led them to lead in their path to public service.

Guest speakers include:

Tonya Aikens, President of the Howard County Public Library System

Dr. C Vernon Gray, First African American Howard County Council

Daria Willis, President of Howard County Community College

Register to attend the event here


Community and Partner Events


Dr. Carter G. Woodson: The Origins and Significance of Black History

When: February 8 and February 15 

Where: Virtual (two-part series)

This two-part virtual series, hosted by the Howard County Library System, will be presented by historian and educator Marcus “Sankofa” Nicks. Over two sessions, he will provide an in-depth history of how Black history began and the life of Dr. Carter G. Woodson who is known as the “Father of Black History.” The series will also include the importance and significance of Black History Knowledge and the positive psychological impact it can have on Mental Health. 

Additional themes explored throughout the series will be historical trauma, resilience of the Black experience and how Black history can be a vehicle to bring all people together from different backgrounds. Register here.

Citizens’ Guide to 1619

When: February 10, 7-8pm

Where: Virtual

Published in 2019, The 1619 Project was a special edition of The New York Times’ Magazine that sought to focus readers’ attention upon the centrality of race slavery in American history, and analyzed how slavery impacted the social, economic, and political institutions in America. In this fascinating talk hosted by the Howard County Library System, Dr. Richard Bell, Professor of History at the University of Maryland, compares and discusses four of The 1619 Project’s central theses with evidence in the historical record. Register here.


Reading Human Rights – Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

When: February 23, 6:30pm

Where: Virtual

Reading Human Rights is a monthly book discussion group hosted by Howard County Library System and facilitated by the Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity. This initiative encourages community dialogue on issues of race, displacement, religious bias, and fosters conversation on how different community’s approach human rights advocacy and community engagement. Attendees will have the opportunity to read and discuss books of varying genres. On February 23, the group will discuss Caste by Isabel Wilkerson as part of the Black History Month offerings from the Office of Human Rights & Equity. Spacing is limited, so reserve your virtual seat today.

The Crown Act: Exploring Race, the Law, & Appearance Discrimination

When: February 24, 12pm

Where: Virtual

The Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity invites you to close out Black History Month with this virtual webinar exploring how African Americans deal with illegal discrimination based on personal appearance, especially concerning their hair texture and style. This one-hour lunch and learn will educate attendees on the history of Black hair and its importance to African American culture, expose the various kinds of discrimination African Americans face because of their hair, as well as illuminate the protections offered to Howard County residents. A discussion moderated by Yolanda F. Sonnier, OHRE Administrator, this webinar promises to be informative and practical. Reserve your virtual seat today.

Undesign the Redline exhibit

When: All month long

Where: Howard County Library System Central Branch

Undesign the Redline explores how the Federal government’s racially explicit policies of determining where White people and Black people could live, from the 1930s to 1968, still matter today. Learn about these policies and their impacts, not only in the 239 cities that were redlined, but also in suburban and rural America (including Howard County).

  • Schedule a private tour for your group by emailing redline@hclibrary.org or calling 410-313-7800.
  • Tour the exhibit on your own: Wednesdays at 11 am and Saturdays at 2 pm.
  • Once you’ve toured, discuss the exhibit in an online or in-person facilitated discussion, happening February 8 and 15 at 7pm. Register at hclibrary.org and click Attend.

Learn more here. 


Share your celebrations on social! 

We’d love to see the ways you’re celebrating Black History Month throughout February. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tag us in your photos and videos with the hashtag #BHMCA. You might just see them shared with our thousands of CA followers to inspire others.

Share this post