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Black History Month

Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month at your Milwaukee Public Library with free programs for all ages.


Entertainment | Discussions | African American Book Talks  
Read-Ins | For Families | Crafts



Black Male Suffrage in Wisconsin

Monday, February 17, 6-7 p.m.
Central Library, Krug Rare Books Room

University of Wisconsin Department of Afro-American Studies Professor Christy Clark-Pujara presents the history of African American voting rights in Wisconsin, including Wisconsinites’ defiance of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law and the political marginality faced by early black Wisconsinites.


The Spirit of Bronzeville

Saturday, February 29, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Central Library, Krug Rare Books Room

Dr. Sandra Jones from the UW-Milwaukee Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, has interviewed African Americans born in Milwaukee between 1920 and 1940 to learn what life was like in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville. She will share information on Milwaukee’s earliest African American residents and how neighborhood boundaries were established.



Book Jacket Bingo

Saturday, February 1, 2-3 p.m.
East Branch

Thursday, February 13, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Villard Square Branch

Celebrate the accomplishments of Black authors and discover new favorites as you play Bingo!

Black History Jeopardy

Tuesday, February 18, 5-7 p.m.
Washington Park

Learn more about Black history while playing America’s favorite answer and question game.

The Crossroads North: Paramount Records and the History of the Blues

Saturday, February 22, 2-3 p.m.
Martin Luther King Branch

Hear amazing tunes and learn the history of the Paramount Music Association, at one time the place for dozens of jazz and blues artists of the 1920s to 1930s, located in Grafton, Wisconsin.



What Does Black History Mean to Me?

Tuesday, February 4, 6-7 p.m.
Washington Park Branch

Learn more about America’s prominent and lesser known black leaders and share what Black History means to you.

Book Discussions*

*Both at Tippecanoe Branch

Thursday, February 13, 5-6 p.m.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Thursday, February 27, 5-6 p.m.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson


Saturday, February 1, 1:30-3 p.m.
Center Street Branch

Take part in the 2020 African American Read-In by attending this program featuring three Milwaukee authors.

Paul Wellington will discuss his book Black Built: History and Architecture in the Black Community which explores more than 40 works by black architects and their influence in the Black Community.

Eva Duncan will discuss her book Chosen by Design, which she wrote to allow the reader to become in tune with why we exist.

Clarene Mitchell will discuss her book Shine Online with LinkedIn, a hybrid novel and instructional book that provides a friendly guide to understanding and using LinkedIn effectively.


Black History Month Read-In with Ald. Milele Coggs

Wednesday, February 12, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Branch

Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs invites families to get to know local African American history makers and learn about a variety of children's African American literature during Book Jacket Bingo. Craft included. Light refreshments will be served.

MPL Staff-led Read-Ins

Wednesday, February 12, 6-7:30 p.m.
Bay View Branch

Saturday, February 15, 10-11 a.m.
Washington Park Branch

Thursday, February 20, 1-3 p.m.
Capitol Branch

Monday, February 24, 6-7 p.m.
Atkinson Branch

Saturday, February 29, 12:30-1 p.m.
Central Library

Browse Black History Month titles and read in the library.

Friday, February 7, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Villard Square Branch



Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

Join Blk-Art*History & Culture for this classic African folktale by Verna Aardema and create an art project.

Tuesday, February 4, 5-6:30 p.m.
Villard Square Branch

Monday, February 10, 4-5:30 p.m.
Atkinson Branch

Saturday, February 22, 1-2:30 p.m.
Tippecanoe Branch

Tuesday, February 25, 3-4:30 p.m.
Center Street Branch

A History of Jazz in America

Tuesday, February 11, 5-6:30 p.m.
Villard Square Branch

Celebrate Black History Month with jazz enthusiast Carol V. Johnson and the music of jazz greats like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Wynton Marsalis, as well as great singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn. See classic vinyl jazz albums, listen to live music, and enjoy light refreshments



Harlem Renaissance Workshop with Keepsake Art Project

Saturday, February 1, 1-2:30 p.m.
Atkinson Branch

Learn about African American artists during the Harlem Renaissance with Blk-Art*History & Culture and make an African Mask greeting card using African fabrics, real beads, and high quality cardstock and paper.

Milwaukente: Community Block Printing

Tuesdays, February 4, 11, 18, 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Branch

Seating is limited.
Registration required; call 414.286.3011 or register online.

Local artist Rosy Petri will help you create your own one-of-a-kind print linoleum block at this free, four-week workshop for adults. The workshop provides insight on traditional African fabrics and designs while allowing participants to create personal designs. Learn about the history of block printing and how to design, carve and print on paper and fabric. Each participant will take home greeting cards and their own piece of Milwaukente cloth. Sponsored by Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, Inc.

All Ages Coloring

Wednesday, February 5, 5-6 p.m.
Center Street Branch

Coloring isn’t just for kids! Celebrate Black History Month with coloring sheets featuring historic African American leaders. Art supplies will be provided.

Book to Art Club

Tuesday, February 25, 6-7 p.m.
East Branch

Engage with popular literature in a hands-on, imaginative way. Discuss Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles while working on an art project inspired by the story. No registration required; while supplies last.