Celebrating Black History Month in the South Bay

Image of PHILADANCO!, courtesy of San Jose State University.

Black History Month events are happening all across the South Bay. Keep reading to check out what celebrations, performances, and other happenings you can attend in honor of Black History Month before February comes to a close. 

From the Eyes of Mary McLeod Bethune: a one-act play

Saturday, February 18 from 12-1pm

King Library, 150 E San Fernando St, San Jose

From the Eyes of Mary McLeod Bethune, conceived by Sharon Moore and directed by Viera Whye, explores the history of the Black community from slavery to freedom. The one-act play will be performed by TABIA African American Theater Ensemble and put together in collaboration with San Jose Public Library, San Jose State University Library, and San Jose State’s Department of African American Studies. No tickets or pre-registration required. Learn more here.


Thursday and Friday, February 16 & 17 at 7:30pm

Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose

The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!) was founded in 1970 to provide performance opportunities for Black dancers who were historically denied entrance to many local dance schools and professional outlets. The company has since blossomed into a professional dance company and is recognized across the world for its artistry and performances. In honor of Black History Month, the legendary company is coming to the Hammer Theatre. Purchase your tickets here.

Black Mardi Gras Cultural Celebration

Tuesday, February 21 from 5-6:30pm

Hillview Library, 1600 Hopkins Drive, San Jose

The San Jose Public Library invites the community to join a discussion on traditional Mardi Gras celebrations in the Black community and the history of those celebrations. The library will provide festive beads and attendees will have the chance to make masks and enjoy a mini parade. No tickets or pre-registration required. Learn more here.

Black Cab Jazz: Orrin Evans Trio

Wednesday, February 22 at 7pm

Hammer4Studio, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose

Hammer Theatre Center is closing out its Black Cab Jazz series on a high note with the Orrin Evans Trio, known for their signature blend of swinging, blues-infused hardcore jazz and spiritual jazz traditions. Emmy-nominated pianist and composer Evans will be accompanied by Grammy-winning bassist Eric Revis and well-regarded drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith. Purchase your tickets here.

Center for Literary Arts of San Jose: Hanif Abdurraqi

Thursday, February 23 at 7pm

Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose

The Center for Literary Arts of San Jose is hosting Hanif Abdurraquib, a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio for a discussion and Q&A. Abdurraquib will be interviewed by Dr. Khalid White, African American Studies professor at San Jose City College, owner of multi-media company Blkmpwr, and co-founder of the Pipelines to Possibilities program. Learn more about the interviewer and interviewee here and reserve your free spot here.

Celebrate Black History Month with San Jose State University

Times and dates vary

Locations vary

San Jose State University has a full calendar of events through the end of the month in honor of Black History Month. This year’s theme is Black Resistance. Explore and celebrate Black History Month: Black Resistance with social media classes, art shows, special speakers and community discussions. Learn more about what events are happening here

Support San Jose Black Owned Restaurants

San Jose native and community activist Mary Celestin is partnering with the City of San Jose to share insight from her viral illustrated guide. Let’s Get to Work, San Jose! shares ways locals and visitors can support the Black Community. The City of San Jose is currently showcasing Mary’s favorite Black-owned regional restaurants to check out this month and beyond. Learn more about the South Bay’s Black-owned restaurants https://www.sanjose.org/blog/black-owned-restaurants.