Celebrate Black History Month

February is the month when our nation commemorates the struggles and triumphs African Americans have endured throughout our country’s history. First celebrated in 1926, the week was expanded into Black History Month in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial.

In 2016, when speaking about Black History Month, President Barack Obama stated: “It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America. It’s a reminder of where we as a country have been so that we know where we need to go.”

Check out africanamericanhistorymonth.gov and the articles throughout this newsletter for ways you can learn more and participate in the celebration.

Experience Black History Through Word and Song

Wednesday, February 3 & 10 | 6:30 pm | Online
Celebrate Black History Month with this featured Resurrection online experience on Wednesdays, Feb. 3 and 10. Hear dramatic readings from Black authors and poets and enjoy powerful worship music. Led by Resurrection Pastor of Social Justice, Rev. Cheryl Jefferson Bell.  Watch online at cor.org/live

ARJ & KC Friends of Alvin Ailey Present: Courageous Conversations

Monday, February 15 | 5:00 – 6:30 pm | Zoom
  Join ARJ and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey for this timely program featuring media representatives from the Kansas City Star, The Call, The Globe, The Kansas City Business Journal, KCUR and other local media organizations. Nick Haines, Executive Producer of Public Affairs for KCPT Public TV, will moderate. Register in advance for this important webinar.

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

Tuesday, February 16 & 23 | 8 pm Central on PBS

You don’t want to miss this!  
A moving four-hour, two-part series from executive producer, host and writer Henry Louis Gates, Jr., premieres February 16 and 23 on PBS stations nationwide.

It traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America. The documentary reveals the spiritual journeys of Black people, how they brought faith traditions from Africa to the New World, translating them into a form of Christianity uniquely their own – and a redemptive force for our nation’s original sin.  

Plan now to watch and discuss with your family, friends and small groups. For more information about the series, click here: The Black Church | PBS

Black Achievement: Great Ideas & Successes

ARJ is pleased to present occasional articles and stories that spotlight the incredible and often unrecognized contributions by Black Americans. In science, industry, business, education, and the arts, our Black brothers and sisters have made and continue to make historical advancements that deserve our thanks and recognition.

This article, prepared by ARJ member Chris Fain, addresses useful household inventions we often take for granted and the patent controversy that surrounds them. Read the article “Shark Tank in the 1800s: Black Women Reigned in Household Inventions” on the Allies for Racial Justice website.

“Strength to Love” Classes Resume

Tuesdays | 6:30-8 p.m. | February 23 – March 23 on Zoom
Small groups will gather virtually starting this month to explore selected chapters from the Martin Luther King, Jr. book, Strength to Love. This work reveals many of King’s deepest insights about life, good, evil, social justice, and Christian faith. New and existing small groups will read and discuss his writings while considering their relevance today.

The book is available at The Well Book Store and on Amazon.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” Film Screening

Sunday, February 14 | 3 pm | Cinemark Theaters in Merriam, KS

“Judas and the Black Messiah” is a movie about the betrayal and assassination of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Black Panther Party. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield.

This Black History Month Movie & Conversation is presented by Centennial UMC, St. Andrews UMC and St. James UMC. Limited seating, masks required. Questions: contact Pastor Danielle Quinn at dquinn@sjumckc.org or (816) 802.8236

Pre-registration is required and no walk-up registration is allowed.
$6 per ticket (cash only) at the door.
Click here to register.

UMKC 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series: Ibram X. Kendi


Monday, February 15 | 6 pm | Online
Ibram X. Kendi is recognized as one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. His award-winning books include Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist. Join this online discussion sponsored by the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Johnson County Public Library, and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Registration is required and admission is free. Register for the Lecture Here!

Kansas City Public Library Presents: Isabel Wilkerson


Thursday, February 18 | 7 pm | Online

If you haven’t yet read Caste, you really need to! And don’t miss this opportunity to hear author Isabel Wilkerson’s keynote address, followed by a moderated Q&A session. Zoom information will be emailed to all registrants. View the full event details and register here.

More Resources for Black History Month


The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. Check out all these additional resources for more information.