The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History Culture honors Black History Month with a myriad of programs for the public and museum visitors. “Finding Common Ground” will be the feature event at the Rasmuson Theater of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian with museum directors Lonnie G. Bunch III (African American Museum) and Kevin Gover (American Indian Museum). In celebration of Black History Month, the museum’s social media campaign will highlight military history.
On Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 9 p.m., NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will discuss his latest book, Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court in the Oprah Winfrey Theater. Written especially for young readers, Becoming Kareem explores Abdul-Jabbar’s effort to establish his life’s purpose and identity. Copies of his book will be available for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Enterprises. Tickets are free, but guests should register in advance throughwww.etix.com.
On Thursday, Feb. 15, from 3 to 5 p.m., the museum will collaborate with the National Museum of the American Indian for the symposium Finding Common Ground. Moderated by Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered, this program will explore the complex, sometimes fraught, history of African Americans and Native Americans and how the two communities’ intertwined stories have become an essential part of the American identity. Speakers include Bunch and Gover with Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation), Tiya Miles and Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche). The discussion will take place in the Rasmuson Theater of the National Museum of the American Indian. Seating is first come, first seated.
On Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 5 p.m., the museum will collaborate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and Discovery Theater for Taking the Stage—Cramton, 1961: A Staged Reading + Discussion. Cramton, 1961, a new original play written by Smithsonian scholar Christopher Wilson and directed by Smithsonian Associates’ Discovery Theater director Roberta Gasbarre, centers on the debate in Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium between Baynard Rustin and Malcolm X. Tickets are free, but guests should register in advance through www.etix.com.
The museum will commemorate the 150th birthday of William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois Thursday, Feb. 22, 2–4 p.m., with Cinema + Conversation: W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four. This special screening of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices in the Oprah Winfrey Theater includes a discussion with the film’s director Louis Massiah. Narrated by Wesley Brown, Thulani Davis, Toni Cade Bambara and Amiri Baraka, the film offers unique insight into Du Bois, who was born three years after the end of the Civil War, witnessed the imposition of Jim Crow and saw its defeat by the civil rights movement. Tickets are free, but guests should register in advance through www.etix.com.
Black History Month celebrations conclude with Historically Speaking: A Lifetime in Photographs With Adger Cowans Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7–9 p.m. Curators Aaron Bryant and Tuliza Fleming will join Adger Cowans for a conversation in the Oprah Winfrey Theater featuring visuals from Cowans’ extensive photography archives. A book signing of Cowans’ Personal Vision: Photographs will follow the presentation. Tickets are free, but guests should register in advance through www.etix.com.
Sweet Home Café Special Menu and Events
The James Beard Award-nominated restaurant Sweet Home Café has created a special menu for Black History Month to honor African American culinary legends. The museum will also host programs with African American chefs for visitors inside the museum. See the museum’s same-day-entry options for access to the Sweet Home Café at www.nmaahc.si.edu.
Friday, Feb. 2; 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.—The café will present Cook’s Corner: The Women Behind the Sweet Home Café. This special presentation features the culinary team that prepares the Sweet Home Café’s daily menu, including Chef Tala Dipasquale and Chef Dion Allen who will explore their passion for food and answer visitor questions about the Sweet Home Café’s favorite recipes.
Friday, Feb. 9; 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.—Sweet Home Café’s Culinary Ambassador, celebrity Chef Carla Hall, and renowned pastry Chef Padua Player, a.k.a. the “Suga Chef,” will host Sweet Home Café: Chef’s Station—a special greeting event.
Friday, Feb. 16; 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.—Chef Mallory Bowen (Sweet Home Café) and Chef Angel Berto (The Source by Wolfgang Puck) will share their passion for food and answer culinary questions at Sweet Home Café: Chef’s Station.
The last Sweet Home Café: Chef’s Station will be held Friday, Feb. 23; 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.—Chef Rodney Frazer and Chef Susan Frankson of the Brownsville Community Culinary Center in Brooklyn, New York, will discuss their love of food.