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Honor Black history this February with these events and activities in central Iowa

From scavenger hunts to film viewings, there's a Black History Month event for everyone. Many of the events are free to the public and fun for the whole family.

DES MOINES, Iowa — February is Black History Month, and there is no better time to celebrate the culture and achievements of Black individuals from Iowa and around the world. 

There are a variety of Black History Month events being held across the Des Moines metro, many of which are free to the public and fun for the whole family.

From scavenger hunts to film viewings, there is something for everyone. Read on to see our full list. 

Don't see an event on the list? Let us know by sending us a message on Facebook, visiting our "Contact Us" page or texting us at 515-457-1026. 

"A Thin But Powerful Difference" exhibit

While this exhibit has been available since November, now is your chance to see it before it leaves the Anderson Gallery for good. Curated by Dr. Lenore Metrick-Chen and the Race/Art Curating class, this exhibit explores issues of race and embodiment. 

  • Where: Anderson Gallery, Drake University
  • When: Through Friday, Feb. 17
    • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12-4 p.m.
    • Thursday: 12-8 p.m.
  • Price: Free

Celebrate Black Artists Scavenger Hunt

Introduce your kids to amazing works of art created by African Americans. Drop into the library to complete the scavenger hunt as a family. Don't forget to sign the champion's log once you're done! 

  • Where: Urbandale Public Library
  • When: Feb. 15-28 during library's open hours
  • Price: Free

Des Moines Community Orchestra Performance

Celebrate Black History Month with sweet symphonic sounds. The Des Moines Community Orchestra's winter concert is being held in honor of Black History Month. The concert will feature the world premiere of "Brother Yasuke: The True Story of the Afro-Samurai" by Josh Henderson. 

  • Where: Sheslow Auditorium, Drake University
  • When: Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. 
    • Pre-concert talk will begin at 1 p.m.
  • Price: Free

Des Moines Public Library Scavenger Hunts

Get out of the cold and into your public library to participate in this Black History Month scavenger hunt. All kids have to do is drop by one of the participating locations, pick up a scavenger hunt from the information desk and complete the game to win a small prize. 

  • Where: Forest Avenue Library, Franklin Avenue Library and South Side Library
  • When: Feb. 7-12 (Forest Avenue), Feb. 14-28 (Franklin Avenue), Feb. 21-28 (South Side)
  • Price: Free

Explore Visual Black History

Visit the Forest Avenue Library to see visual records of Black history, including photo books, graphic novels and more. Feel free to check out any materials that pique your interest.

  • Where: Forest Avenue Library
  • When: Feb. 1-25
  • Price: Free

Iowa's Black Migration Film Presentation

Join the State Historical Society of Iowa and Forest Avenue Library in watching an Iowa History 101 film. This month, genealogist Ricki King, owner of Roots to Branches Genealogy, will chart Iowa's Black history, starting with Iowa's statehood. 

  • Where: Forest Avenue Library
  • When: Tuesday, Feb. 21 (6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.)
  • Price: Free

Iowa Wolves Community Celebration

Honor Black History Month with the Iowa Wolves as they welcome the Texas Legends to Wells Fargo Arena. This event is part of a series of Community Celebrations dedicated to different marginalized communities across Des Moines. 

  • Where: Wells Fargo Arena
  • When: Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
  • Price: $18+

Scraps of African Heritage workshop 

The West Des Moines Public Library and West Des Moines Historical Society welcome historical researcher and fiber artist Kyna Clemons. Event attendees will discover the history of African and African American quilting traditions. After, the audience will be able to construct a small quilt block with colorful African fabrics. 

  • Where: West Des Moines Public Library
  • When: Sunday, Feb. 19 (2:30-3:30 p.m.)
  • Price: Free

"Suspended" at Johnston Public Library

The latest traveling exhibit from the African American Museum of Iowa is now at the Johnston Public Library. The exhibit, titled "Suspended: Systemic Oppression in our Schools", examines the reality of the school-to-prison pipeline and how it disproportionately affects students of color in public schools.

  • Where: Johnston Public Library
  • When: Feb. 4-March 6
  • Price: Free

The Piano Lesson at Des Moines Playhouse

August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" is in Des Moines, just in time for Black History Month. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning play, main character Boy Willie wants to sell a family heirloom in order to come up with money to buy land. However, his plan hits a snag when his sister Berniece rejects the plan. The Des Moines Playhouse calls it "a stunning story of family, legacy and survival". 

  • Where: John Viars Theatre, Des Moines Playhouse
  • When: Feb. 3-Feb. 19
    • Wednesday-Saturday: 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday: 2 p.m.
  • Price: $29+

Tour the Jordan House

The Jordan House is available to tour year round, but February is a perfect time to take advantage of this historical location right here in central Iowa. The Jordan House is one of the oldest structures in Polk County, having once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Make sure to reserve your ticket to see this storied home. 

  • Where: The Jordan House (2001 Fuller Rd, West Des Moines, IA 50265)
  • When: Fridays and Sundays, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Price: $5

ZUZU African Acrobats

If you're looking for a jaw-dropping show, look no further. Hailing from Tanzania, the ZUZU African Acrobats perform ancient traditions of Bantu culture. The show promises to wow audiences with acrobatics, African drumming, singing and dancing and "gravity defying stunts", all in celebration of African culture. 

  • Where: Stephens Auditorium, Iowa State University
  • When: Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.
  • Price: $20+

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