GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Public Library will be celebrating Black History Month with several virtual events starting Feb. 1.
The programming is made possible through collaboration with local organizations, community members, and businesses.
There will be series focused on both education and entertainment, the Taste of Soul, and more. Here is a rundown of everything happening in the month of February.
GRPL’s series of educational and entertaining programming includes:
African American Architects with Isaac V. Norris, AIA, NOMA, LEED-AP
Join us for a two-part lecture on the history of African American architects in the United States. African Americans have contributed to the American landscape of architecture despite many educational and inclusion disparities. One of Grand Rapids’ own preeminent architects, Isaac Norris, will walk us through their storied history.
Community Spotlight: Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB)
In this lunchtime mini-series, learn more about local Black-owned businesses and initiatives. This week, hear about Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) which was founded in 2012 to create awareness and bring visibility to the Black business community. By 2013, it launched as an economic and business development entity to advance economic equity in Grand Rapids. GRABB has been working for the last 8 years empowering the Black business community that is leading to meaningful and beneficial economic growth and sustainability.
Music (NOT) in the Stacks: Edye Evans Hyde
2011 West Michigan Jazz Society Musician of the Year, Edye Evans Hyde has been singing jazz, blues and pop music for over 30 years in West Michigan, Los Angeles, Asia and Europe. Edye has shared the stage with world-renowned blues singer Linda Hopkins, pop singer Michael Bolton, vocalist Maria Muldaur, actress Connie Stevens, the late Ray Charles, and Cuban trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.
Black History Month Storytimes
Hear readings of books featuring Black characters or that are by Black authors. Participate in sing-alongs, and early literacy tips from a GRPL librarian. Tune in weekly on GRPL’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel during the month of February.
Community Spotlight: A City Within A City Film with Victor Williams
This week, hear about how the Grand Rapids Media Initiative & Film Incubator with Grand Stand Pictures and affiliated community partners will soon begin production of a full length documentary film. The film will reveal how the dignity and humanity of the Black community in Grand Rapids persists in overcoming the insidiousness of #ManagerialRacism as defined by author Todd Robinson, in his book A City Within A City: The Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids.
Music (NOT) in the Stacks: Tom Cutts
Tom Cutts is a gifted guitarist, songwriter and singer. Cutts has shared the stage with many notable artists such as: Jessica Reedy, Tasha Page Lockhart, Marvin Sapp, Al Green, Angela Christie, Shirley Caesar, Andre Crouch, James Cleveland, and others.
Ebony Road Players Present ‘Anne and Emmett’
GRPL presents a virtual presentation of “Anne and Emmett.” In this imaginative stage play, Anne Frank and Emmett Till meet in a place called “Memory” to share accounts of their lives and deaths.
Community Spotlight: We Are Lit GR with Kendra McNeil
This week discover We Are LIT, an independent, multicultural bookshop based in Grand Rapids, selling new, diverse books across all genres.
Music (NOT) in the Stacks: Karisa Wilson
Karisa Wilson is an award winning singer-songwriter from Michigan. Her debut album “Little Girl” won the WYCE’s Album of the Year Jammie, one of Michigan’s most prestigious indie music awards. Karisa writes and performs a blend of indie folk, jazz and blues. She is also a classically trained violinist.
Taste of Soul Sunday
We’re taking our popular Taste of Soul Sunday event online! Enjoy a series of virtual events and enjoy our Taste of Soul Sunday Restaurant Showcase.
Join GRPL for an intimate talk with Shannon Cohen 7 family on life, resilience, and surviving a pandemic.
A self-professed “Funkateer”, Serita Crowley of Serita’s Black Rose from Grand Rapids, Michigan brings a raucous mix of FUNK, ROCK, BLUES, NEO-SOUL, and AMERICANA. Serita, along with her partner Jon Hayes are at its core, performing together for nearly two decades.
Community Spotlight: Luxe Artisan Preserves with Kimberly Marie
In this lunchtime mini-series, learn more about local Black-owned businesses and initiatives.
This week discover Luxe Artisan Preserves, who offers a collection of small-batch, hand-crafted preserves infused with herbs and alcohol.
Music (NOT) in the Stacks: Jordan Hamilton
Jordan Hamilton, cellist of Last Gasp Collective and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, merges songwriting, loop pedals, sample machines, and vocals to create a sonic landscape of experimental hip-hop, folk, soul, and classical music.
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