Celebrating Black History in Indianapolis | Places to Visit & Black History Month Activities for Your Family

The month of February marks Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month; a month that highlights the achievements and history of the African Diaspora. Black History month emphasizes the accomplishments and gives voice to the history of Black Americans.

Although education and recognition of African American achievements and history does and should happen throughout the year, the month of February offers a unique celebration with events held around the city of Indianapolis. By honoring the contributions of African Americans we remember the impact and history of African Americans in our community.

Indy with Kids invites you and your family to participate in a wide variety of events around the city to celebrate the contributions and history of African Americans in our city.

Places to Visit for Black History in Indianapolis

Madam Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue

Around the time that Madam C. J. Walker came to Indianapolis, Indiana Avenue was the hub for African-American culture and business in the city. Madam Walker, America’s first female self made millionaire, was a pioneering entrepreneur and fervent social activist. The very spot where Madam Walker built her beauty product empire is now the home of the Madam Walker Legacy Center and Madam Walker Theater. The building has been under extensive renovation in recent years.

Black Lives Matter Mural

While visit the Madam Walker Legacy Center, take a stroll down Indiana Avenue to look at the Black Lives Matter Mural. Each letter, including the “#” and the first, were done by a different Indianapolis artist. With each letter, contemplate that artist’s vision of equality. Explore what the mural means to your kids. For extra credit, several of the artists will be featured on Meet the Artists XXXIII through the Indianapolis Public Library. The mural is situated just north of the Center, on Indiana Avenue. There is plenty of street parking available in the area.

Madam Walker Art at The Alexander Hotel

The Alexander is a newish upscale hotel located at 333 South Delaware Street in downtown Indianapolis. The hotel is known for it’s stunning architecture, luxurious rooms, and extensive collections of art pieces. On the second floor living room, you will find a comb & steel portrait of Madam C.J. Walker, made by African-American Artist and Professor, Sonya Clark.

You Are There 1915 – Madam C.J. Walker, Empowering Women | Indiana Historical Society

The You Are There exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society puts your right in Madam C.J. Walker’s Indianapolis factory at the height of her success in 1915. Learn about her methods and products, and the friends and family that supported her and her successful hair care business. Explore her successes and failures as black, woman entrepreneur in the early 1900’s and the impact she had on the Indianapolis community.

Kennedy-King Landmark for Peace Monument & MLK Park

On the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Senator Robert Kennedy delivered a powerful speech about unity and justice. MLK park now stands on the spot where Senator Kennedy made his historic remarks and the park is home to the Kennedy-King Landmark for Peace Monument. There are many historic markers around the park—the park is part of the National Parks Service, African-American Civil Rights Network—and also a playground for the littles.

Crispus Attucks Museum

The Crispus Attucks Museum is housed with the Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet School at 1140 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street in Indianapolis. The high school was opened in 1927 as Indianapolis’ first all black high school and named for the Revolutionary War hero, Crispus Attucks. Not will you learn about the impact of the school, the museum also honors two centuries of black culture and heritage in Indianapolis and beyond. Visiting and tours are available by appointment only.

Through 2 Eyes Walking Tour

Through2Eyes is an historical “walk & talk” program offered in various locations around the city, in areas where black history was made and shaped Indianapolis. Storyteller Sampson Levingston leads the walking tours, sharing tales of Indianapolis history often overlooked. His passionate storytelling immediately draws you in, but his knowledge and research of his topics leave you awestruck. Location, date, and topics change, but there are usually 3-4 walks a month. 

Center for Black Literature & Culture | Indianapolis Public Library

The Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) is located in the Central Library at 40 E St Clair Street in Indianapolis. The CBLC is a place of celebration of black culture and heritage, featuring art and information about prominent contributions in black culture, including activism, literature, science, sports, business, and music. The CBLC also host many events throughout the year, including Meet the Artists XXXIII—the annual exhibit of local African American artists through the month of February.

Black History Month Events in Indianapolis

Black History Month Celebration at TCM

February 6, 2021, 4-8 pm
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

In honor of African American heritage and achievements, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will hold a special $6 First Thursday celebration with special programming throughout the museum. The artists’ of the Black Lives Matter mural on Indiana Avenue will be on hand to discuss how and why they created the Indianapolis street mural, and storyteller Portia Jackson will share stories from the Civil Rights Movement. Also check out special programming “Women Changing the World program inside BarbieTMYou Can Be AnythingTM: The Experience exhibit and “Making WAVES—Social Justice in Action” program inside The Power of Children: Making a Difference® exhibit.

Meet the Artists XXXIII

January 28-March 31, 2021
Virtual through the Indianapolis Public Library

This annual event has gone virtual for 2021! The art of several prominent local African American artists will be on exhibit, as well as several virtual programs throughout the month of February. All videos will be available on the Library’s Facebook and YouTube. This is the 33rd anniversary for this event. Visit the Indianapolis Public Library website for more information and schedule.

Rosa Parks: A Life in Activism

Thursday, February 4 at 2 pm
Virtual through the Indianapolis Public Library (Registration is required.)

In honor of Rosa Parks’ 108th birthday, learn more about Parks’ life and her strategic work for racial justice. Visiting Professor Leslie K. Etienne, Ph.D. of IUPUI will join the discussion. This event is being held as an online webinar, you must register to attend.

Under the Interstate: Highway Displacement in Indianapolis

Tuesday, February 23 at 6:30 pm
Virtual through the Indianapolis Public Library (Registration is required.)

Learn more about the history of interstate construction through Indianapolis from the late 1950s-1970s. Professor Paul R. Mullins, Professor from IUPUI, will discus the grassroots resistance to the highway displacement. This event is being held as an online webinar, you must register to attend.

Art & Soul 2021 (virtual)

February 2-26, 2021
Virtually WISH-TV & the Arts Council of Indianapolis

Art & Soul is the The Arts Council of Indianapolis celebration of Black History Month through a series of  daily performances and events. Performances are daily, Tuesday-Saturday. While this event is normally held in the Indianapolis Artsgarden, this year Art & Soul will be virtual. At 12:15 pm on performance days, one song will be played on WISH-TV (locally in Indianapolis) and full performances will be on the Art & Soul website. For a calendar or performances, visit the Arts Council of Indianapolis website.

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