February is Black History Month, an annual tribute honoring the triumphs and challenges of African Americans throughout U.S. history. Originating in 1926 as "National Negro Week," it evolved into a month-long celebration in 1976, emphasizing the richness of Black culture, history and contributions. This Black History Month, Mobile will showcase a myriad of events, organizations and attractions. Notably, Mobile continues to address its historical ties to the slave trade, which continues to foster a dialogue on accountability and understanding. Explore the opportunities below to discover uplifting events that highlight Black History Month and further celebrate our city’s commitment to acknowledging and celebrating African American heritage.
Nestled near downtown Mobile, the Africatown Heritage House stands as a testament to resilience and cultural preservation. This poignant museum features the rich history of Africatown, a close-knit community founded by the survivors of the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to illegally bring enslaved men, women and children to the United States in 1860. Inside the museum, visitors will be immersed in the Clotilda exhibit, which precisely details the harrowing journey of those enslaved and the eventual establishment of Africatown. As guests walk through this exhibit, they will gain profound insights into the strength, courage, heritage and enduring legacy of the Africatown community, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking to connect with an essential chapter of American history. Also, the Africatown Heritage House was just recognized by USA TODAY’s “2024 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award” as one of the 10 Best New Museums.
The Spirit of our Ancestors Festival is a day set aside to celebrate the 110 captives aboard Clotilda. Celebrated annually in February in honor of Black History Month, the festival consists of drumming, a libation ceremony, family stories, a keynote speaker and the play An Ocean in my Bones by award-winning playwright Terrance Spivey.
2024 Festival: February 3-4, Africatown, USA
Historical Avenue Cultural Center
As one of the newest museums on the scene, the Historical Avenue Cultural Center has undoubtedly added to Mobile’s cultural landscape. Initially known as the Davis Avenue branch of the Mobile Public Library, the building served as an educational hub for Mobile's Black community during the era of segregation. Following desegregation, the library transformed and emerged as the National African American Archives in 1992. In 2018, the Mobile County Commission breathed new life into the building with fresh renovations and exhibits. On October 4, 2023, it reopened as the Historical Avenue Cultural Center. Currently, the Alabama Contemporary Art Center “REMEMBERING THE AVENUE” exhibit is on display at the Historical Avenue Cultural Center until December 2024.
Throughout the month of February, the City of Mobile's Parks & Recreation department will be curating a series of engaging events every Thursday to honor and celebrate Black History Month. Aligned with the 2024 theme, "African Americans & the Arts," these events are a vibrant exploration of various art forms. From visual and performing arts to culinary arts, the events aim to delve deeper into the profound influence of African Americans on the artistic landscape. Each gathering promises to be both educational and entertaining, offering a dynamic platform to appreciate and reflect on the impact of African American contributions to the world of arts.
Explore Mobile’s rich Black history by strolling the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail. The trail takes you on an immersive journey through significant landmarks such as the Creole Fire Station, Michael Donald Avenue and Satchel Paige’s childhood home. This experience will share stories of resilience, achievements and other relevant moments in Mobile’s history. Guests will have the option to tour points of interest in the downtown area independently or on a private chartered tour.
Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association
With our beloved Mardi Gras celebrated alongside Black History Month, February will be full of celebrations. An organization that educates while letting the good times roll is the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA). Founded in 1938, this esteemed society has played a pivotal role in shaping and preserving the cultural richness of Mobile's Mardi Gras traditions. Today, MAMGA has grown to become one of the largest predominantly Black Mardi Gras associations. In Mobile, MAMGA is renowned for organizing grand parades, elegant balls and community events that captivate both locals and visitors. Beyond the glittering floats and dazzling costumes, the association actively engages in charitable initiatives that contribute to the community's well-being. As a pillar of the city's festive legacy, MAMGA continues to blend the magic of Mardi Gras into Mobile's cultural identity.
Throughout February and beyond, Mobile celebrates Black history and culture all year long! Stay tuned for upcoming developments, events and exhibits.