Celebrating Black History Month in Kansas City

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At EarlystART, we believe in the transformative power of education to shape young minds, inspire future leaders, and create the change we want to see. Black History Month provides a valuable opportunity to come together as a community to not only celebrate the rich tapestry of Black history and culture, but also encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of its incredible influence in our world. 

The first five years of a child’s life are the most formative, and immersing children in diverse perspectives and experiences is critical to EarlystART’s philosophy. During Black History Month, (and every month really!) a great opportunity arises to amplify the incredible leaders within the Black community. Furthermore, the month-long celebration encourages intentional engagement of children in conversations about the many contributions, struggles, and achievements of African Americans throughout history. By starting these conversations early, we plant the seeds for a more inclusive, equitable, and compassionate future.

At EarlystART, many of these conversations begin with a children’s book! Within the simple language and vibrant illustrations, there are important lessons in loving yourself and loving others. Students see themselves represented in stories about appreciating differences and finding your place in the world, and they are eager to ask questions and make connections to their own lives and experiences, even at a young age. 

EarlystART students and families will get the chance to explore some of these stories further at the African American Cultural Heritage Night on Thursday, February 29th! Local Kansas City children’s book authors Dayonne Necole, Christle Reed, and Aja LaStarr will be joining us at St. Mark Center to perform readings of their books: Our Gift Grace, I Can Be Me In KC, and Rock What You Got. Families can also enjoy a reading by our very own infant and toddler teachers, of Crystal Everett’s book, Mari and Mommy Move It

If you are looking for more child friendly events and opportunities to celebrate Black History Month with your family right here in Kansas City, you’re in luck! Whether it be attending an exciting performance, exploring museums, or participating in workshops, there’s something for everyone. Find a few of these opportunities listed below:

American Jazz Museum | Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, MO, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits and films, the Changing Gallery exhibit space, Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center, The Blue Room, and Gem Theater. Since its inception in September 1997, the Museum hosts thousands of students, scholars, musicians and fans of the arts for over 200 performances, education programs, special exhibitions, community events and more each year, providing an opportunity to learn about the legends, honor their legacy, or simply enjoy the sounds of modern day jazz.

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey – Setting the Stage | Setting the Stage is a unique multi-media program that combines live dance performances with pictures, and narration starting with the Middle Passage and continuing through present day. Created, directed, and choreographed by KCFAA’s Chief Artistic Officer Tyrone Aiken, Setting the Stage is an exciting visual journey through African American dance history. Setting the Stage is performed by talented local and national artists and provides insights into the history and legacies of African American pioneers in minstrels, jazz dance, ballet, Afro-Caribbean and Modern – including Katherine Dunham and Alvin Ailey.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum | The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America. The privately funded, 501 c3, not-for-profit organization was established in 1990 and is in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri’s Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. The NLBM operates two blocks from the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster established the Negro National League in 1920.

African American Heritage Trail | Embark on a journey through Kansas City’s rich African American history by following the online African American Heritage Trail. Visit significant landmarks and learn about key events and figures that have shaped the city’s cultural landscape, all without leaving the comfort of your home. 

Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City | The mission of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, Inc. is to collect, preserve and make available to the public materials documenting the social, economic, political and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States, with particular emphasis in the Kansas City, Missouri region. Black Archives of Mid-America is an educational resource and provides access to its collections for research, exhibition and publication to honor our community heritage and to catalyze public awareness.

Mid-Continent Public Library – Black History Month Events & Programs | Black History Month is a celebration of the accomplishments by Black and African Americans and a tribute to the adversities they face in our nation’s history and present. Learn more about the contributions of Black artists and musicians, inventors and scientists, educators, athletes, and more through resources and events at Mid-Continent Public Library. 

African American Cultural Heritage Night at EarlystART | Join us in celebrating & honoring African American culture at the African American Cultural Heritage Night on Thursday, February 29th from 5:30 – 7PM at EarlystART-St. Mark Center! We’ll have children’s book readings by local African American authors, a puppet making station, delicious food, AND a special performance!

As we celebrate Black History Month at EarlystART, we invite our families and community to join us in honoring the past, celebrating the present, and shaping a more inclusive future. By engaging in these activities and conversations, we not only pay tribute to the resilience and achievements of African Americans but also empower our children to become agents of positive change in the world. Together, we can create a world the way we dream it to be: diverse, inclusive, and equitable.