Black History Month Events – 2019

Black History Month is celebrated every year in February and honors the contributions to the country made by African Americans. Below is a list of events in the Baton Rouge area commemorating Black History Month. Events are arranged by date.

Louisiana Digital Media Archive

During Black History Month, the Louisiana Digital Media Archive (LDMA) is highlighting videos about Louisiana history during the period of slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement.

LDMA is highlighting the following videos:

  • Solomon Northrup & 12 Years a Slave (1853)
    • Learn more about the story of Solomon Northup and the publication of his memoir, 12 Years a Slave, which details his life as a slave in Louisiana.
  • Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
    • In this clip from Louisiana: A History, take a look at the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on slaves and free people of color in Louisiana during the Civil War.
  • Louisiana Native Guards at Port Hudson (1863)
    • In this clip from Louisiana: A History, learn more about the Louisiana Native Guards, the first officially sanctioned African Americans sworn into the United States Army during the Civil War.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
    • In this clip from Louisiana: A History, learn more about the origins of this landmark Supreme Court case in New Orleans and its role in upholding segregationist laws through the doctrine of “separate but equal.”
  • Rosenwald Schools
    • Learn more about the history of the Rosenwald Schools, which were built to educate African Americans during segregation, and the donation of one of the schools to the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville.
  • Louisiana’s First Black Nurses
    • See the story of these pioneering black nurses, who worked at the Four South unit of Baton Rouge General Hospital, the only hospital unit available to black nurses and patients during the 1950s.
  • Baton Rouge’s Troubled Waters
    • View this 2008 LPB documentary which explores the close ties of the African American community in Baton Rouge and the challenges they faced during segregation.
  • Baton Rouge Bus Boycott (1953)
    • Watch the 2004 LPB documentary, Signpost to Freedom, which chronicles the circumstances and events that led to the nation’s first large-scale bus boycott protesting segregation.
  • Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
    • View the 1983 LPB documentary, With All Deliberate Speed, which examines the 30-year history of school desegregation efforts in Louisiana following this landmark Supreme Court decision.
  • Baton Rouge Sit-Ins (1960)
    • See a story on the Southern University students who participated in the sit-ins at the Kress Department Store, Sitman’s Drug Store, and the Greyhound Bus Station in Baton Rouge in 1960.
  • Integration of the New Orleans Public Schools (1960)
    • Watch an interview with Ruby Bridges recounting the day she integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans under the guard of federal marshals.
  • Plaquemine Civil Rights Demonstration (1963)
    • See the story of a Civil Rights demonstration on September 1, 1963, in Plaquemine (three days after the March on Washington) that turned violent when state troopers stormed the old Plymouth Rock Baptist Church on horseback with the aid of teargas to look for James Farmer, the founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
  • Bogalusa Civil Rights March (1967)
    • View several reports on the 105-mile march from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge, which was organized by civil rights activist A.Z. Young.

Click here for more stories and interviews with black Louisianans who have made historical contributions to the state.

Click here for videos.

River Road African American Museum

The River Road African American Museum (RRAAM) is hosting a series of screenings for a video produced from the efforts of the River Road African Burial Grounds Coalition honoring the lives of slaves buried in the Bruslie Plantation Cemetery and the Monroe Plantation Cemetery in Ascension Parish.

The cemeteries, located on Shell Oil’s property, were found in 2013 during a survey of the property near Shell’s refinery in Convent. After the discovery, Shell commissioned an archaeological and genealogical study that found as many as 1,000 slaves are buried there in unmarked graves.

In 2017, RRAAMM, descendants of the slaves buried at these cemeteries, and Shell formed the coalition to preserve, protect, and acknowledge these cemeteries.

Then in 2018, a memorial was held at the ruins of the Tezcuco Plantation on Shell’s Convent property.

Video screenings will be held at the following dates, time, and locations:

Tuesday, Feb. 5
Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC)
1:30 p.m.
201 Community College Dr.
Louisiana Boardroom in Louisiana Building
Baton Rouge

Friday, Feb. 15
River Parish Community College (RPCC)
1 p.m.
925 West Edenborne Pkwy.
Multi-Purpose Room – #141

Tuesday, Feb. 19
Southern University A & M
4 p.m.
E St.
Cotillion Ballroom in the Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
Baton Rouge

Friday, Feb. 22
River Parish Community College (RPCC)
1 p.m.
181 Regala Par Rd.
Media Room – #K303

Saturday, Feb. 23
River Parish Community College (RPCC)
6 p.m.
181 Regala Par Rd.
Media Room – #K303

Click here for more from the River Road African American Museum.

You Can Aspire to Be...

Date: Thursday, Feb. 7

Time: 11 a.m., reception to follow

Location: Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Ln.

In celebration of Black History Month, a commissioned piece of artwork by nationally acclaimed artist and Louisiana native, Ted Ellis, will be unveiled and dedicated at the Louisiana State Archives. The piece is called You Can Aspire to Be… and recently traveled across the state for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month. Ellis presented copies of the artwork to the African American mayors of five of Louisiana’s biggest cities.

Speakers will include the artist, Rep. Randal Gaines, D-Laplace, Tim Burke, Rod Tearner, and Bill Oliver.

Click here to learn more about the artist, Ted Ellis.

Port Allen Black History Month Parade

Date: Saturday, Feb. 9

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: William and Lee Park, 1631 Louisiana Ave.

Port Allen is hosting its annual Black History Month Parade. The route is as follows:

  • Begins at William and Lee Park
  • Heads east to N Alexander, turns right
  • Heads south to California Avenue, turns right
  • Heads west to N 14th Street, turns right
  • Heads north to Louisiana Avenue, turns left
  • Heads west back to William and Lee Park

Southern University

Southern University in Baton Rouge is hosting several events in February to commemorate Black History Month. Events are scheduled as follows:

An Evening at the Cotton Club

Date: Monday, Feb. 11 through Tuesday, Apr. 30

Time: 7 to 11:30 p.m.

Location: Southern University Museum of Art

Romare Bearden is a famous African American artist who was popular during the Harlem Renaissance.

Heart Full of Fitness

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 12

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: SU Intramural Center

Due to the large number of African Americans suffering from heart disease, the Intramural Center is hosting a heart health forum.

My Perspective on the Intersection of Law & Justice

Date: Monday, Feb. 25

Location: Southern University Law Center

The Civil Rights Institute is hosting a forum featuring Jena 6 member, Theo Shaw. He will speak on poverty, law, justice, courts, race, sentencing, and mass incarceration.

SLU Lecture Series

The Department of History and Political Science at SLU is hosting a free lecture series in honor of Black History Month. All lectures are open to the public.

The first lecture, Obstruction: African American Golfers and Southern Resistance in the Twilight of Jim Crow, will be given by Chad Duffaut on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. in SLU’s Student Union Theatre.

“One of the most underappreciated narratives of the Civil Rights Movement involves the sport of golf and the fight for equal access to proper facilities,” said Department Head of History and Political Science Bill Robison. “To African American golfers, this fight represented an opportunity to take the next step in changing a broken system and erasing the cruel and unjust life of Jim Crow.”

The second lecture, entitled African Philosophy: Past and Future, will be presented by Peter Gratton on Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the Pottle Music Auditorium.

“For too long, Africans were thought not to have cultural beliefs or even simply ‘tribal religions,’” said Robison. “This talk demonstrates quickly just how false (and racist) this view is. First, Dr. Gratton quickly reviews the major trends in African philosophy, then discusses where the future of this set of philosophical traditions appears to be heading.”

And the final lecture, Mary Seacole: Breaking all Boundaries in the Victorian Age, will be delivered by Samantha Cavell Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the Student Union Theatre.

“For more than a century, the story of Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse and who aided thousands of British soldiers on the front lines of the Crimean War, was lost in the long shadows cast by her rival, Florence Nightingale,” Robinson explained. “But Mary Seacole’s remarkable journey from traditional healer and specialist in tropical medicine to beloved ‘mother’ of the troops at Sevastopol stands as tribute to her steadfast belief in herself and her mission, and her iron will to overcome all obstacles, especially those of gender, race, and cultural bigotry.”

Click here for more events at SLU.

Present Day History: Channeling the Past, Changing the Narrative

Date: Thursday, Feb. 21

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Independence Theatre – 7800 Independence Blvd.

Councilwoman Erika Green, along with BREC, will host Present Day History: Channeling the Past, Changing the Narrative. Participants include special guest speaker, Mychal Bell (Jena 6), Top Teens, Kappa League, Destiny Washington, JK Haynes Charter School, Cadillac Street Kids at Play, a local artist display, and much more.

The aim of the program is to curate an artistic expression by celebrating black history in Baton Rouge. Local attorneys who have taken a stand against civil injustices will also be honored at the event with the Narrative Changers Leadership Award.

The event is free and open to the public.

26th Anniversary Clarence L. Barney Jr. AACC Jazz Brunch

Date: Saturday, Feb. 23

Time: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: LSU – Stadium Club South – Tiger Stadium

The Clarence L. Barney Jr. African American Cultural Center (AACC) implements educational, cultural and social activities that acknowledge and address the needs of African American students at LSU.  The Center also provides a venue for all students to learn about African American culture, heritage and traditions.


Click here to register.

Scotland Saturdays

Date: Saturday, Feb. 23

Time: 12 to 3 p.m.

Location: Scotlandville Plaza, between Scotland Avenue and Scenic Highway

Scotland Saturdays is a community-inspired event held the last Saturday of every month for buyers and sellers to come together for the sale of goods. The market’s mission is to support the economic viability of Scotlandville and to provide a common area for community gatherings, as well as to showcase the work of local artisans and businesses.

This month’s market features a Black History Month theme.