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Santa Monica Celebrates Black History Month

Published on January 30, 2024

This year, the City of Santa Monica is encouraging learning and discovery with a series of free events and suggested activities for Black History Month.

Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history and society. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, and in October in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, the Santa Monica City Council presented a proclamation for Black History Month and announced this year’s theme: “Black Media & the Arts”. The city’s BHM celebration is organized by the Black History Month Committee. This year, the BHM Committee has organized another exciting slate of events with the support of the city’s partner affinity groups, local businesses, and city departments. The events will include a renewed focus on Service & Leadership, Black Family, Diversity & Contribution, Health & Wellness, and Black Resistance.

Black History Month Events in Santa Monica

All Month: visit Santa Monica City hall to view an art exhibit titled Collaborative Art Celebrating Black History Month sponsored by Santa Monica Library. Local students completed portions of artwork celebrating Black History Month which are on display on the Main Library Youth area.

All Month: Join city staff in reading Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower, an allegorical tale set in a near-future California where a young African American woman exhibits a rare hereditary trait that causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own.

Every Wednesday: Santa Monica Black Lives Association Open House (520 Arizona Avenue, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Enjoy light refreshments and peruse the information booths each Wednesday. Hosted by SMBLA, a multi-service, community-based organization focused on addressing the health, wellness, mental health, socio-economic needs of the black community.

Thursday, Feb. 1: Special Lighting of the Pacific Wheel (Santa Monica Pier, 5:30 p.m.)
The Pacific Wheel will be lit red, green, and yellow on Wednesday, February 1 in recognition of Black History Month.

Wednesday, Feb. 21: Authors in Conversation: Rasheed Newson & Laura Warrell (Main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium, 6 – 7 p.m.)
Author Rasheed Newson discusses his debut novel, My Government Means to Kill Me, a fast-paced coming of age story about a young, gay Black man in the mid-1980s, with fellow novelist Laura Warrell (Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm). A book sale and signing follows.

Saturday, Feb. 24: Santa Monica Greens Festival (Virginia Avenue Park, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
In partnership with Virginia Avenue Park, Santa Monica Farmers Markets and Pico Branch Library, the Greens Festival will celebrate Black History, Life, Food and Culture.

Thursday, Feb. 29: Screening of “The Wiz” (Santa Monica Library, MLK auditorium, 11:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m.)
Dorothy, an unhappy Harlem teacher, is whisked away to a fantastical Oz where she journeys down the soul-infused yellow brick road with friends seeking self-discovery, ultimately realizing the power within herself to return home. This adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” whisks audiences away into the essence of the African-American experience.


Black History Month is an opportunity to inform, educate, and reflect on the important people, contributions, and events in the history of the African diaspora. Check out these great events in Santa Monica and share with us on social media.


Feature image courtesy of @pacpark