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Black History Month Events and Celebrations

Fostering understanding, appreciation and dialogue, the following events and celebrations offer diverse opportunities for individuals to commemorate Black History Month in Iowa.

“Iowa Files: The Rise and Fall of Center Street” at West Des Moines Public Library

Des Moines

Delve into the history of Center Street, a vibrant Black neighborhood in Des Moines from 1900 to 1970. This thriving community was an entertainment and business district that was destroyed when an I-235 highway through downtown was built in its place. This program, “Iowa Files: The Rise and Fall of Center Street,” taking place on Sunday, Feb. 18, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at West Des Moines Public Library, will explore the fall-out with Leo Landis from the State Historical Society of Iowa, as he shares the repercussions of this common occurrence. For more information, visit

Community Screening: The Road to Justice at Iowa City Public Library

Iowa City

In recognition of National Day of Racial Healing and to celebrate Black History Month in Iowa, the Office of Equity and Iowa City Public Library have joined forces for a community screening of The Road to Justice. This film will play on Monday, Feb. 19, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., followed by a discussion led by Dr. Negus Sankofa Imhotep. The event is free, but registration is required online. For more information, visit

Sunday Funday: Alma Thomas Heart Mosaics at Iowa City Public Library

Iowa City

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and honor Black History Month in Iowa, Iowa City Public Library is inviting the community to come together to create a collage heart mosaic inspired by Black artist Alma Thomas. Thomas was known for her vibrant abstract pieces and is most notable for creating the first painting to be displayed in the White House by an African-American woman. The event is free and will take place on Sunday, Feb. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit

“States of Becoming” Piece

Exhibition Opening Celebration: “States of Becomingat Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines

Des Moines Art Center is debuting its newest exhibition, States of Becoming,” which explores the multifaceted journey of self-discovery and identity for a group of contemporary African artists working in the United States. This exhibit examines the complexity of relocating, resettling and assimilation in a foreign land. The evening will kick off the opening with complimentary African fare from Bah Kunda Kitchen and refreshments from Tangerine Food Co. The celebration, honoring Black History Month in Iowa, will take place on Friday, Feb. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. and is free at attend. For more information, visit

State of Becoming” Overview & Artists Discussion at Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines

Building upon the exhibition opening, “State of Becoming” Overview & Artists Discussion at Des Moines Art Center provides an in-depth exploration of the exhibit. Starting at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, attendees can engage with 17 participating artists and gain deeper insights into the narratives and inspirations behind their works. This exciting event is free. For more information, visit

Black History Month Trivia at North Liberty Library

North Liberty

Calling all teenagers to North Liberty Library on West Cherry Street for a special trivia night taking place on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 4:30 p.m. This thrilling trivia night will test your history knowledge as you compete with others for prizes and more. For more information, visit

“Black As You Are” Art Exhibit

Black As You Are” Art Exhibit at Dubuque Area Arts Collective


Dubuque Area Arts Collective honors Black History Month in Iowa with an art and spoken word exhibit, “Black As You Are.” This exhibition, open now until Feb. 24, showcases artistic expressions that celebrate African American culture from local and regional Black artists and allies. Through the power of art, including spoken word poetry, visual concepts and oral traditions, this display will present unique perspectives and narratives. For more information, visit

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