Festivals, exhibits and other events to attend during Black History Month in Sacramento

Still We Rise Saar Woman With Two Parrots 1600x1080 Resize1
Betye Saar, Woman with Two Parrots, 2010. Mixed media collage on paperboard, 12 x 24 5/8 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Emily Leff and James Davis III, 2017.67.7. © Betye Saar / Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California
"Woman with Two Parrots" by Black Arts Movement artist Betye Saar will be on display at the Crocker Art Museum during its Black History Month Celebration.

From a one-man play at Sacramento State to a free festival at the Crocker Art Museum, here are several noteworthy ways to celebrate Black History Month all February long.

Power on Earth

Feb. 1 In his first performance at Sacramento State University since 2016, NAACP Theatre Award nominee Darryl Van Leer, who appeared on One Tree Hill and TLC’s reality series The Messengers, will perform Power on Earth, a one-man play that dramatizes historical moments in the lives of notable African American figures from the 19th and 20th centuries. The show, which the Kentucky-based actor created and has brought on tour to the stages of over 300 college campuses nationwide, will feature eight on-stage costume changes as Van Leer powerfully portrays 14 icons like Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Nat Turner and blues legend Muddy Waters. Free. 7:30 p.m. Sacramento State University Union Redwood Room. 6000 J St. 916-278-6011. theuniversityunion.com

Darryl Van Leer plays Martin Luther King Jr. in his one-man play "Power on Earth" (Photo courtesy of Darryl Van Leer)

And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations

Feb. 6-May 27 As the final stop of a countrywide tour that began at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the California Museum will host this exhibit featuring 67 handcrafted story quilts that narrate the African American experience over the last 400 years. Curated by Women of Color Quilters Network founder Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, the show depicts colorful, detailed works of art that depict stories of slavery, highlight the accomplishments of black political leaders and historical figures like Frederick Douglass, Barack Obama and Hattie McDaniel—the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1939—and explore the meticulous techniques of quilting as an American folk art, like embroidery, needlepoint and hand beading. $9 ($6.50 for ages 6-17; free for ages 5 and under). Dates and times vary. California Museum. 1020 O St. 916-653-7524. californiamuseum.org

The quilt “Mammy’s Golden Legacy" by Laura R. Gadson depicts Hattie McDaniel, who won an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind" in 1939. (Courtesy of the Women of Color Quilters Network)

Black History Month at the Sacramento Public Library

Feb. 9-24 The Sacramento Public Library will host a series of events honoring Black History Month, starting with Drum and Dance for Joy on Feb. 9 at McKinley Library, during which the Fenix Drum and Dance Company will lead participants in a drum circle and traditional African dance lessons. On Feb.  21 at the South Natomas Library and again on Feb. 24 at the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library, individuals and families can sit with a genealogy expert during Tracing your African Roots, a seminar that uses the library’s census records, wills, inventory data and other public documents to help connect people to their African ancestors. Then at the Rancho Cordova Library on Feb. 24, Lisa Daniels, the executive director of the Unsung Heroes Living History Project, will present We Also Served: African Americans in the Military, a collection of photography and memorabilia from the Civil War to the Iraq War. Free. Dates, times and locations vary. 916-264-2920. saclibrary.org

This image of the first Aftrican American nurses accepted into the U.S. Army Nurse Corps will be part of the exhibit “We Also Served: African Americans in the Military" on display at the Rancho Cordova Library Feb. 24. (Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Public Library)

Black History Month Celebration

Feb. 18 The Crocker Art Museum is bringing back this free family festival, with everything from live music to a community marketplace with handmade gifts by local black artisans. Check out an exhibit featuring 40 works from New York-based story quilter, painter and mixed-media sculptor Faith Ringgold, as well as Hopes Springing High: Gifts of African American Artists, which is named for a line in the poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou and will debut over 20 artworks from artists like Kehinde Wiley, who in October was chosen by Barack Obama to paint the former president’s portrait for the Smithsonian. Throughout the festival, patrons can watch performances by the Grant High School drumline (which has played on Jimmy Kimmel Live!), presentations on the roots and legacy of African American music, and a live Afrofuturism-themed painting session inspired by the Marvel Studios film Black Panther, which will be released Feb. 16 (and was directed by Sacramento State graduate Ryan Coogler) and is based on the first black superhero introduced in 1966. Free. 12-4 p.m. Crocker Art Museum. 216 O St. 916-808-7000. crockerart.org

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