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Black History Month

Black History Month

FEBRUARY 1-29, 2024

Additional Resources | Programming | Booklist 

Black History Month Challenge

Join the Milwaukee Public Library in celebrating Black History and uplifting Black voices. From February 1-29, 2024, all ages can participate by completing three of the activities listed below. Any combination is accepted -- multiple submissions are allowed! 

Complete and return an entry form to any MPL location or
track your progress online by March 1, 2024

Calling all child care, K-12, and college educators! Complete the challenge with your students, fill out this quick online entry form, and be automatically entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $50 Rooted MKE gift card for your classroom.

A special thank you to MKE Black for their prize donation.



Black History Month Challenge Kickoff Event

Thursday, February 1, 2024, from 3:30- 5:30 p.m.
Good Hope Branch

Celebrate the kickoff of our Black History Month Challenge with snacks, activities, and fun for all ages. 

The History of Black Milwaukee presented by John Gurda

Tuesday, February 6, from 6-7:30 p.m.
This program includes facilitator Clayborn Benson, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society
Center Street Branch

Tuesday, February 13, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Villard Square Branch

Saturday, March 2, from 3:30-5 p.m.
Washington Park Branch

There have been Black Milwaukeeans for as long as there’s been a Milwaukee. African Americans were here when the future metropolis was just a fur-trading post, and they grew with the city during its rise as a hotbed of abolitionist activity, an industrial powerhouse, and a haven for immigrants. John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been studying his hometown since 1972—all of its groups, all of its neighborhoods. He is the award-winning author of twenty-three books and the creator of the Emmy Award-winning documentary series The Making of Milwaukee. 

Star Quality: Rap Scene with Protege Lamar

Monday, February 5, 2024, from 6-7 p.m. 
Milwaukee Central Library

Have you ever wanted to pick the brain of a local artist making a name for themselves in the Milwaukee rap scene? If the answer is yes, then Star Quality is the program for you! Protégé Lamar, a rap artist, presents his journey to a successful career in a many times extremely tough music industry. Please join us to hear his story, ask your burning questions, and maybe find a pathway to your future success!

Charly Palmer Author Event and Social Hour with Co-Author & wife Dr. Karida Brown

Saturday, February 10, 2024, from  2-4 p.m.
Milwaukee Public Library Centennial Hall


Join an engaging conversation full of love and wisdom with author and illustrator Charly Palmer and esteemed co-author and wife, Dr. Karida Brown, as they discuss their latest projects including The New Brownies’ Book: A Love Letter to Black Families. Enjoy the vibes of DJ Bizzon's live music mix. Refreshments will be served during the social hour. DJ Bizzon's Live Music Mix: 1:40-2 p.m.; Program: 2-3 p.m.; Social Hour: 3-4 p.m. Books will be available for sale during and after the program from Rooted MKE Bookstore.

King a Life: Jonathan Eig in Conversation With Cree Myles

Friday, February 16, from 6:30-8 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)
Milwaukee Public Library Centennial Hall

Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig's King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. Join Jonathan Eig in conversation with Cree Myles, bookfluencer and curator of Penguin Random House's All Ways Black, for an impactful evening examining Dr. King's enduring influence on Milwaukee's Black community. Books will be for sale during and after the event from Rooted MKE bookstore.

Celebrating Black Artists

Saturday, February 17, 2024, from 10:30-11:15 a.m.
Milwaukee Central Library | Children's Herzfeld Activity Center

Join us this Black History Month to explore prominent Black artists and celebrate their inspirational work! Learn about the lives of these artists and experiment with different materials to make your own masterpiece. 

Folk Tale Party: Celebrating the Work of Jerry Pinkney 

Saturday, February 17, 2024 - 12- 2 p.m.
Washington Park Branch

Join us for a celebration of folk tales from around the world, in celebration of the talented, cherished children's author and illustrator Jerry Pinkney. Events will kick off with a family story time. Folk-tale-inspired activities and watercolor painting will take place in the Children's Activity area.

Still We Rise: Jim Crow in Wisconsin Part 2

Monday, February 19, 2024 - 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Good Hope Branch

Come to the Good Hope Branch for this ongoing series of programs on Black History with a local focus, presented by educational advocate and author Bonnie J. Edwards M.A. Ed. This program, the second of a three-part series stretching to the present, will explore the history of Jim Crow and its impact on Wisconsin from the end of the Civil War through the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and include archival photographs and documentation. Refreshments will be served.

We Rise: Milwaukee Black Entrepreneurs in Action

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
6:30-7:30 p.m.

Free headshots 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Panel discussion 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Milwaukee Central Library - The Business Commons, 2nd Floor

Calling all aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators! Celebrate Black History Month with an event featuring Milwaukee Black entrepreneurs. Hear stories of successful innovators who have made their mark in Milwaukee and learn from their experiences. Connect with fellow entrepreneurs, exchange ideas, and build valuable connections. Learn about MKE Black, a non-profit celebrating and promoting Black business, events, culture, and advancement in the greater Milwaukee area.

Free Headshots with photographer Kalida Williams from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Arrive by 5:30 p.m. to reserve your spot and tour Milwaukee Public Library’s Business Commons co-working space! Visit for more info. 

Book Club for Busy People

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 1-2 p.m.
Washington Park Branch

Join us for a book discussion of I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin.

Coming to America Book Club (Virtual)

Wednesday, February 21, 2024, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. | Register Here
Featured Book: Real American by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

This book club approaches American identity as an evolving and ongoing conversation, using fiction and non-fiction to explore questions of identity, assimilation, language, cuisine, generational change, and other aspects of life in the United States. November's selection is Real American by Julie Lythcott-Haims. Request a physical print copy here, an audio disc copy here, or request the e-book or e-audio book on the Libby app. Sign into the app with your library card.


Saturday, February 24, 1-2:30 p.m.
Good Hope Branch

Come to the Good Hope Branch for this set of conversations around Mental Health in the African American Community. The ASK (Access, Support, Knowledge) Workshop program was developed by Mental Health Advocate and former Outreach and Education Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Milwaukee Brenda Wesley to educate the African-American Community and provide access to care for those who need it.

Discovery Lunches

Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 12:30-2 p.m.
Villard Square Branch 

Still, We Rise Wisconsin!
Join us for this monthly, interactive, series focusing on the native African American experience throughout the United States and, more specifically, in the State of Wisconsin. The program provides an overview of the origins of native African Americans to the New World, ancestral lineage, and historical accounts of African Americans who established settlements in Wisconsin, Presented by local author and native-born Wisconsinite, Bonnie J. Edwards, M.A.Ed., Educator and Speaker.

Part 1 – Origins: The Beginning of a New World and the Making of the
Native African American Spirit.

Despite the struggles faced by Native African Americans in the New World, their contributions proved highly valuable in shaping and building all of America. Learn more about how the origins of African American culture helped shape the New World of the United States of America.

Funded by a gift from the estate of Naomi B. Strehlow.

History Buff Book Club

Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 5-6 p.m.
Tippecanoe Branch

Calling all history buffs, History Buff Book Club is back! Please join us for a monthly non-fiction, history-related book discussion.  We will be reading and discussing books that cover a wide variety of topics and time periods. Featured February Book: All That She Carried by Tiya Miles