Arts & Culture

7 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Charlotte

History, culture, and honoring pioneers are all part of celebrating Black History Month. Here are some ways you can get involved and celebrate locally in Charlotte.

CLT Black Owned

Charlotte’s full of African-American history and culture. It’s embedded in the threads of the city, both past and present, from the rare art pieces held at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African- American Arts + Culture to the live jazz at Studio 229 on Brevard. Here are seven ways to celebrate the past and embrace the future.

Leah & Louise - Photography by Cody Hughes

Have Drinks at a Modern Day “Juke Joint”

Leah & Louise brands itself as a modern-day juke joint and the restaurant has the playlist to prove it. Historically, juke joints have deep connections to African-American communities as spaces that operated as safe havens for people to gather and enjoy a good time together in the Jim Crow South. Leah & Louise honors this by maintaining a welcoming atmosphere, a uniquely Southern menu, craft cocktails and a playlist filled with soul, R&B and smooth hip-hop favorites.

Visit Charlotte’s Historic Brooklyn Neighborhood

Charlotte’s Historic Brooklyn Neighborhood, a self-sustainable community of African-American people that existed until the 1960s when it was leveled for an urban renewal project, has three remaining buildings on Brevard Street. Studio 229 on Brevard, a lounge and event space, hosts monthly jazz and live music nights that typically include wine, food and an amazing atmosphere. Check out the area in the daytime for a history walk or in the evening for a night of culture.

Harvey B. Gantt Center art exhibit

Experience African-American Life Through Photography

A visit to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture during the month of February will yield the opportunity to experience African-American culture in the form of rare photography. The work of Jamel Shabazz, renowned photographer, will be on display at the Gantt until March 6. The exhibit, “Reflections of a People: Photographs from the Archive of Jamel Shabazz,” encompasses the experiences of African-American people over the last 40 years, told through the art of photography. The exhibit is described as “capturing moments of Black life for future generations.”

Head to an Outdoor Event at Romare Bearden Park

Romare Bearden Park, located in Uptown Charlotte, is one of Charlotte’s most beautiful parks. Set against a backdrop of the city’s growing skyline, the park is a great place to honor the legacy of renowned African-American artist, Romare Bearden, for whom its named, and experience one of the countless outdoor events that take place there. Check with Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation to see a lineup of all upcoming events.

Mert's Heart & Soul

Savor Charlotte’s Heart & Soul

Mert’s Heart & Soul, a comfort and soul food restaurant in Uptown, is a myriad of great food, hospitality and a casual history lesson all at once. The menu boasts warm cornbread, salmon cakes, fried green tomatoes and “Soul Rolls,” eggroll-like wraps filled with black-eyed peas, collard greens and diced chicken breast. A local favorite, inside the restaurant has remnants of historical landmarks, nods to the city’s changes and photos of many legendary African-American entertainers who’ve dined there, including Michael Jackson.

Listen to Live Storytime with Young Children

Each Saturday in February, as part of its Storytime series, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library will host a virtual, live reading for children on Facebook Live and YouTube. The “I can read Black Stories” series features books that offer strategies for fostering inclusivity and equity as well as include activities that encourage empathy and support understanding the Black experience in age-appropriate ways. Follow ImaginOn's Facebook page to watch live and support the development of early literacy skills and build a better community for children.

Bonus: Join the @cltblackowned Community on Instagram

As Charlotte’s local expert in all things black-owned, the CLT Black Owned community is a diverse group of more than 40,000 people unified under one common goal: strengthening local black-owned businesses. Engaging with the CLT Black Owned community is a great way to be in the know about Charlotte’s growing black business community and how you can get involved to support directly.

This article was written through a partnership with CLT Black Owned, Charlotte’s expert in supporting and growing local, black-owned businesses.