Celebrate Black History Month in Des Moines

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Celebrate Black History Month in Des Moines 2024

February is the celebration of Black History Month. This is a time we celebrate and recognize African American history, contributions, struggles, and achievements. A time to remind your children that black history is American history, and should be thought of as such. Not only is it a time to remind our children, but an opportunity for us as parents to learn. We are sharing several ways to celebrate Black History Month in Des Moines and start conversations the entire month of February.

Black History Month, Des Moines, Iowa, Celebrate Black History
Here are activities and events to celebrate Black History Month in Des Moines:

Written by Stephanie Lovelace

African American Museum of Iowa

NOTE: Reopens April 2024

Plan a small road trip! The African American Museum of Iowa is located in Cedar Rapids and is a museum dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and teaching Iowa’s African American history.

The current exhibit explores the history of redlining in Iowa in our latest exhibit. Redlining is the systematic denial of various services by federal and local government agencies and the private sector to residents of specific neighborhoods. Black populations in seven Iowa cities -Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Dubuque, Davenport, Des Moines, and Waterloo – were subject to redline mapping. The exhibit will look at these cities and the long-term effects of redlining on the current issues faced in these areas today.

George Washington Carver Day Celebration

Head to Indianola on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon for fun, family-friendly activities focused on George Washington Carver. There will be fun staged all along the square brought to you by Simpson College and Indianola residents. 

You can grab a cup of cocoa and plant a few seeds to take home, take part in a scavenger hunt, make a Carver-inspired treat, watch a movie, and read books focused on George Washington Carver. Your family will learn and have fun at the same time

Black History Night with the Iowa Wolves

The Iowa Wolves will honor Black History Month on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena where they will take on the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The first 1,000 fans will get BLK and Bold Coffee! 

I’ll Make Me A World in Iowa: Iowa’s African American Festival 

Celebration Day is a FREE family-friendly event on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Horizon Events Center in Clive The event features a kid’s carnival, art activities, historical presentations, and soul food. There will also be more than 40 performing artists from Iowa and throughout the country performing on multiple stages. 

Des Moines Public Library Scavenger Hunts

Head to the youth desk at the Des Moines Public Library shown, and you’ll get a handout with clues. Solve the clues, find the hidden items around the library, and get a FREE PRIZE!

  • Authors Scavenger Hunt – Feb. 1-Feb. 10 at Central Location
  • Black Scientists and Inventors Scavenger Hunt – Feb. 6-Feb. 10 at Forest Location
  • Black History Month Influential Figures Scavenger Hunt – Feb. 11-Feb. 18, and Feb. 20-Feb. 24 at Central Location
  • Harlem Renaissance Scavenger Hunt – Feb. 21-Feb. 25 at Forest Location
  • Awesome Black Inventors Scavenger Hunt – Feb. 21- Feb. 28 at South Location

 “The Hate U Give” Movie Watch Party

The movie showing Monday, Feb. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Forest Avenue Library Meeting Room. Come for popcorn and an activity while you watch the movie based on the book by Angie Thomas.  

Support local black-owned restaurants

Looking to eat out? Support local and black-owned restaurants. Set a weekly goal to try something new. Here is a list of some of our favorites.

Visit The Jordan House Museum

I remember field trips to The Jordan House Museum when I was little. I remember each visit being an eye-opening experience and learning so much. During the antebellum period, the Jordan House was a designated stopover on the Underground Railroad. Freedom-seeking slaves hid in the fields, barns, and outbuildings on the property. No one knows for sure, but historians estimate that 1000 per year attempted. Most who tried did not have the benefit of someone like John Brown or Harriet Tubman and were not successful.

Tours are free and will be Friday through Sunday in February from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tours must be reserved ahead of time. 

Visit the Kerry James Marshall Sculpture

Jump in the car and visit the Kerry James Marshall Sculpture located along the Principal Riverwalk at the corner of Grand & 2nd Avenues in Hansen Triangle Park. Learn more about this sculpture and how to incorporate an entire lesson around this incredible project in Downtown Des Moines.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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