How to Celebrate Black History Month in Orlando

Every February, we celebrate the history, achievements, and contributions of African Americans during Black History Month. From the many African-American neighborhoods and towns, including Parramore and Eatonville, there’s an abundance of ways to celebrate Black History Month in Orlando.

Check out some of our favorite ways to commemorate Black History Month and try incorporating one of the below activities into your next date night.

Support these Black-Owned Restaurants and Businesses in Orlando.

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Updated January 2024 by Meghan Roth

Museums & Exhibits

African Americans and the Arts Exhibition
February 2 – March 31
Terrace Gallery at Orlando City Hall

The African Americans and the Arts Exhibition at the Terrace Gallery at Orlando City Hall presents an opportunity for local artists to showcase African American history and celebrate the many lasting contributions Black Americans have had on visual arts, performing arts, literature, film, music, and cultural movements.

The Wells' Built Museum of African American History
Formerly the Wells' Built Hotel, which hosted the likes of musical legend Ella Fitzgerald, the Wells' Built Museum boasts 6,000 square feet of African American memorabilia from right here in Orlando.
Tickets are $5 per adult and you can snag an annual membership for $30.

MUSEUM HOURS
Monday – Friday : 9am-5pm
Open The 2nd Weekend of Every Month, Otherwise Closed Saturday and Sunday

Wall Crawl
Nestled in Orlando’s Parramore district, selfie heaven Wall Crawl has fun and gorgeous backgrounds for an empowering photo session. In years past a special Black History Month themed wall has been offered. So far we are not seeing such a wall offering in 2024, but we still think this a great way to celebrate.

You can capture fun and empowering images together. Show your pride and beauty!

I recommend the packages that include edited digital images from your visit.

Black History Month in Orlando - Wall Crawl mural
Image credit: Wall Crawl

American Journey – Orlando Museum of Art
Each work of art is created in the context of a given period and thus reflects not only the artistic styles and tastes of the day, but also the period’s cultural values, social conditions, and momentous events. American Journey invites the visitor to explore this history through paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs dating from the nineteenth century to the present.

Rather than taking a chronological approach, though, the exhibition is divided into thematic sections in which artworks of both the past and present are seen side by side, emphasizing the shared and contrasting ideas voiced by these works.

Thematic sections include Land and Sea, aspects of nature and geography that have informed artistic visions of the American landscape; The West, half a continent that is imbued with myth and symbolism about the nation’s growth and ambition; Farm and City, places that have each represented qualities of American character such as self-reliance, industry, and dedication to progress; and People and Community, portraits and narrative art that show ever-changing views of individuals and their social relationships. American Journey is an opportunity for artworks that span decades or even generations to provoke new visual dialogues and prompt interpretations that are fresh and relevant for our time.

Image credit: Orlando Museum of Art

Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts
Head to the heart of Eatonville to visit the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of the Fine Arts. Since 1990, the museum has presented nearly 50 exhibits showcasing works by artists of African descent. There is no set admission fee for visitors but donations are appreciated.

African American History Exhibit – Orange County Regional History Center
The Orange County Regional History Center is home to a permanent African American History exhibit, which aims to expand your understanding of the triumphs and tragedies of African Americans throughout Central Florida's history.
The exhibit includes paintings from The Highwaymen. Tickets are $8. On the Third Thursday of each month, they offer free admission from 5 to 8 p.m.

Reflections of Time II Exhibit
January 6 – February 29
Historic Downtown Winter Garden
Explore the journey of African American artists from Central Florida and beyond at this limited-time exhibition, available at Winter Garden City Hall through the end of the month. Reflections of Time II will feature artwork of varying disciplines, all dedicated to Black excellence and the preservation of time.

African Americans and the Arts
February 2 – March 31
Orlando City Hall
Celebrate the rich contributions of Orlando’s African American community at the Orlando City Hall Terrace Gallery in downtown Orlando’s City District. The African Americans and the Arts gallery will feature art pieces of all mediums, celebrating Black influence on visual arts, performing arts, literature, film, music and cultural movements.

Events

Celebrate Soulfully at Walt Disney World
February 1 – 29
As February begins, guests of Walt Disney World Resort can explore new and traditional ways to “Celebrate Soulfully” during Black History Month with a variety of experiences to celebrate, educate, and honor Black heritage and culture throughout the resort. From art to food to music and more, there are many opportunities to feel soulful.

34th Annual National African American Read-In
Thursday, February 1, 2024, 4:30-5:30pm
Orange County Public Library – Washington Park Branch
Celebrate the 34th Annual National African American Read-In with crafts for the whole family. Learn about authors of African American literature and make a book yourself. 
FREE

MLK Concert: Through the Storm, I Need You to Survive!
Friday, February 2, 2024, 7pm
Dr. Phillips Center – Steinmetz Hall 
Celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the 9th annual MLK Concert is presented by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, produced and directed by Grammy Award Winner, Dr. Jeffrey Redding.
FREE (Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis and is not guaranteed.)

History Alive: Bessie Coleman Aviation Adventure
Saturday, February 3, 2024, 11am-2pm
Orange County Regional History Center
Celebrate the remarkable achievements of Bessie Coleman, a pioneer in aviation history! During History Alive! you will experience engaging activities throughout the museum that highlight the incredible journey of America’s first Black and Native American woman pilot and the important role of aviation in Central Florida history. Guided tours of the museum will be offered at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Activities included with museum admission.

Orisirisi African Folklore
Saturday, February 3, 2024, 1:30-2:30pm
Orange County Public Library – Winter Garden Branch
Share the beauty of African life and culture through a unique folkloric performance filled with drumming, dance and storytelling.
FREE

Parramore Historic Bus Tour 2024
Thursday, February 8, 9am & 11am
Wells' Built Museum
Join District 5 City Commissioner Regina I. Hill and the City of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board in celebrating Black History Month and the positive contributions, culture, and heritage of our African American residents. The tour offers our residents to take a step back in history as we board a bus for a historic tour! Our special guest tour conductor for the event will be Commissioner Hill. Following the tour, guests will enjoy complimentary admission to the Wells’ Built Museum of African American History and Culture.
FREE (Free parking available at Shiloh Baptist Church of Orlando)

Sanford Jazz Ensemble: Black History Month Concert
Sunday, February 11, 2024, 3pm
The Ritz Theater
For this concert, Dave Weaver and the band pull out all of the R&B and Funk stops. Featured singer Ron Stark and his soulful voice, he will sing some of the greatest Motown songs by Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The 4 Tops, and The Temptations. The band will play songs by Michael Jackson, Grover Washington, Earth Wind & Fire, and Tower of Power. This show will be such a feast to the ears and heart that you’ll be dancing in the aisles.
$25

Black History Month Art Exhibition – Meet the Artists Reception
Monday, February 12, 10-11:30am
Orlando City Hall – Terrace Gallery
The City of Orlando Multicultural Affairs Office, in partnership with the Downtown Orlando Partnership and Black History Month platinum sponsor Orlando Credit Union, presents a “Meet the Artists Reception” in celebration of Black History Month. Engage with and gain insights from the talented artists behind the art pieces on display in the Black History Month art exhibition. Discover the inspiration, stories, and cultural influences that shaped their work while enjoying coffee and donuts from black-owned and operated businesses.
FREE

Culinary Curiosities – Exploring African American Culinary Contributions
Thursday, February 15, 6-8pm
Edible Education Experience
In this class they will delve into the rich intersection of Southern Cuisine and Black History, celebrating the profound impact of African American contributions to the culinary world. From soul food to Gullah cuisine-they will touch on some techniques and ingredients that reflect on resilience, creativity, and innovation of African American chefs and home cooks. Through a blend of hands-on cooking experiences, historical insights, and interactive discussions you'll gain a deeper understanding of the profound role that Black Culinary Heritage plays in shaping the American food landscape.
$70 per person

Timucua Amplifies Black Voices
February 16 – 18, 2024
Timucua Arts Foundation
Timucua Amplifies Black Voices is a three-day event that will offer performances by jazz musician Solomon Jaye, percussionist Britton Rene Collins, singer Jarred Amstrong Trio, The DeAndre Lettsome Quartet and singer Brandon Martin, and conclude with the Authentic Selves Poetry and Open Mic Night. 
$30

Honoring Black Heritage & Culture
Saturday, February 17, 10am-3pm
Orange County Regional History Center
Join Orange County Regional History Center for the second annual Honoring Black Heritage and Culture family day event! This year’s theme is African Americans as leaders in the arts. The event will include an artist showcase featuring Florida craft artists from the Cultural Sustainability and Legacy Planning for Craft Artist project in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and Craft Emergency Relief Fund. The day will include performances, speakers, and activities for all ages.
Museum admission is free on this date, thanks to funding from Florida Humanities.

City of Orlando’s Black History Month Community Celebration Event
Tuesday, February 20, 5-8pm
Camping World Stadium
Join the City of Orlando for their annual Black History Month Celebration Event celebrating the remarkable contributions and positive influence of Black Americans in the Central Florida community. This free event will include the participation of Mayor Dyer, City Commissioners, City of Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome, Standing Ovation Dancers, saxophonist James Johnson, entertainment, music, food, and the debut of the City Beautiful Voices, featuring city employees. 
FREE (Free parking is available in Lots 6 and 7 on Rio Grande Avenue.)

Restaurants

DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery
Located steps away from the Zora Neale Hurston Museum in Eatonville, DaJen Eats specializes in vegan Jamaican food. Favorite dishes include the “Honey” Ginger Chipotle Cauliflower Bites, Jamaican Jerk BBQ Jackfruit Sliders and the Looney “Toona” Sammich. If you've got a sweet tooth, check out their dairy-free ice cream, Irie Cream!

DaJen Eats

Nikki’s Place
If soul food is your jam, you must head to Nikki’s Place to enjoy “Southern Cuisine the Way It Used to Be.” Since 1999, Nikki’s has been serving up traditional southern dishes, including Smothered Rib Tips, Baked Chicken and Fried Wings alongside Collard Greens, Candied Yams, Corn Muffins and more.

Eat N Wash
At Eat N Wash, you can enjoy seafood and barbecue while getting your car washed! Note: Car washes are by appointment only. All meals–ranging from crab legs and lobster to barbecue chicken wings–are made fresh-to-order.

Support these Black-Owned Restaurants and Businesses in Orlando.

Feature image credit: Wall Crawl, art by Jamile Johnson