Black History Month: Celebration at the YMCA on Friday and the MAG on Sunday

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — February is Black History Month. The Rochester area has events throughout the month to honor Black historical figures, leaders, and trailblazers. You can also learn more about Rochester’s influential Black leaders through News10NBC’s series Rochester Roots. Here are some upcoming events:

Celebration at Thurston Road YMCA (Friday, Feb. 16)

The Thurston Road YMCA Neighborhood Center is holding its annual celebration of Black history on Friday starting at 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

It includes a keynote address from Bill Johnson, Rochester’s first African American mayor who served from 1994 until 2005. There will also be African-style drumming and a Jamaican-style catered lunch at 11:45 am. at the event.

Celebration at the Memorial Art Gallery (Sunday, Feb. 18)

The Memorial Art Gallery on University Avenue is celebrating Black heritage on Sunday with art, music, dance, storytelling, and more. The celebration runs from noon to 4:30 p.m.

The celebration includes performances from Garth Fagan Dance, ROC City Line Dance Express, Dunwoody Dance5678, Dress for Success Fashion Show, Mayukwa Kashiwa African Dance Drums, and more. There will also be a tour of the galleries at 1 p.m. Here is the schedule:

At the M&T Bank ballroom:

  • Community Display Tables from noon to 3:45 p.m.
  • Donna Beaty Contemporary Praise Dance from 12:30 to 1 p.m.
  • Vertus High School Music & Spoken Word from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
  • Community Organization Representatives from 1:30 to 1:45 p.m.
  • Pearl Legacy Step Team from 1:50 to 2:10 p.m.
  • Dance Dunwoody Dance 5678 from 2:10 to 2:25 p.m.
  • Community Organization Representatives from 2:25 to 2:40 p.m.
  • The Prestigious Gems from 2:45 to 3 p.m.
  • Community Organization Representatives from 3 to 3:15 p.m.
  • Mayukwa Kashiwa African Dance & Drums from 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.

At the Vanden Brul Pavilion:

  • Art Displays by Prince Will Star (ProartCreate) and Rachel Rochelle from noon to 3:30 p.m.
  • DJ ANDRE’ AGONY Gospel, Old School RnB, Reggae, Hip-Hop from noon to 4:30 p.m.
  • Mayukwa Kashiwa African Dance & Drums from 12:30 to 1 p.m.
  • Garth Fagan Dance from 1 to 1:20 p.m.
  • Poetry & Storytelling from 1:30 to 1:50 p.m.
  • Gospel Rap from 1:50 to 2:10 p.m.
  • Maine: The Dancer from 2 to 2:15 p.m.
  • Will Holton, Saxophonist from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.
  • ROC City Line Dance Express from 2:45 to 3 p.m.
  • Cinnamon Jones from 3 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Fashion Show Dress for Success from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

At the auditorium:

  • Black History Month Leadership Speaker & Author Doug Melville, Invisible Generals: Rediscovering Family Legacy, and a Quest To Honor America’s First Black Generals; book signing* and photos to follow. It runs from 2 to 3:45 p.m.

Bausch & Lob Parlor:

  • Make-it-and-take it arts & crafts 12–3:30 pm
  • Face Painting 12–3:30 pm

Gospel music at Rochester City Hall (Wednesday, Feb. 21)

There will be gospel music at Rochester City Hall on Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. It’s organized by the city’s Black Heritage Committee, which has planned several events in the next few months to celebrate Black heritage. Here is a list of the events:

  • A keynote address at City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • The Heritage Gospel Concert featuring Akoma and Voices of Thunder. It’s at the Mount Vernon Baptist Church on Joseph Avenue on Saturday, March 2 from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Women’s Recognition at City Hall on Tuesday, March 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • The Youth Gala at the Loretta C. Scott Center for Human Services on St. Paul Street on Thursday, March 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • The Black Heritage Gala at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on East Main Street on Saturday, April 13 at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $100 but early bird tickets are available for $90 until Feb. 16 here.

Online exhibit at Strong Museum

Strong Museum has an online exhibit titled “Re-Play: The First Fifty Years of Hip-Hop Fun” that explores the role of hip-hop in culture and play. In addition, a new display case in the museum’s Adams Atrium explores the rise of Shindana Toys in the 1960s, a company that formed to address racial inequities in toys.