The first week of Black History Month has come and gone, but there are still plenty of activities to take advantage of throughout the Chattanooga area. Get creative at an art workshop, enjoy museum tours featuring Black artists, eat delicious food from local Black-owned restaurants, and make new connections at UTC festivities.
Sitting Down to Stand Up: The Chattanooga Sit-Ins
Beginning at noon, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center will be hosting and live-streaming a panel featuring original participants in the Chattanooga Sit-Ins. Lunch is not provided, but the public is invited to bring a sack lunch and engage in the riveting discussion of the importance of commemorating African American history in Chattanooga.
First Baptist Church of Chattanooga
Mass: A Celebration of Love and Joy
In celebration of Black History Month, the Choral Arts of Chattanooga presents this program, which includes an arrangement by Chattanooga’s own Dr. Roland Carter in addition to soloists Neshawn Calloway, soprano, and Michael Mays, tenor. Tickets are available at the door and online. Adults are $15 and students are $10.
The Hunter Museum of American Art is celebrating this Black History Month by encouraging guests to get imaginative with artists Noel Anderson and Lorna Simpson. From 2 until 4 p.m., these influential Black artists will give voice to their experience through art workshops discussing how history has been traditionally written and have guests leave with a wider range of readings and meanings when looking at art pieces. Tickets are $20 for general admission and free to youths 17 and under.
Lil Mama’s Chicago Style Hoagy
Black History Giveback Event
Lil Mama’s has quickly become a downtown staple thanks to its spunk, ‘90s nostalgia, and authentic Chicago-style hoagies. On February 17, the restaurant will not only be donating 15% of all its meal proceeds to the Bethlehem Center’s Bethlehem Leadership Unit (B.L.U.), but also commemorating this exciting month with Black History Trivia beginning at 4 p.m. B.L.U. is a program that strives to strengthen students’ interpersonal skills while enhancing their growing leadership abilities through tutoring, community engagement opportunities, and more.
UTC Black History Month
Black Artists and Their Style
From 7 until 9 p.m., UTC’s Division of Diversity and Engagement and the Office of Multicultural Affairs will host alum Dennis Famble to share his story on how he became a successful business owner of Sirius Graphics and Gallery. Anyone is welcome to form new connections at the stimulating reception that follows where Famble will dive deeper into discussing his creative process. Location TBA.
UTC Black History Month
Tastes of Black Chattanooga
UTC’s Student Success Programs, the Division of Diversity and Engagement, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs are teaming up to invite local Black-owned restaurants to showcase their authentic and delicious food. This event is free to all students, faculty, and staff. Stop by and enjoy the colorful flavors and festivities from 2 until 4 p.m. Location TBA.
Black Elected Officials Town Hall
The goal of this meeting is to educate community members about their elected officials and their jurisdictions. Community members will also have the opportunity to ask questions and interact directly with elected officials.
Hamilton Place Mall
Black-Owned Business Expo
This will be the first black-owned business expo at Hamilton Place Mall, and vendor applications are open until Feb. 16. Vendor applications and more info available online.
Exhibits All Month Long
With a mission to preserve and celebrate African American history and culture, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center allows guests to time travel through the trials, movements, and triumphs of African Americans in Chattanooga. Crowned “Empress of the Blues,” Bessie Smith is honored as the greatest classic blues singer of the 1920s and ‘30s, and many more exhibits and relics await inside the center. After a visit to the Bessie, don’t forget to stroll through Blue Goose Hollow – near the Tennessee Riverwalk – where Bessie once lived. The Bessie Smith Cultural Center is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and students, and free to members and children 5 and under.
Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum
Exhibits All Month Long
Hidden on the corner of 35 Station Street inside the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo, Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum is featuring two new exhibits showcasing African American musicians throughout the month of February. “The Big 9” chronicles the music history and legacy of Ninth Street, a thriving African American community and home to music greats such as Bessie Smith, Clyde Stubberfield, and Jimmy Blanton, while “The Impressions: From the Big 9 to the World Stage” showcases one of the world’s most influential soul groups from their start in the Scenic City. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for children ages 5 to 12, and free to children 4 and under.