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Seattle’s Black community is a key part of the city’s authentic culture and historic roots, and Black History Month is a great time to bring attention and support to this community, highlighting the significant contributions and narratives of those based here. Local Black culture, art, food, music, business, industry, and beyond are found throughout the destination and offer a lot for both visitors and locals to explore. 

From early pioneers like George Washington Bush to education leader Thelma Dewitty to trailblazing journalists like Horace Cayton and the thousands of African Americans who came for work during World War II, the Puget Sound region has greatly benefited from prominent Black figures and a growing Black population. Today, numerous Seattle neighborhoods are still hot spots for Black-owned businesses and arts and culture organizationsincluding the Central District, Rainier Valley, Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Hillman City, and White Center.  

For those interested in attending events, learning about Black heritage, or supporting Black-owned businesses and restaurants, following are just some of the options to honor Black history, in February and beyond.

Top Cultural Sites in Seattle & the Pacific Northwest

At the acclaimed WOW Gallery, founder Veronica Very is the driving force behind the Dear Sista, I See You Healing Art Exhibition at Downtown Seattle’s Pacific Place Mall. As a dynamic speaker, teacher and writer, Very inspires healing from racial and emotional traumas through storytelling and the power of art. 

Following are more rotating exhibitions and cultural happenings:

  • The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), located in the historic Colman School building in the Central District, is a great place to visit year-round. This museum is grounded in a mission to “use heritage to heal,” aiming to preserve the connection of people of African descent to their home in the Pacific Northwest. 
  • “Like Mother, Like Daughter,” by Hank Willis Thomas, Henry Art Gallery.

    Henry Art Gallery will have an exhibit of the work from talentedBlack artist Hank Willis Thomas titled LOVERULES. The exhibit features some of the conceptual artist’s most iconic and well-known artworks across a range of media, investigating diverse themes.

  • During the entire month of February, Rainier Avenue Radio is converting the Columbia City Theater into the pop-up Call to Conscience Black History Museum, featuring installations, exhibits, artifacts, interactive activities, and virtual experiences celebrating the achievements of Seattle’s Black and African American community. More than 15 exhibits will explore various facets of Black history, providing context for where things are today and a deeper understanding of the issues still left to face.
  • Now through Feb. 13, the Bainbridge Island Musuem of Art is featuring the Black & Boujee exhibition, highlighting the intersection of Black culture and luxury. It aims to challenge the prevailing Eurocentric notions of luxury and showcase how Black artists, designers, and creators have reimagined what it means to live luxuriously.
  • Starting February 3, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) will have an exhibit entitled100 Years of Junior League of Seattle: Explore the Northwest Art Project, featuring Black artists such as Jacob Lawrence and Barbara Earl Thomas. MOHAI is included in Seattle Museum Month, which offers Downtown Seattle hotel guests half-price admission to museums across the region throughout the month of February.
  • The Onyx Fine Arts Collective is the oldest and largest African-descent collective of artists in the Pacific Northwest, whose mission is to educate, inspire, cultivate, and showcase the artwork of artists of African descent from Pacific Northwest communities.
  • Coming to Occidental Square Feb. 16-17, BE Great, a Black Excellence Cultural Festival is a free 2-day event bringing together Black culture, arts, music, food and more. Enjoy soulful performances from local musicians, shop the pop-up night market, and explore Black creativity and community. 
  • From Feb. 24 to March 9, Seattle Opera presents the West Coast Premiere of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X by Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Davis. This groundbreaking opera explores the life of Malcolm X through a series of biographical vignettes set to a score combining modernism, minimalism, and jazz, and is the first opera written by a Black composer to run on Seattle Opera’s main stage. 

Shop Local & Eat Well

Seattle has a wide array of Black-owned places to explore, including The Station, a Black and Latinx-owned community coffee shop located in Beacon Hill. Co-owner Leona Moore-Rodriguez and her team have created a space that is committed to employing POC and LGBTQIA+ community members. Leona is proud to be the great granddaughter of Marcus and Elsie Harding, who were pioneers of the Kennydale neighborhood in Renton. Today, the family remains a mainstay in the Black community.

Boon Boona Coffee, Seattle.

Following is a sampling of more Black-owned businesses to explore:

  • Arte Noir– Nonprofit Black Arts & Culture retail shop    
  • Baked From the Hart – Coffee and Pie Shop 
  • Ballard Beer Company – Bottle Shop and Tap Room   
  • Black Arts Love – Art gallery and retail store 
  • Black Magic Sweets – Dessert shop 
  • Boon Boona– Coffee Products and Coffee Shop   
  • booSH Nursery – Plant Shop  
  • Bruja Hair Salon – Salon specializing in color theory and all hair types 
  • Communion– Award-winning ‘Seattle Soul’ Cuisine  
  • Delridge Farmers Market – Weekly Market Hosted by Nonprofit African Community and Housing 
  • Fat’s Chicken and Waffles– New Orleans-influenced Restaurant    
  • Jackson’s Catfish Corner – Southern Seafood Restaurant  
  • Jerk Shack– Caribbean Restaurant    
  • Métier Brewing Company– Brewery    
  • Noir Lux Candle Bar– Hand-Crafted Candles   
  • Pinckney Cookie Café – fresh cookies made without preservatives 
  • Plum Bistro– Vegan Restaurant  
  • QueenCare– Self-Care Products    
  • Simply Soulful Café – Soul Food Restaurant  
  • Shikorina Pastries– Bakery     
  • Tougo Coffee – Cafe and Bakery  
  • Where Ya At Matt– Soul Food Truck  

Happenings After Black History Month

Events that uplift Black history and culture take place long past February; look out for these events later in the year: 

  • ACT Contemporary Theatre presents STEW March 15-30, an exploration of family secrets, hope, and loss among three generations of black women.  
  • Seattle Rep presents Fat Ham, April 12May 12, a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” 
  • The Seattle Black Film Festival returns April 25-28, presenting a celebration of remarkable cinematic achievements and thought-provoking storytelling. 
  • Umoja Fest is a long-running celebration held in early August honoring African heritage.
  • The Festival Sundiata is an annual Black Arts festival slated for August 2325 at the Seattle Center.  

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