Black history celebrations and events abound in Palm Springs and the surrounding area this month. Following is a list of some of those events, organized by date. Want your event included or need to point out an error or omission? Email us here.
Opening Reception, Palm Springs Art Museum, Feb. 3 at 5:30 p.m.
Kick off Black History Month with the Palm Springs Black History Committee, featuring a student performance from the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center Drill Team and Drum Squad. Following the kick-off, you can enjoy a self-guided tour (available at the admissions desk) celebrating Black artists on view at the museum. In-person Docent tours are also available celebrating Black artists on view and highlights from the Museum Collection. Space is limited. Reservations can be made here. The museum is located at 101 Museum Dr.
Annual Awards Gala, Palm Springs Hilton, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now for the Palm Springs Black History Committee’s annual Black History Awards Gala, to be held at the Hilton Ballroom, 400 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, on Saturday, Feb. 5. The gala is the committee’s way of recognizing individuals, groups, and local and corporate businesses contributing to the success and achievements of African Americans and our society. This year’s event begins at 6 p.m. with a silent auction and cocktail hour. Tickets start at $75 and can be purchased at this site.
The E&J Movement, Palm Springs Art Museum, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m.
Attendees are invited to listen to Motown songs while learning about history with someone who was actually there during this free event at the museum, located at 101 Museum Dr. Reservations are required and can be made here.
Discussion on barriers to the American dream, Palm Springs Art Museum, Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Renee Brown, Director of Education and Associate Curator at Palm Springs Historical Society, will discuss the barriers that keep many people from obtaining what is commonly referred to as the “American Dream.” Historically in Palm Springs, these barriers have included income, race, religion, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation injustices. Brown’s timeline will illustrate the complex layers of decisions made by federal, state, and local governments as well as by the people of a sovereign nation, the Cahuilla Indians and the effects those decisions had on the development of the City of Palm Springs. Reservations are required for this free event and can be made here.
Adult basketball tournament, Location to be determined, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m.
An adult basketball tournament is currently being planned in the city for this date. When location details are available we will post them here.
Live African American Museum performance, The BRANCH Institute, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.
Students participating in the Afrocentric Rights of Passage program through BRAAF (Building Resilience in African-American Families) will act out displays from the African American Museum during an event titled “Out of the mouths of babes” starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19. The event takes place at the BRANCH Institute, 588 Rosa Parks Rd. Doors open at 3:30 p.m., and more information is available buy emailing [email protected]
Caravan thru African-American History, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m.
Drive along a fixed route while listening to a narrated audio transmission inside your vehicle during this popular event. This year’s caravan will begin at the Agua Caliente Casino in Downtown Palm Springs. Along the route, you will be introduced to Black pioneers of the city whose talents and perseverance overcame the prejudices of earlier times. The tour concludes at Desert Highland Gateway Estates — Palm Springs’ first organized neighborhood — where community activists and athletes of worldwide repute have all lived. Last year more than 100 vehicles participated in the caravan.
Public talk: People Who Filled Their Seats, Palm Springs Art Museum, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m.
There are many kinds of seats: Seats at the top. Seats at the table. Bus seats. Front seats. Back seats. Are you comfortable in your own seat? What seat are you willing to fill to help out your community? Before Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin was arrested at the age of 15 for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus. The artwork of Deborah McDuff Williams introduces other Black American pioneers who helped pave the way for the celebrated heroes that have filled important seats in Black history. Hear from Williams during this free event. Reservations are required and can be made here.
Black History Month Parade and Town Fair, Feb. 26 at 10 a.m.
Black History Month culminates in the city with the annual parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26 on Palm Canyon Drive, from Baristo to Amado. Immediately following the parade, a town fair begins at the city’s new park across the street from the Palm Springs Art Museum. Organizations interested in participating can download a parade entry form or an application to have a booth at the Town Fair on this page of the Palm Springs Black History Committee website.
Author talk: Dwayne Ratleff, PS Public Library, Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom
In celebration of Black History Month, local author Dwayne Ratleff will be discussing his award-winning book Dancing to the Lyrics. A timeless and timely coming-of-age tale told through the eyes of the young protagonist, Grant Cole, readers are offered a first-hand account of an African American gay youth who perseveres in spite of personal and family obstacles as well as the larger challenges of his era. The program will be from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Zoom. To receive the access code on the morning of the lecture please email Julie Warren in advance of the program at [email protected].