Celebrate Black History Month at the AADL with events featuring local history, writers, music, film, and more!
The Living Oral History Project
Saturday, February 1 • 1–3:00pm • Downtown Lobby
Drop-in to watch video segments from AADL's Living Oral History Project and discover more about local African American history. These video interviews of residents recalling their past serve as a road map illustrating what local African Americans witnessed, experienced, and contributed to building the community we share today. You can also pick up a map to use to visit local sites relevant to the history of African Americans in Ann Arbor.
The Living Oral History Project is presented in partnership with the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. You can learn more about the Museum during a special presentation on Sunday, February 23 at Westgate Branch.
Secret Lab Inventors Series | James West: Desktop Stereo Microphone
Friday, February 7 • 6–8:00pm • Downtown
In 1961, while working at Bell Laboratories, James West and Gerhard Sessler invented the electret foil microphone, which has been used widely in devices such as telephones, lavalier mics, and more.
In this workshop, we'll discuss the electret microphone and then make an awesome desktop stereo microphone. This project will take the entire time to complete.
Author Event | Debbie Taylor: Over In Motown!
Saturday, February 8 • 2–3:00pm • Malletts Creek
Join us as Debbie Taylor reads from and discusses the creation of this new book published by the library's Fifth Avenue Press imprint and chosen as a Junior Library Guild 2020 selection!
Over In Motown! is an energetic picture book celebrating the musical genres and rhythms of the industry that fueled Detroit in the Motown era. Based on the Over In The Meadow rhyme, this counting book features beautiful illustrations by Keisha Morris.
Film | Freedom Riders
Tuesday, February 11 • 6:30–8:30pm • Downtown
Freedom Riders is the powerful, harrowing, and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws in order to test and challenge a segregated interstate travel system, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.
Concert | Motown Legends Gospel Choir
Tuesday, February 18 • 7–8:00pm • Downtown Lobby
Enjoy this special evening concert by the The Motown Legends Gospel Choir, one of the most eminent gospel choirs in the Detroit metropolitan area. The choir, which consists of many past and present Motown artists, will also reflect on their favorite Motown memories.
The Roots of Hip Hop Music
Saturday, February 22 • 2–3:30pm • Downtown
Join Victoria Shields for a presentation examining the evolution of Hip Hop music from its roots in West Africa to the international music phenomena of the present. Learn about the historical and cultural elements of hip hop, how it has given voices to youth and urban communities, and leave with a list of related book titles for children and young adults.
The African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County
Sunday, February 23 • 2–3:30pm • Westgate
Join us for this special presentation as Joyce M. Hunter, the Museum's President/CEO, discusses the new African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County and exciting plans for its future. Information will also be shared about the Grand Opening and how the community can participate in this historical event.
This event is in partnership with the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County.
Author Event | Rochelle Riley: The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery
Thursday, February 27 • 7–8:30pm • Downtown
In a presentation entitled "Slavery didn't end: Facing the truth in the age of MAGA," Rochelle Riley, author and former award winning columnist at the Detroit Free Press will discuss her book The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery and how slavery "just changed addresses, moving from plantations into boardrooms, courtrooms, classrooms, newsrooms, hospitals, neighborhoods and cultural institutions."