FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2023

Media Contact:
Zebulon Miletsky
marketing@asalh.org

We’re back! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) celebrates African Americans and the Arts during its annual Black History Month Festival

WASHINGTON, DC — The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is proud to announce the Annual Black History theme of African Americans and the Arts for 2024. African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount. This year’s annual Black History Luncheon and month-long festival will explore this theme with vibrant and engaging programming.

ASALH will celebrate the return of our annual in-person Black History Month Luncheon, which will take place Saturday, February 24th, 2024, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST at the Westin Washington, DC Downtown (formerly The Renaissance). The arts have always provided ways for African Americans to make commentary on troubling times, and 2024 is no exception. This is a continuation of a tradition established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson himself. As such, the luncheon will feature a conversation between House Minority Leader, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and Historian, Dr. Hasan Jeffries of The Ohio State University, who happen to be brothers. Ms. Denise Rolark Barnes, Publisher of the Washington Informer, and scion of the Black Press, will serve as emcee. Other speakers include: Dean of Howard University Divinity School, Minister Kenyatta Gilbert, who will bring the benediction; Aaron Myers, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, who will bring “The Occasion”; and Rev. Dr. Sandra K. James, Assistant Pastor at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, Virginia. Who will give the closing benediction; musical entertainment will be provided by Bill Branch and his band.

An important part of the luncheon this year is our Author’s Book Signing, featuring selected authors sharing books on African American history and culture. They will discuss the 2024 Black History theme in their books. The program also includes an unveiling of the 2024 Black Heritage Stamp featuring Civil Rights legend and noted American jurist, Constance Baker Motley. Limited early bird tickets were sold until December 31st at $150+ ($175+ after January 1st) and can be purchased at www.asalh.org.

There will be virtual and in-person events throughout the month of February, including: a “kick-off” panel discussion on Black Sci-Fi and Anime on February 1st; a street art program on February 8th; and an event with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor National Heritage Area on February 15th. African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment. Artistic and cultural movements such as “the New Negro”, Black Arts, Black Renaissance, Hip-hop, and Afrofuturism, have been led by people of African descent and set the standard for popular trends around the world. These events will be streamed on our YouTube channel ASALH TV.

As ASALH President W. Marvin Dulaney has stated, “In celebrating the entire history of African Americans and the arts, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) puts into the national spotlight the richness of the past and present with an eye towards what the rest of the twenty-first century will bring. ASALH dedicates its 98th Annual Black History Theme to African Americans and the arts.”

ASALH’s Black History Month Festival was created in 2021 in response to the need to continue Black history programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. ASALH has since continued the festival and 2024 will mark the fourth such gathering. It has been our pleasure to feature in previous festivals conversations with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of Harvard University; Mr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of The Smithsonian Institution; Ms. Daphne Maxwell Reid, award winning actress; and several former National Football League players.

Join us throughout the month of February as we examine the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans in our annual Black History Month Festival. Get your tickets at asalh.org.