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Black History Month Banner

Each year, the City of Bloomington Black History Month Committee plans activities and events for the community to celebrate and commemorate the month of February as Black History Month.

This year's theme is "Reclaiming the Next Hundred Years."

All City of Bloomington Black History Month events are open to the public. Events are free unless otherwise stated.

The 2016 Black History Month Kick-off & Reception

Dr. Nelms Dr. Charlie Nelms The City of Bloomington Black History Month Planning Committee is pleased to welcome

Dr. Charlie Nelms, Vice President Emeritus, Indiana University as our Keynote Speaker for our Kick-off reception Thursday, February 4, 6pm, City Hall Council Chambers.

This event was free and open to the public, however we are requesting those members of our community who can afford to, to help others by brining non-perishable food items.

Charlie's Challenge

1. Interview the five oldest members of your family and compare and contrast their stories.

2. Interview the five oldest members of your religious community about some aspects of the history of your place of worship and document their faith journey, or the impact that their religious community has had on the greater Bloomington community.

3. Make a video of some aspect of the history of African Americans in Bloomington and upload it for viewing on community access TV, or have it broadcasted on community radio or other forms of social media.

4. Make a video of the history of the NAACP in Bloomington, and key initiatives the organization has successfully pursued over the past fifty years.

Read Mrs. Frances Gilliam's book, A Time To Speak: a History of Afro-Americans in Bloomington.


The 2016 Black History Month Community-Wide Events Calendar & Insert

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2016 Calendar of Events (PDF 303.78 KB) 2016 Calendar of Events Insert (PDF 727.55 KB) 2016 Blacks In Government Essay Contest (PDF 40.67 KB)

The 11th Annual Black History Month Gala

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The City of Bloomington's 11th annual Gala will take place on Saturday, February 27, at the Hilton Garden Inn, located at 245 N. College Avenue. The reception and silent auction will begin at 6:00pm and the program will begin at 7:00pm.

Tickets for the Gala are available at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater box office, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., or online at

For more information about Black History Month celebration in Bloomington, or the Commission on the Status of Black Males, contact Rafi Khalid Hasan II, Safe and Civil City Program Director at 812.349.3430

The City of Bloomington, Black History Month~ Bloomington Style activities are sponsored by the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department, City of Bloomington Office of the Mayor, Indiana University Office of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Lumina Foundation, Ivy Tech Community College, LongHorn Steakhouse, Monroe County Branch NAACP, Dr. K. Luke Eades, DDS, Indiana University Credit Union, Old National Bank, Order of the Eastern Star, South Star #50 and the Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons, Stone City Lodge #54.

2016 Living Legend Award Recipients

2016 Living Legend winners John and Audrey T. McCluskeyThis year the Black History Month Gala will recognize Indiana University Professors' Emeritus, John and Audrey T. McCluskey as the recipients of the Living Legend Award. The Living Legend Award was created to publicly acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans in Bloomington who have devoted their time, talents, and resources to make a difference in the Bloomington community and beyond.

Audrey T. McCluskey, a professor in the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department (AAADS), has served as associate director of Women's Studies, an administrator in the Groups Scholars Program, Director of the Black Film Archive, and Director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. John McCluskey, a professor of AAADS and English, enjoys sharing the books he loves with his students. During his tenure at IU, he also served as Director of the CIC Minority Fellowship-a program funded by the Ford Foundation-and as chair of AAADS. The McCluskey's contributions and their lives have broken boundaries, created legacies and provided inspiration to many.

They will join a distinguished list of past Living Legend Award recipients including: James Mumford, William and Janice Wiggins, the Rev. Marvin Chandler, George and Viola Taliaferro, Gladys DeVane, Clarence and Frances Gilliam, David Baker and Retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Gene Shipp. The McCluskeys will be honored along with the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Black Males' Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow at this year's City of Bloomington Black History Month Gala on Feb. 27 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomington, 245 N. College Ave.

2016 Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow Recipients

Griffin photo Dexter Charles Griffin

Dexter Griffin is the high-school-aged recipient. He has been described as an amazing role model and a natural leader. His nominators state, "Dexter is a talented young man with a diverse set of interests and activities," and "I have no doubt in my mind that his pattern of caring for others and serving those in his community and beyond will continue through his high school, college and adult years."

Julius Hanks Lawrence Julius Hanks II

Lawrence Julius Hanks II is this year's adult recipient, he was born in Tuskegee, Alabama and raised in Bloomington, IN. Hanks has worked as a substitute teacher and assistant track coach, where he has helped athletes break school records, including one of his own. Hanks is currently in his third year as a doctoral student at Indiana University in the School of Public Health. He has dedicated his time to mentoring young men and providing disc jockey services for youth and community events. Hanks states, "This community has given me so much support ever since I was a child. I hope that I can inspire other youth in my community to further their education and continue to give back to a community that helped to make them who they are."