Special Events

Martin Luther King Day - Third Monday in January
Multiple venues
Seattle has one of the largest annual celebrations in the nation, with workshops, a rally and march. Events honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his work toward racial equality and toward economic justice for all people, for his commitment to nonviolence, and for his stand against war and militarism.

Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas - January-May, September-December
Multiple venues
A variety of Black humanities programs on local issues and performing arts by national artists are offered seasonally. CD Forum also produces "Food As Art", an annual gala showcasing Seattle's top African American chefs and restaurateurs.

Black History Month Events - February
Multiple venues
Numerous events celebrate Black History Month, including art exhibits, dance performances, and historical displays.

Langston Hughes African American Film Festival - April
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 – 17th Avenue S
This annual event showcases films from independent Black filmmakers and works about the African American experience. The festival also features panel discussions, screenplay readings, and screenings for youth. The festival committee presents other programming during the year.

Spirit of West Africa - May
Seattle Center
A recent addition to the Festal roster, this annual festival celebrates the art, music, and culture of West Africa through live music, dance, art, film, exhibits, fashion show, family activities and a marketplace.

Juneteenth Freedom Festival & Parade - June
Edwin T. Pratt Park, 1800 S Main Street
This annual festival commemorates the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, marking the end of slavery in America. Enforcement of the proclamation freed Texas slaves on June 19, 1865, and the date was celebrated as Juneteenth or Freedom Day. Seattle's contemporary festival features a parade, speakers, poetry readings, food and entertainment.

Sundiata African American Festiva
l - June
Seattle Center
Part of the annual Festal cultural celebration at Seattle Center, Festival Sundiata features African and African American cultural traditions including drumming and dance, all kinds of music, visual art, children's activities and a marketplace for imports and crafts.

Umoja Family Fest African Heritage Festival & Parade - August
Judkins Park, 2150 S Norman Street
Seattle's annual African American Seafair celebration entertains and empowers with a parade, live music, cultural performances, family activities, basketball tournament, car show and vendors.

Central Area Community Festival - August
Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry Street
A celebration of the cultural diversity of the community, the festival features art and cultural exhibits, games, rides, crafts, merchandise, food and entertainment.

Earshot Jazz Festival - October and November
Multiple venues
Seattle's major annual jazz event brings international jazz giants to town each fall, and presents Seattle's finest musicians in a festival setting. Schedule includes performances, workshops, films, exhibitions and educational programs.

Black Nativity - December
Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Avenue
This holiday tradition tells the story of the Nativity, as written by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. The production features Pastor Patrinell Wright and her choir of gospel singers, modern and traditional choreography performed by an ensemble of dancers, and a live band.

The Hansberry Project at ACT Theatre - Year-round
ACT Theatre, 700 Union Street
In partnership with ACT Theatre, the Hansberry Project is a professional Black theatre company dedicated to the artistic exploration of African American life, history and culture.

Did You Know?

Thelma DewittyThe Thelma Dewitty Theater at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle's Delridge neighborhood is named for the first African American teacher in the Seattle School District, who began teaching in 1947.

Learn More

Image at top: Black Nativity, photo by Chris Bennion

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