Waukegan, Illinois (February 1, 2024) – The Waukegan Park District is celebrating Black History Month in February with special programming throughout the month. The programs and events will honor African Americans and their contributions to art, culture, and local history.
The following programs and events will be offered:
- Soul Food with Sylvia on Saturday, February 3, 2024 from 11am to 1pm
Sylvia England, Founder and Executive Director of the African American Museum at the England Manor, will demonstrate the cooking of a traditional soul food dish.
- Parents’ Night Out on Friday, February 16, 2024 from 5:30pm to 9pm
Children will participate in open play, watch a movie, and engage in activities and crafts to learn more about African American achievements.
- Black History Celebration on Saturday, February 17, 2024 from 4pm to 5:30pm (Free)
From musical and dance performances to dramatic readings, the celebration will feature live performances from African American artists.
- Waukegan’s African American History Exhibit during February (Free)
The exhibit will feature stories of Waukegan’s African American past, including the Underground Railroad, early pioneers and leaders, the segregated community of Frog Island, and the desegregation of Whittier School.
- African Artists presented by Dandelion Art Gallery during February (Free)
Throughout Black History Month, the halls of the Jack Benny Center for the Arts will feature a special art show presented by Dandelion Art Gallery. Some art will be available for purchase.
In addition, the Waukegan History Museum will be offering free outreach programs for local classes and community organizations: “Waukegan and the Underground Railroad” and “Influential African Americans in Waukegan”.
According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Black History Month began as “Negro History Week” in the second week of February of 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 15. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.
More information is available at waukeganparks.org/blackhistorymonth.
About the Waukegan Park District
Established on December 26, 1916, the Waukegan Park District (WPD) has 53 properties and more than 742 acres of land, including the 18-hole Bonnie Brook and 9-hole Greenshire Golf Courses. Properties are managed to the highest environmental and conservation standards. Facilities operated by the WPD include the Field House Sports, Fitness and Aquatics Center, Waukegan’s Greg Petry SportsPark, Waukegan Skate Park, BMX Track, SplashZone, Percussion Playground, recreational centers, disc golf course, dog exercise area and agility course, outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, playgrounds, splash pads, and sports courts including basketball, tennis and pickleball. A full range of programs and services are offered year-round for all ages, from infants to seniors, as well as special need populations. Healthy lifestyles, wellness initiatives, and a connection with the outdoors and nature are integrated throughout programs, services, and special events. Arts and cultural activities are provided by the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus, and the Waukegan History Museum. We offer something for everyone!
A member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD), Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), the WPD employs 73 full-time and 219 part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees and is recognized by the IPRA as an Exceptional Workplace.
Nationally accredited by the NRPA Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and State accredited through the IAPD Distinguished Agency Accreditation, the WPD has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Triple Crown Award for receiving the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award, and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The WPD was awarded the NRPA National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2013, and was named a Gold Medal Finalist in 2012, 2013, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023.