One Way to Celebrate Black History Month in Los Angeles

Did you know? The celebration of Black History began as “Negro History Week” in February 1926, by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, and later expanded to the entire month.

How to Celebrate?:

Southern California locals can attend the 14th annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) February 9-20, 2006 at the Magic Johnson Theatre. This event highlights cinema, art, music, and poetry from African descent. This includes screenings of an astonishing 150 films, and a showcase of 100 fine artists displaying their unique work. In the past, this event has had 150,000 attendees making it the largest Black History Month event in the United States. In addition to Black History month, we owe this event to the ideas of Dr. Woodson. It was Dr. Woodson who noticed that blacks were never mentioned in history books, and decided to write the “Journal of Negro History” in 1916. With this journal came acknowledgment for the works that blacks contributed to American culture. In addition, it paved the way for people to demonstrate their support, award, and honor the talent of those of African descent.

What to Expect?:

A night of fun, glamour, and interaction with knowledgeable and diverse people. Attendees range from all races, ages, and lifestyles. Films range from documentaries to romantic dramas, made by U.S., Australian, and South African filmmakers. To make this Black History Month event an educational experience, there will be fourteen panels & workshops. The panel & workshop segment will showcase professionals talking about the entertainment industry, and better ways to improve your financial lifestyle. As a former attendee of the Pan African Film & Arts Festival, I can attest to the diverse and electric atmosphere that this festival brings, along with the celebrities. So, if you are an aspiring artist, this is a great event to attend. The panels & workshops provide a great opportunity to network and ask those questions that you have been dying to ask to a real insider. Or, even if you are just an admirer of art, this is the event to be at to enjoy works from local and international artist.

Why February?:

February, albeit the shortest month of the year, it is a month that holds a lot of significance in African American history. Dr. Woodson himself picked February as the month to celebrate because it holds the birthdays of two men who influenced black American people, Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. In addition, February was the month that civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, W.E.B. DuBuois was born. Also, the 15th Amendment was passed, giving blacks the right to vote, and Hiran Revels, became the first black U.S. senator, both in the month of February.


Cost for the Pan African Film & Arts Festival varies by event, so check out PAFF’s website for details. For example, film screenings are the price of your average movie ticket. PAFF offers two free events: The Saturday Children’s Festival, and the Art & Fashion Show event. Panels & Workshops cost $5 for individual tickets or $20 for a panel pass.


Most screenings and events take place at the Magic Johnson Theaters & Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. 3650 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90008.

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