As we step into the month of February, Dayton, Ohio, comes alive with a vibrant celebration of Black History Month. The Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau invites you to join us in honoring the rich and diverse heritage of the African American community in our city. From captivating performances to immersive cultural experiences and delicious dining, Dayton offers an array of ways to commemorate this significant month.

Performing Arts Events:

In Modern Moves

1. DCDC Performance: "In Modern Moves":

Artistry and innovation collide on February 17&18 with an unforgettable journey through contemporary dance! Internationally acclaimed, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is the foremost African American performing arts institution in Dayton, OH, and they are celebrating their 55th season this year! Their performances are designed to resonate with people from all walks of life and what better way to do so than their upcoming show, "In Modern Moves". Within the performance, the dynamic choreography, raw emotion and extraordinary talent will bridge Reconstruction to the culmination of the Great Migration. You won't want to miss the live performances of Bach’s Violin Concertos at the Victoria Theatre.

2. Dance Stomp Shake:

This arts based non-profit organization is dedicated to creative excellence, leadership and community engagement. It will encompass an exclusive training workshop held by two-time world champions of dance, ELEVATED on February 17th at Sinclair Community College. The programming is geared specifically, but not exclusively, toward black youth and families. Following training, showcase your skills in an epic freestyle dance battle that evening, where $1500 in prizes awaits the victors. 

Can't get enough of the thrill? "The Hottest Hip Hop Show in the Midwest" will debut on February 18th at the Dayton Masonic Center. This annual Ohio competition sold out stands last year! They are ready to resonate with your soul and provide dance to the Funk Captial: Dayton, OH. But funk isn't the only thing they showcase; this high-energy, three-hour show will feature various genres and competition levels! Secure your tickets for an exhilarating day of dance. 

Dining & Shopping:

Dayton boasts a thriving community of Black-owned businesses. Whether you're seeking unique handmade crafts, delectable cuisine, wellness services, fashion finds, or event venues, there's an inspiring variety of options waiting for you to explore. If you're eager to support these local visionaries and their ventures, we invite you to visit our dedicated Black-Owned Businesses. Here you'll discover an extensive directory encompassing a diverse spectrum of businesses across Montgomery County. By patronizing these establishments, you not only discover exceptional products and services but also contribute to the growth and prosperity of these businesses, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic economic landscape in Dayton.


Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site

1. Visit Paul Laurence Dunbar House & Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center:

Step into the world of legendary poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, at his historic home. This 1904 house, where Dunbar lived until his passing in 1906, is a beautifully preserved time capsule. Explore the space where he created literary masterpieces and see his original typewriter and bicycle gifted by the Wright Brothers. Learn about both Dunbar AND the Wright Brothers at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. BOTH the Paul Laurence Dunbar house and the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center are a part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park

Discover the legacy of the first African American to achieve financial independence through his writing. The home is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., every weekend (Friday-Sunday), but has special events for this month including "Paul's Collaborations into Popular Music", "Buffalo Soldier Love Stories" and more that can be found on the National Park Service calendar. 

2. Learn about the Tuskegee Airmen at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force:

The National Museum of the United States Air Force pays tribute to the courageous Tuskegee Airmen who defied racial segregation to become true heroes in the skies in their World War II exhibit. During WWII, most African American soldiers were limited to support roles, but the Tuskegee Airmen proved that given equal opportunities and training, they could excel in combat. Their distinguished service not only contributed to victory in the war but also played a pivotal role in the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces, with the U.S. Air Force leading the way. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is open seven days a week and is FREE to the public!

Exhibits & Visual Arts:

1. Explore the "Freed Will" Exhibit at Dayton Metro Library:

This traveling exhibit, crafted by the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, will grace downtown Dayton's Main Library Opportunity Space @ St. Clair from now until February 29. You'll be able to immerse yourself in the story of nearly 400 formerly enslaved people who embarked on a monumental pilgrimage from Charlotte County Virginia to settle here in the Miami Valley - one of the largest emancipations in American History. Admission is free, and the exhibit is open to the public, offering a unique opportunity to connect with a pivotal chapter in our nation's past.

2. Tour the "What's New?" Exhibition at the Edward A. Dixon Gallery:

Explore the diverse perspectives, stories, and talents of African American artists through a vibrant collection of visual artworks. From striking paintings to thought-provoking sculptures, this traveling exhibition from the African American Visual Artists guild, offers a vivid glimpse into the dynamic world of African American artistry. This showcase at Edward A. Dixon Gallery (222 N St Clair St, Dayton, OH 45402) on display now through March 3, promises an exquisite fusion of creativity and culture that will leave you in awe.

3. The James Pate Exhibition opens at Dayton Art Institute:

The mesmerizing world of Dayton-based artist James Pate will be on display at the Dayton Art Institute from February 3 to April 28. This Focus Exhibition showcases over a dozen of Pate's captivating large-scale charcoal drawings. Pate's unique "Techno-Cubism" style offers a modern take on Cubism, delving into the complexities of the human condition, the Black experience, and the impact of racism. Through his art, Pate sparks important conversations about society and human potential.
James Pate at DAI


This Black History Month, Dayton, Ohio, offers a diverse and enriching array of experiences to celebrate the African American community's heritage and contributions. We encourage you to explore these events and activities (as well as other events happening around the community), support local businesses and embrace the rich cultural tapestry that makes Dayton a remarkable destination. Don't forget to enhance your visit by downloading the Visit Dayton app, which provides convenient access to event details, maps and more!