The Columbus Metropolitan Library will celebrate Black History Month, which is observed each year in February, with numerous activities, from dancing to genealogical research.

Events will be held throughout the system to commemorate contributions African-Americans have made to American culture, said Ben Zenitsky, a spokesman for the library system.

"Columbus Metropolitan Library proudly celebrates Black History Month," Zenitsky said. "Our free programs across the system are all about engaging with young minds and families and connecting them with stories of the people and events that helped shape African-American culture -- whether through storytelling, music, poetry or other forms."

Many activities are age appropriate, such as "Black Panther" dance classes, which will be held at branches throughout the system and geared to children 7 years old and older. The dances will be based on the popular comic book character, who inspired the hit 2018 movie of the same name.

A schedule of events is available at

At 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, Anthony Gibbs of the Ohio History Connection will present "Courage in the Skies: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen" at the Whetstone branch, 3909 N. High St. in Clintonville.

Gibbs will recount the history of the first African-American military pilots in the U.S. and their struggles, service and sacrifices in World War II.

From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 16, the Franklin County Genealogical and Historical Society will lead a two-hour presentation about how to begin the research process and use online tools and ancestry resources at the Shepard branch, 850 N. Nelson Road in Columbus.

Many activities throughout the monthlong celebration will be hosted by the Martin Luther King branch, the system's newest branch, 1467 E. Long St. in Columbus.

The programs include "Hip-Hop Academics: Rapping Kids into Learning" at 2 p.m. Feb. 16; "The Flying Hobos," a 90-minute living-history play that tells the 1932 story of the first black airmen to fly across America, at 9 a.m. Feb. 22; and "Turtle Shell Tales," African and African-American folk tales of the turtle and tortoise by storyteller Lyn Ford, at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 25.

Black History Month will be capped off by "Origins of Hip-Hop," which explores the artistic movement with music and live break-dancing, at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Martin Luther King branch.

"We're very excited about our Black History Month calendar and the diverse activities we have," said Keisha Gibbs, manager of Martin Luther King branch. "It's nice to offer something for all ages."