African American events

Portland's African American community celebrates a variety of events throughout the year.

PDX Jazz FestivalFebruary's Jazz Festival celebrates Black History Month.
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    This section was produced in collaboration with Flossin Media, a black-owned media, marketing and event company that specializes in inspirational, motivational and educational messaging.

    JANUARY

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, presented by The Skanner Foundation, typically includes a national speaker talking about a current issue and is always held on the King holiday. Later that day, the World Arts Foundation hosts the Keeping the Dream Alive celebration at Highland Christian Center.

    FEBRUARY

    Portland Jazz Festival

    Portland marks Black History Month with the Portland Jazz Festival, a citywide celebration of the art form created by African Americans.

    Portland Trail Blazers Celebrate Black History Month

    The NBA’s Trail Blazers hold events throughout the month, including honoring local African Americans in halftime ceremonies.

    Cascade Festival of African Films

    Since 1991, the Cascade Festival of African Films, hosted by Portland Community College, has presented a wide selection of feature and documentary films from the African continent.

    MARCH

    Winter Bluesfest

    Beat the winter doldrums at the Winter Bluesfest, an annual indoor music festival featuring Northwest talents.

    APRIL

    Oregon Black Political Convention

    In presidential election years, the Oregon Black Political Convention, hosted by the Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs, examines issues affecting the state’s black community and endorses primary candidates.

    Soul’d Out Music Festival

    The ten-day Soul’d Out Music Festival features local and national performers of soulful music in venues around town. Recent headliners have included names like Ms. Lauryn Hill, Prince, Questlove, Diana Krall, Fishbone, The Orb and many other internationally regarded performers.

    MAY

    Black & White Ball

    This black-tie gala features dining, dancing and an auction, raising funds for Portland Boys and Girls Clubs.

    JUNE

    Juneteenth

    Juneteenth” is celebrated with a freedom parade and a picnic in North and Northeast Portland on the Saturday closest to June 19. This uniquely African-American holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Texas received word that Lincoln had abolished slavery. In Portland, observation of the holiday was begun in the shipyards in 1944 by Clara Peoples.

    Good in the Neighborhood

    The last weekend in June, the three-day Good in the Neighborhood festival of multicultural music, foods, games and arts showcases the rich culture of North and Northeast Portland.

    JULY

    Waterfront Blues Festival

    The Waterfront Blues Festival brings top national stars to downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park over the weekend of the Fourth of July.

    Cathedral Park Jazz Festival

    Held in the park below the historic St. Johns Bridge over a mid-July weekend, the free Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is one of the most relaxed events in the city.

    AUGUST

    MLK Dream Run Weekend Celebration

    Held the first weekend in August each year, the MLK Dream Run is a professional chip-timed 5k, 10k and 15k race that takes participants through the beautiful streets of the Soul District. The event is a two-day celebration that features music, food and fun while honoring Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The event is billed as one of the most multicultural runs in the Pacific Northwest, attracting many volunteers and runners from the African American community, including groups like BlackGirlsRun Portland.

    National Night Out

    The first Tuesday in August brings block parties into neighborhoods across town, including Woodlawn Park, Peninsula Park and the King and Elliott neighborhoods, for National Night Out.

    DECEMBER

    Kwanzaa

    The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center hosts an annual Kwanzaa celebration that includes exhibits and performances.

     

    Find more Portland events in the events calendar.


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