Joel Washington. Photo by Jeff Richardson

Editor’s note: The following is a press release from the City of Bloomington. Bloom has republished it here with edits for style and clarity.

The City of Bloomington and the Indiana University Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center invite the community to the 17th annual Black History Month Gala, which will take place on Saturday, February 27, at 6 p.m. The ticketed, public event will be held over Zoom video conferencing, with e-ticket reservations available in advance through the BCT Box Office at or 812-323-3020.  

The gala offers an opportunity to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans who have devoted their time, talents, and resources to make a difference in the Bloomington community and beyond. The event will include a ceremony to recognize artist Joel Washington as the recipient of the Living Legend Award. In addition, the event will serve to salute the four young residents being recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Black Leaders of Tomorrow.

The theme for the 2021 Black History Month celebration is “The Show Goes On.” The month’s events will speak to the role of the arts in the resilience of the Black community; highlighting the way Black stories of the journey to freedom, civil rights, and equity have been represented in music from gospel to blues to rap, as well as other art forms from dance to literature to the visual arts. 

Community members can look forward to musical performances, an online silent auction, Black history trivia and a Gala gift to be sent after the event. When purchasing an e-ticket, those attending will have the option of purchasing a 4-by-4-inch or 6-by-6-inch charcuterie board by Blooming Boards for pickup to enjoy while attending the event from home. Bids for the silent auction may be placed from Tuesday, February 23, until the end of the Gala program at Proceeds from the Black History Month Gala silent auction will support the Black History Marker Fund and future programs to educate the community about the contributions of Africans Americans.