2023 Black history Month

February is Black History Month. It is the annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of Blacks in the United States. Founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926, it was first called Negro History Week and hosted the second week of February. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially designated February as Black History Month.

Legacy Lives Here

The Grizzlies celebrate Black History Month through several community initiatives, social highlights, and in-game entertainment. Join us as we learn, reflect, and celebrate Black History and Culture in Memphis and the Mid South.

Black History Month Games

Trail Blazers

Wed, Feb 1

6:00 PM

  • Halftime: EPIC Dance Experience choreographed by Diana Williams
  • HBCU Empowerment Award presented by Pinnacle honoring Ena Esco Cole, LeMoyne-Owen College
  • Reflection videos from players on the importance of recognizing and celebrating Black History Month


Thu, Feb 2

6:30 PM


Sun, Feb 5

5:00 PM

  • HBCU Empowerment Award presented by Pinnacle honoring Jozelle Booker, Jackson State University


Tue, Feb 7

7:00 PM

  • HBCU Empowerment Award presented by Pinnacle honoring Sam O’Bryant, Alcorn University


Fri, Feb 10

7:00 PM

  • HBCU Night presented by Pinnacle
  • HBCU Empowerment Award presented by Pinnacle honoring Sunya Payne, LeMoyne-Owen College
  • National Anthem: LeMoyne-Owen College Choir
  • Halftime: University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) Band
  • HBCU Trivia
  • Recognition of HBCU graduates among Grizzlies employees
  • Divine Nine Stroll-Off
  • First 5,000 fans receive Grizzlies Scarf


Sun, Feb 12

1:00 PM


Wed, Feb 15

7:00 PM

  • HBCU Empowerment Award presented by Pinnacle honoring Anthony Branch, Howard University


Thu, Feb 23

6:30 PM


Sat, Feb 25

7:00 PM

  • HBCU Empowerment Award presented by Pinnacle honoring Arlinda Fair-Cathey, Jackson State University


Tue, Feb 28

7:00 PM

  • HBCU Empowerment Award presented by Pinnacle honoring Bridget Sisney, Dillard University
2023 HBCU Night

The Memphis Grizzlies are proud to celebrate Historically Black Colleges and Universities this Black History Month. HBCUs have been a powerful source of education and pride for African American communities for over century and Memphis is home to one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges, LeMoyne-Owen College. In partnership with Pinnacle Financial Partners, we will honor the vital role these Universities have played to shape generations past, present, and future.


Grizzlies 5th Annual HBCU Empowerment Awards

The Grizzlies 5th Annual HBCU Empowerment Awards, presented by Pinnacle, will honor seven outstanding individuals who graduated from an Historical Black College or University and are empowering their community, within the City of Memphis and Shelby County, in the fields of Education, Health & Fitness, Youth Development or Service. In recognition of their commitments to the community, a donation of $5,000 will be made to each honoree’s alma mater, in their name.

Ena Esco Cole

Owner, Creator

Ivy Multimedia LLC, Verbally Effective Podcast

LeMoyne-Owen College

Honored February 01

Find Tickets

Jozelle Booker

President and CEO

Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum

Jackson State University

Honored February 05

Find Tickets

Sam O'Bryant

Executive Director

Literacy Mid-South

Alcorn State University

Honored February 07

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Sunya Payne

Director of Family and Community Engagement

Memphis-Shelby County Schools

LeMoyne-Owen College

Honored February 10

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Anthony Branch


Memphis Leadership Foundation

Howard University

Honored February 15

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Arlinda Fair-Cathey

Program Manager for DEI Programs & Community Engagement

National Civil Rights Museum

Jackson State University

Honored February 25

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Bridget Sisney


Universoul Wellness LLC

Dillard University

Honored February 28

Find Tickets

Amber M. Hamilton

Executive Director

Memphis Music Initiative

Howard University

Anthony Norris

EVP, CDO, Chairman & CEO

YMCA Memphis & the Mid-South

NC Central University

Dr. Orpheus Triplett

Assistant Dean

Community Oral Heath and Outreach

UT College of Dentistry

Trey Carter


Olympic Training Career Institute

Florida A&M University

Trevia Chatman

Sr. VP Memphis Market Manager

Bank of America

Tennessee State University

Tyrone A. Burroughs


First Choice Sales and Marketing

Benedict College

Kontji Anthony

Evening Anchor

WMC Action News 5

Howard University

Linda McNeil

Senior Account Manager

Gaskill Strategies

LeMoyne-Owen College

Miska Clay Bibbs

Chief of Staff

Teach for America

Hampton University

Sandra Reed MD


Mid South Anesthesia Consultants

Spelman College

Dillon Robinson

Clinical Research Monitor

St. Jude Research Hospital

Jackson State University

Black artists at FedExForum

Come see art around the arena during Black History Month, feature seven black artists who are changing the landscape of visual arts in Memphis through talent and gifts.

Kaylyn Webster

Jamond Bullock

Larry Itson

Siphne Sylve

Jerry Lynn

Darlene Newman

Eric Echols


Magnifying Memphis:
28 Days of Black History

Representing the 28 days in February, this calendar features 28 facts that speak to the City of Memphis, Memphis Grizzlies, and the NBA. Curated with the support of the Memphis Public Library and Facing History & Ourselves, these facts will highlight Black Historians from our community and beyond.

Follow along @memgrizz on our social channels for updates to the calendar each day.

Robert “Bob” Reed Church was the first black millionaire in the South. Church was a prominent businessman and entrepreneur that played a key role in establishing Beale Street as a prominent neighborhood and haven for black Americans during Reconstruction. In 1899, Memphis did not provide recreational facilities for black citizens. Robert Church invested in an area which contained a playground and a large concert hall where black theatrical groups could perform. The park now bears his name. Church Park is located at the far east end of Beale Street and Ida B. Wells.
William Christopher “W.C.” Handy was a composer and songwriter and was the first person to publish in the blues genre. Handy took blues from a regional music style to national popularity. Handy helped establish Beale Street as the Home of the Blues. A historical marker honoring WC Handy sits in front of Handy Park near Club Handy.
Randle Catron was a songwriter at STAX Records for Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and other prominent music figures. Randle was also Executive Director of the Beale Street Development Corporation, which secured funding from the Federal Government in 1982 to revitalize Beale Street into the entertainment district we have today. Randle also owned and operated the Historic Daisy Theatre, which still stands on Beale Street.

Black History with the Grizzlies

Why Black History Month is Important
Supporting Black Owned Businesses
Memphis Grizzlies HBCU Night 2020 Recap
Talking HBCUs, Black History Month with Robert Covington
2021 Black History Month

African American Authors

Interested in learning more through the African American experience? Dive into this list for books by Black authors, curated by the Memphis Public Library.