Black History Month is celebrated every February in order to embrace the amazing achievements and contributions of African Americans. The nationally endorsed tradition began in 1976 with President Gerald Ford. Since then every American president has designated or endorsed a specific theme for the celebration .
The 2020 theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” is in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote.
At the library you can learn about all aspects of African American history. We encourage you to explore our collection. The following list is a great place to start.
Celebrate Black History Month Booklist
Coretta Scott King Award Winners
Roots : the saga of an American family
Da Capo Press edition, 2016.
Summary: “This poignant and powerful narrative tells the dramatic story of Kunta Kinte, snatched from freedom in Africa and brought by ship to America and slavery, and his descendants. Drawing on the oral traditions handed down in his family for generations, the author traces his origins back to the seventeen-year-old Kunta Kinte, who was abducted from his home in Gambia and transported as a slave to colonial America. In this account Haley provides an imaginative rendering of the lives of seven generations of black men and women.”
Wayward lives, beautiful experiments : intimate histories of social upheaval
W.W. Norton & Company, 2019
“Summary: Traces a time of radical transformation of black life in early twentieth-century America, revealing how a large number of black women forged relationships, families, and jobs that were more empowered and typically indifferent to moral dictates.”
Dark sky rising : Reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow by Gates.
Scholastic Focus, 2019.
Summary: “This is a story about America during and after Reconstruction, one of history’s most pivotal and misunderstood chapters. In a stirring account of emancipation, the struggle for citizenship and national reunion, and the advent of racial segregation, the renowned Harvard scholar delivers a book that is illuminating and timely. Real-life accounts drive the narrative, spanning the half century between the Civil War and Birth of a Nation. Here, you will come face-to-face with the people and events of Reconstruction’s noble democratic experiment, its tragic undermining, and the drawing of a new “color line” in the long Jim Crow era that followed. In introducing young readers to them, and to the resiliency of the African American people at times of progress and betrayal, Professor Gates shares a history that remains vitally relevant today.”–Provided by publisher.
Dream a world anew : the African American experience and the shaping of America
Smithsonian Books, 2016
Summary: “Discover the sweeping history of black America: the path from slavery to freedom; the on-going struggle to define and realize freedom; and the major social, political and economic changes since 1968. You’ll learn how the African American story transcends a single community, and shapes all those who call themselves Americans.”
Black fortunes : the story of the first six African Americans who escaped slavery and became millionaires.
Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.
Summary: “The astonishing untold history of America’s first black millionaires–former slaves who endured incredible challenges to amass and maintain their wealth for a century, from the Jacksonian period to the Roaring Twenties–self-made entrepreneurs whose unknown success mirrored that of American business heroes such as Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison. Between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of blacks born into slavery was reaching maturity, a small group of smart, tenacious, and daring men and women broke new ground to attain the highest levels of financial success.”