The library is showcasing the contributions of notable men and women in Black history. At our display, you notice a considerable amount of material highlighting the contribution of Martin Luther King Jr. including the video Citizen King. Besides books, you will find bookmarks celebrating this month--the bookmarks are free to take.
With such a rich history, our library display can't possibly cover all the persons, events and topics related to Black history. Therefore, a link has been attached to the content generated by the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and the Smithsonian Institute.
The following excerpt from Daryl Michael Scott outlines the history of this month-long recognition:
As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.
By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.
The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year.
(Excerpt from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History)
In honor of this year's celebration, travel in Harriet Tubman’s footsteps and discover the daring escape from slavery of William and Ellen Craft. Read about the great musicians who performed at the legendary Apollo theater in Harlem, and learn about Black History Month celebrations at the Smithsonian and the around the country.
The Invisible Line Between Black and White
On the Trail of Harriet Tubman
Martin Luther King Jr. by Mural
The Great Escape from Slavery of Ellen and William Craft
Show Time at the Apollo
A Civil Rights Watershed in Biloxi, Mississippi
Courage at the Greensboro Lunch Counter
The Scurlock Studio: Picture of Prosperity
A Year of Hope for Joplin and Johnson
Memphis Blues, Mississippi Delta Roots
Henrietta Lacks' 'Immortal' Cells