African American History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as African American History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
Below we list selected websites and other library materials (books, videos, etc.) that may be helpful to you regarding this subject. But please ASK A LIBRARIAN in our Children's and Adult Services departments for further information and recommendations.
Join Rockland Community College this winter as they celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emmancipation Proclamation and the commemoration of the 50th annivarsary of the March on Washington. Events will include art exhibits, lectures, book discussions and more!
African-American World - PBS presents a guide to Black History with historical highlights in areas such as "Arts & Culture," "Race and Society," and "Profiles." Additional information and activity information is available for teachers/parents and children. Note the links at the top of PBS' page as well: Timeline, Reference Room, Kids, Classroom, Community, and Resources. Over 300 articles on famous African-Americans and notable events in Black History are available in the "Reference Room" at that site.
The History of African Americans in the Civil War
"Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pockets, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States." - - Frederick Douglass
A PBS Special: Africans in America - America's journey through slavery is presented in four-parts, with accompanying teachers' guides of use to both parents and teachers. A searchable history of slavery in the United States, featuring images, historical documents, biographies, and contemporary and modern commentaries. From the PBS series series of the same name.
Africa Focus: Sights and Sounds of a Continent -
This database of over 3,500 digitized visual images and 50 hours of sound files from 45 African countries is searchable by keyword, subject, or country. It may also be browsed by collections of images (Artisans, Buildings and Structures, Cities and Towns, Education, Landscape, Religion, and Women) or sounds (Greetings, Rites and Ceremonies, Songs and Singing, and Drums).
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world.
Princeton University Library School of African-American Studies
Finding guides, books, journals and more.
History Channel- Celebrate Black History Month
Get short bios on many prominent African- American figures in history.
Billed as an "Independent Source of News for the African American Community", this site contains links to nearly 30 full-text African American daily newspapers, including the New York Beacon, The Philadelphia New Observer & City News (NJ).
Black Film Center/Archive -
The Black Film Center/Archive is a repository of films and related materials by and about African Americans, including films which have substantial participation by African Americans as writers, actors, producers, directors, musicians, and consultants, as well as those which depict some aspect of Black experience. Primarily a resource list of historic and contemporary Hollywood and independent films, the site is enhanced by a selection of historical film clips.
Celebrating Black History -
Articles, essays, photographs, and transcripts about the African-American experience from Time and Life magazines. Includes "transcripts of TIME.com's exclusive online conversations with newsmakers like Toni Morrison and Angela Davis."
There are many books in the library on subjects pertaining to African Americans. Please check with a librarian. A sampling of books is listed below. If you like to browse, please check the book shelves under numbers:
African American Fiction
The Library receives a wide variety new books, audio books, and DVDs covering a broad range in the subject area of African Americans. From picture books for children, to novels for adults, to large print, and in-depth historical and social research, below is a small sampling of recent acquisitions.
>>> Click on the title to go directly to the catalog listing for that particular book, CD, or DVD! <<<
Mary Wells : the tumultuous life of Motown's first superstar / Peter Benjaminson.
The African American Almanac, 10th ed. The Gale Group, 2008. this new edition provides a range of historical and current information on African American history, society and culture. Users will also find chronologies, texts of important documents and speeches, biographical profiles, legislation, essays, statistics and more than 800 illustrations to help them with their research.
African American lives / edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. New York : Oxford University Press, c2004. This book offers a breathtaking range of African American history through hundreds of poignant biographies. From Esteban, the earliest known African to set foot in North America in 1528, right up to the continuing careers of Venus and Serena Williams, these stories of the renowned and the unsung give us a new view of American history.
The African American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cornel West: Free Press, c2000. With its introspective text and understated layout, this tome is a small treasure. In addition to such well-known individuals as George Washington Carver, Oprah Winfrey, and Tiger Woods, the authors cover the contributions of lesser known figures like jockey Jimmy Winkfield, aviator Bessie Coleman, and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux.
African American Childhoods: historical perspectives from slavery to civil rights by Wilma King. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Historian Wilma King presents a selection of her essays, both unpublished and published, which together provide a much-needed survey of more than three centuries of African American children's experiences. Organized chronologically, the volume uses the Civil War to divide the book into two parts: part one addresses the enslavement of children in Africa and explores how they lived in antebellum America; part two examines the issues affecting black children since the Civil War and into the twenty-first century.
The African-American Family Album by Dorothy and Thomas Hobbler: A man from Sierra Leone describes his horrific capture in 1820. A 94-year-old recounts the struggles of the Reconstruction era. An English teacher recalls the first day of the Montgomery bus boycott. Piercing, first-hand accounts from ordinary people in extraordinary times.
An American Health Dilemma: a medical history of African Americans and the problem of race by W. Michael Byrd and Linda Clayton. Routledge, 2000 -
An American Health Dilemma presents a comprehensive and groundbreaking history and social analysis of race, race relations and the African American medical and public health experience. Beginning with the origins of Western medicine and science in Egypt, Greece and Rome the authors explore the relationship between race, medicine, and health care from the precursors of American science and medicine through the present day. The authors offer an extensive examination of the history of intellectual and scientific racism that evolved to give sanction to the mistreatment, medical abuse, and neglect of African Americans and other non-White people.
Black genius : African American solutions to African American problems / edited by Walter Mosley ... [et al.] ; and with an introduction by Walter Mosley. New York : W.W. Norton, c1999. Presents 13 lectures delivered at a conference organized by novelist Mosley at New York University to share the insights of some of the best known African Americans on the problems their people face and the solutions available. They include Spike Lee, George Curry, Melvin Van Peebles, bell hooks, Joycelyn Elders, Angela Davis, and Farai Chideya. Each essay is introduced by a biographical sketch.
Black women in America : an historical encyclopedia / editor, Darlene Clark Hine ; associate editors, Elsa Barkley Brown, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn. Brooklyn, N.Y. : Carlson Pub., 1993.
Black Inventors by Nathan Aaseng. Facts on File., 1997.
Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Alan Steinberg: Have you ever heard of Peter Salem? Bass Reeves? Lewis H. Lattimer? From soldiers to speakers to scientists, basketball great Abdul-Jabbar brings to light courageous black men and women throughout history who have often gone overlooked.
Black Saga: The African American Experience by Charles M. Christian: From the pre-Columbus kingdoms of Africa to the struggles of today, Christian provides a massive chronology of the people, places, and events that have shaped the culture and identity of African-Americans in the United States.
Contemporary Black Biography: This 36-volume reference set provides at-a-glance information on personalities as varied as blues singer Bessie Smith, tennis champ Arthur Ashe, Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, and Easy Rawlins creator Walter Mosley.
Extraordinary People of the Harlem Renaissance by P. Stephen Hardy and Sheila Jackson Hardy: If your children’s knowledge of music and literature ends with Destiny’s Child and Harry Potter, introduce them to the sensational New York of the Roaring 20s. Covering everyone from Louis Armstrong to Countee Cullen, this easy-to-read book is perfect for budding artists, writers, and entertainers.
The Forgotten Players: The Story of Black Baseball in America by Robert Gardner and Dennis Shortelle: We all remember Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Reggie Jackson, but what about Frank Grant, Cool Papa Bell, or Martin Dihigo? We’ve heard of the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays, but what of the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs? Sports and history buffs alike will enjoy this look back at the Negro Leagues that flourished before Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.
Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine: When Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat, few knew that an eleventh-grader had been jailed for the same protest a few months earlier. After Martin Luther King, Jr. was imprisoned for his demonstrations in Birmingham, so was a nine-year-old girl. Perhaps one of the least-known aspects of the Civil Rights era, thousands of children and teenagers took part in marches and protests during the 1950s and 60s, often enduring police beatings and arrests. This remarkable collection is perfect for any teen who’s ever thought he or she was too young to make a difference.
From Roots to Wings : successful parenting African American style : beliefs and practices for academic excellence & cultural excellence / by James C. Young. Chicago, Ill. : African American Images, 2006.
From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, 8th ed. by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss, Jr.: First published in 1947, this latest edition begins with the rise of slavery and continues through the Clinton Administration. Neatly organized into chapters and sub-chapters, this accessible work is suitable for anyone wishing to understand black history in greater depth.
History and Achievement of the NAACP by Jacqueline L. Harris: In 1909, three whites—a Jew, a Southerner, and the granddaughter of an abolitionist—launched a national biracial organization to help address the wrongs endured by African-Americans. Since then, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has campaigned against lynching, laws preventing blacks from voting, discrimination in housing and transportation, racial division in the armed forces, and segregation in schools. Harris’ straightforward, engaging text will interest young adults to read more.
History of Afro-American Literature by Blyden Jackson. Louisiana University Press, 2008.
Hog and Hominy: soul food from Africa to America by Frederick Douglass Opie. Columbia University Press, 2008.
Soul food, a term popularized in the 1960s, is typically associated with African American cuisine of the Southern United States. In his first book, Opie, professor of African Diaspora studies, analyzes the rich culinary origins of soul food that are rooted in world history, including the colonization of America and the Atlantic slave trade.
I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives edited by Yuval Taylor: No American’s knowledge of slavery can be complete without this monumental, two-volume collection written by such individuals as William Grimes, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs. These small masterpieces, stretching from 1772 to 1866, include haunting tales of Africa, the Middle Passage, life on the plantation, and the Emancipation Proclamation. 920.009296 I Vol. I-II
In Her Footsteps: 101 Remarkable Black Women from the Queen of Sheba to Queen Latifah by Annette Madden: A 16th Century Nigerian queen. A former slave turned successful entrepreneur and investor. A brilliant doctor who rose from poverty. What do these women have in common? They are all strong, African-American females who triumphed over racism, sexism, and countless other obstacles. An excellent book for mothers and daughters to share.
Living to tell about it : young Black men in America speak their piece / Darrell Dawsey. New York : Anchor Books, c1995.
Journalist Darrell Dawsey traveled across the country for a year, listening to a mosaic of young men talk about their childhoods, relationships with parents and women, sexuality, self-respect, spirituality, ambitions, the race that binds them, and other pertinent topics. The result of his effort is the first book to look beyond statistics and perceptions to the real lives of young black men in America today.
Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marshall Frady: For those looking for a quick overview of Dr. King’s life, the amount of information available can be overwhelming. At just over 200 pages, this slim Penguin Lives biography is a short but informative read on the late civil rights leader’s life. BIO King, Martin Luther, Jr.
New York Public Library African American Desk Reference; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. New York: Wiley, 1999. An indispensable reference book when you're looking for a quick piece of information.
New York Public Library Amazing African American History: A Book of Answers for Kids by Diane Patrick: “What was the Underground Railroad?” “Who were the Buffalo Soldiers?” “What is affirmative action?” Clear, simple language and engrossing stories will encourage young people to find out the answers to these questions and more.
Notable Black American Scientists edited by Kristine Krapp: Anthropology, organic chemistry, nuclear engineering, medicine—learn about the many contributions African-Americans have made to the world of science. A great reference for high school students doing research or just looking for a positive role model.
Notable Black American Women edited by Jessie Carney Smith. Gale Research, 1992 -
In Notable Black American Women, Book II, readers will embark on a fascinating journey through the remarkable lives of hundreds of women. This title complements Gale's award-winning Notable Black American Women, published in 1992, by providing biographical profiles of 300 additional women who have made significant contributions to American society and the world.
The real lives of strong black women : transcending myths, reclaiming joy / by Toby Thompkins. Chicago : Agate, c2004.
In this warm, sensitive and straightforward self-help guide for African American women, Toby Thompkins explores the triumphs, struggles and lessons necessary to transcend the stereotypes and overcome the consequences of being a "strong black woman."
Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South edited by William H. Chafe, Raymond Gavins, and Robert Korstad: In the early 1990s, Duke University set out to record the stories of 20th Century segregation by the black Southerners who lived it. This remarkable book includes extensive transcripts of these interviews. The two accompanying compact discs feature an original radio documentary on the project, and a selection of some of the participants’ accounts.
Timelines of African-American History: 500 Years of Black Achievement by Tom Cowan and Jack Maguire: Find out what happened in African-American history the year you were born, or the year your great-great grandfather was born. Nearly every year from 1492 to 1993 is divided into categories of accomplishments, including politics and civil rights, business and employment, literature and journalism, the military, science and technology, religion, education, the performing and visual arts, and sports.
To Keep the Waters Troubled: The Life of Ida B. Wells by Linda O. McMurry: In the generation that followed Frederick Douglass, no African-American was more prominent, or notoriously outspoken, than Wells. A forceful crusader against lynching and a powerful advocate for women’s rights, Wells remains an unforgettable figure in the fight for civil liberties.
Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement by Townsend Davis: Take an incredible journey through the Deep South, stopping at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s childhood home in Atlanta, a Baptist church in Memphis, a barbershop in Jackson, and the famous path from Selma to Montgomery. A must-read for transplanted Southerners or anyone planning a road trip.
W.E.B. DuBois: Biography of a Race, 1869-1919 by David Levering Lewis: Born three years after slavery was outlawed, DuBois rose to become the premier architect of the civil rights movement in the United States. This towering biography focuses on DuBois’ education at Harvard, his assistance in the creation of the NAACP, and his controversial sparring with fellow activist Booker T. Washington.
Your Spirits Walk Besides Us: the politics of black religion by Barbara Dianne Savage. Harvard University Press, 2008.
With the recent controversy over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, much attention has been recently paid to the topic of the black church in America. Yet historian Savage shows in her book that "there is no such thing as the 'black church.'A " Countering the image of a monolithic institution, Savage instead portrays the theological, economic and social diversity within black churches.
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