First Published: 2020
Created by: John Powell
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, 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 Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.
Destini’s Brother (NYT Video)
A New York Times film in which the story of a young Black man’s incarceration is told through the eyes of his 13 year old sister, Destini Riley. Giving a face to the statistics regarding mass incarceration in the US.
The Libraries Stories Project; The Green Books
Episode 39 of the NYPL Library Stories; Working Together for the Common Good. Playwright and documentarian Calvin Alexander Ramsey discusses his research on the Green Books which are a travel guide series for African Americans during the Jim Crow era which detailed listings of businesses that were safe for Black people to use in the South at that time.
Hidden Figures – Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson, one of the “hidden figures” behind the success of the Apollo 11 moon landing. An African American female mathematician, her inspiring story led to the successful film Hidden Figures, where she was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson.
Behold the Dreamers (African Immigrants)
Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel, "Behold the Dreamers," is the story of one immigrant family from Cameroon whose fates collide with the collapse of financial markets in 2009. Here she discusses the illusion of the American Dream, and her personal inspiration behind writing the story with veteran journalist Lola Ogunnaike.
Mildred & Richard Loving
The story of Mildred and Richard Loving, the couple who inspired the landmark 1967 civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, which challenged laws prohibiting interracial marriages, was made into a movie; Loving. It’s important to understand the world in which they lived. Historically, anti-miscegenation laws in southern states including Virginia and Maryland prevented African Americans from marrying outside their race. Anti-miscegenation laws were enforced up until the mid-1960s.
Wyatt T. Walker
Religious leader, activist, and author, Reverend Wyatt T. Walker was internationally known for his contributions to the Civil Rights and Anti-Apartheid movements. A chief strategist for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Walker was one of the key architects of the 1960-64 civil rights campaigns.
Black Ballots MixTape
Black Ballots Mixtape presents audio selections from items housed from the Schomburg Center’s Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division. The playlist consists of several excerpts from speeches related to Black people and voting.
The Struggle in Books, Film & Art this year highlighted seminal figures in Civil Rights, Literature & Film, including internationally acclaimed authors Phillis Wheatley and Nnedi Okorafor, celebrated Civil and Voting Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer, and influential filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles.
Soul Train was an American music and dance TV program that ran for 35 years featuring Soul, R&B, Funk, Jazz and Hip Hop artists. The Scramble Board was a part of the show where 2 audience members would get to unscramble the person or phrase on the board.
The Struggle in Books, Film & Art highlighted seminal figures and genres in Black Arts & Culture including internationally acclaimed authors Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, renown silhouettist Kara Walker and the uniquely American music art form, Jazz.
The Lewa Afriika Dance Troupe was the highlight of our Black History Month Extravaganza at UP, featuring authentic drum music and dance from Africa.
The Black History Month Celebration ranged from a screening of the film 13th to a visit to Houston’s Buffalo Soldier Museum and capped off with a live one woman performance of Harriett Tubman and Rosa Parks by historical actress Melissa Waddy Thibodeaux.
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