February 1, 2021 | Devin Cook
It’s Black History Month!
February is Black History Month, also known as African American History Month. In 1925, it began as Negro History Week, established by Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, and the organization he founded, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Woodson “believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice”, and advocated for raising awareness of the contributions of African Americans to society at large. It was increased to a month from a week, starting in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial.
We encourage everyone, not just in the month of February, to incorporate more Black voices in everything they consume–especially when it comes to our nation’s troubled history. If you want to learn more about local history, our Black History and Genealogy Resource Guide is a great place to start. It includes easy access to Paducah and Western Kentucky historical content and guides on African American genealogy research. Another great place to start is our Black Lives Matter Resource Guide, developed in collaboration with Paducah-McCracken County NAACP and Paducah Minority Leaders–it includes anti-racist, educational materials for all ages.
Join one of our Virtual McLib Live presentations! On February 10th, at 7 PM via Zoom, local historian Richard Parker will be teaching us about the steamboat’s role as a means of escape in the Underground Railroad. Click here to learn more.
We’re also hosting An Evening with Samuel “Snacks” Hawkins Poet, Performer, & Educator on February 17th, at 7 PM via Zoom. Snacks will perform original pieces of spoken-word poetry and share from his new book, This is Why Kids Want to Stay Up Late.
Our featured book for Rainbow Book Club is The Death of Vivek Oji by Awkaeke Emezi, meeting via Zoom on February 27th at 6 PM. Click here to find out more! Emezi, the writer and video artist, who was born in Nigeria and lives in New Orleans, “deftly tucks doomed romance and family drama into mystery, then, slowly but surely, reveals their true aim: to construct a portrait of love triumphant over death.”
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for Black History Month themed virtual Story Times!
Add your email to a mailing list on Black history: 28 Days of Black History!
Here are some recently published Adult Non-Fiction and Fiction books we recommend for Black History Month reads!
- Black Bottom Saints by Alice Randall
- The Black Cabinet by Jill Watts
- The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates
- Black Women, Black Love by Dianne M. Stewart
- Confessions in B-Flat by Donna Hill
- Deacon King Kong by James McBride
- The Dead Are Arising by Les Payne
- Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair In America by Ayana Byrd
- Madam C. J. Walker: Making of an American Icon by Erica Ball
- Odetta: A Life in Music and Protest by Ian Zack
- People Wasn’t Made to Burn by Joe Allen
- A Promised Land by Barack Obama
- Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture by Emma Dabiri
- Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won The Vote, And Insisted On Equality For All by Martha S. Jones
- Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
- American Street by Ibi Zoboi
- The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
- Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi
- Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown
- The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
- Calling My Name by Liara Tamani
- Chlorine Sky by Mahaogony L. Browne
- For Everyone by Jason Reynolds
- Grown by Tiffany Jackson
- Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
- Jackpot by Nic Stone
- The Meet-Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson
- One of the Good Ones by Maritza Moulite
- The Voice In My Head by Dana L. Davis
- We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
- Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Amanda Redd
- Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker
- Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
- Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
- Juneteenth For Mazie by Floyd Cooper
- Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
- My Hair Is Beautiful by Shauntay Grant
- Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
- The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
- Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome
- Parker Looks Up by Parker and Jessica Curry
- Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe
- Ride To Remember: A Civil Rights Story by Sharon Langley
- The Story of Rap by Lindsey Sagar / Nicola Edwards
- Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
Want to watch a doc? Some of these are free to stream, some are available to pick up at the library!
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
- Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise
- The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
- Freedom Riders
- Race Matters: America In Crisis
- Slavery By Another Name
- The Talk: Race In America
Just in the last year, we all experienced huge moments in Black history. From the historic protests in 2020 for Black Lives Matter, to electing our first woman of color for Vice President, Kamala Harris, 2020 showcased the need for widespread involvement in the fight for equality for African Americans. Now more than ever, Black History should be a part of our lives every month.