Black History Month is celebrated every February and gives us a dedicated time to honor the central role that Blacks and African Americans have played in U.S. history. As you reflect on how Blacks and African Americans have touched your life, take a look at these recommended reads to share with your family and friends, young and old:
The animating idea of The 1619 Project is that our national narrative is more accurately told if we begin not on July 4, 1776, but in late August of 1619, when a ship arrived in Jamestown bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. This book tells this new origin story, placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country. Check out The 1619 Project: Born on the Water for a children’s version of this book.
Hair Love written by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
An ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters by the former NFL wide receiver depicts an exuberant little girl whose dad helps her arrange her curly, coiling, wild hair into styles that allow her to be her natural, beautiful self.
A Long Time Coming: A Lyrical Biography of Race in America from Ona Judge to Barack Obama by Ray Anthony Shepard
Meticulously researched and drawn from numerous primary sources, this biography-in-verse tells the story of racism in the U.S. through six important Black Americans from different eras who struggled for justice, chronicling how much — and how little — racism has changed since our country’s founding.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
A biographical reference by author and illustrator Vashti Harrison is based on her popular Instagram posts and shares the stories of 40 African-American women who shaped history.
In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole. This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives, and surprising encounters with places and people.
The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore
The author shares her experiences of escaping the First Liberian Civil War and building a life in the United States, shining the light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Haunted by the bus accident that ended his best friend’s life, seventh grader Tristan Strong dreads a visit to his grandparents’ Alabama farm before a bizarre living doll snatches away his friend’s notebook and draws him into a world of burning seas, iron monsters and exhausted black folk heroes.
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? written by Christ Barton, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
A picture book biography of lawyer, politician, and civil rights leader Barbara Jordan emphasizes how she used her voice to make a difference in the world.
And don’t forget to join us at our Black History Month Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 17. Enjoy music, art, poetry, and more during this community-wide event.