Black History Month

African American History

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Commemorating myriad contributions of Africans American to the nation’s history, heritage and culture

African-American author and teacher Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, who is considered to be the “Father of Black History,” established the first Negro History Week in 1926. Fifty years later, on the nation’s bicentennial, this celebration of African-American heritage was extended to the entire month of February.

A commemoration of the historical, cultural and contemporary roles of African Americans in the United States, Black History Month aspires to educate the nation on topics significant to the African-American experience, including slavery, segregation, and the civil-rights movements. Tribute is paid to leaders, politicians, martyrs, soldiers, artists, authors, and heroes whose remarkable achievements in their respective fields represent the tragedies, triumphs and continuing struggles of the African-American community.

In honor of Black History Month, February’s SIRS Spotlight of the Month profiles renowned African Americans of both past and present and reflects on African-American history and culture. Articles and online destinations include:


1. Black History Month Honors Legacy of Struggle and Triumph

2. More Blacks Choosing to Home-School

3. The African Roots of Colonial America

4. Shades of Difference

5. ‘I Never Set Out to Write to Be Famous’

6. Beyond Racism: Lessons from the South on Racial Discrimination and Prejudice


Citizen King (MLK)

Biography of General Colin L. Powell


Black History Month for Kids and Teens

Celebrate Black History Month with a selection of eBooks and eAudio Books in our eMedia collection from OverDrive.

Black Stars of Colonial and Revolutionary Times by Jim Haskins

Black Stars of the Harlem Renaissance by Jim Haskins

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

Only Passing Through by Anne Rockwell

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

African American Literature

Celebrate Black History Month with a selection of African American literature  from our eMedia collection from OverDrive.

Claudette Colvin
By Phillip Hoose

On March 2, 1955, a slim, bespectacled teenager refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Mont-gomery, Alabama. Shouting “It’s my constitutional right!” as police dragged her off to jail, Claudette Colvin decided she’d had enough of the Jim Crow segregation laws that had angered and puzzled her since she was a young child.

But instead of being celebrated, as Rosa Parks would be when she took the same stand nine months later, Claudette found herself shunned by many of her classmates and dismissed as an unfit role model by the black leaders of Montgomery. Undaunted, she put her life in danger a year later when she dared to challenge segregation yet again — as one of four plaintiffs in the landmark busing case Browder v. Gayle. Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of a major, yet little-known, civil rights figure whose story provides a fresh perspective on the Montgomery bus protest of 1955–56. Historic figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks play important roles, but center stage belongs to the brave, bookish girl whose two acts of courage were to affect the course of American history.

Additional Recommendations:

The Bloody Shirt: Terror after Appomattox by Stephen Budiansky

The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation by Gene Roberts

The Ditchdigger’s Daughters: A Black Family’s Astonishing Success Story by Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass

Carry Me Back The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life by Steven Deyle

Spotlight on Black History Month

Spotlight Quiz

Philosopher Alain L. Locke, born in Philadelphia in 1885, boasted many intellectual accomplishments: he attended Harvard University as an undergraduate student, was the first African-American student to be a Rhodes Scholar, and was a Howard University Professor of Philosophy until his death in 1954.

Locke’s many writings celebrated “cultural pluralism,” which has evolved into what contemporary concept?
A. Cultural relativism
B. Ethnocentrism
C. Global justice
D. Multiculturalism

For more resources on commemorating African-American history, heritage, culture, accomplishments and contributions see Spotlight on Black History Month in SIRS Knowledge Source.

Black History Collection

Black History Collection

Looking for a biographical information on a Black American?

We have added a new collection just for you. In this new collection of ebooks we have put together some great resouces such as:

  • Contemporary Black Biography – a collection in 64 volumes
  • Notable Black American Men
  • Who’s Who Amoung African Americans
  • Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: Sports Figures.