Since 1976, the United States has recognized February as African American History Month. Here at the library, we have books and films about African American history available all year long, but this month, we’re highlighting some of them on displays throughout the building. Our diverse selection includes the classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Negroland, a new memoir about growing up Chicago’s upper-class black community; Lillian’s Right to Vote, a picture book celebration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; and All American Boys, a timely and challenging novel for teens (and indeed, for adults).
If you can’t make it to the library, search MyMediaMall for ebooks like Twelve Years a Slave or The Warmth of Other Suns, or stream movies like “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” or “Fruitvale Station” from hoopla’s Black History Month collection. You can also use Explora to read magazine and journal articles about the Civil Rights Movement (note: you must log in with your library card to view this link), or search the library’s historical archive of the Chicago Tribune to see what journalists of the day wrote about events like the school desegregation demonstrations of 1963.
Here in the Chicago area, we are lucky to have Black History Month treasure troves like the DuSable Museum and the Shorefront Legacy Center. Nationally, check out the incredible digital collections of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, or download an app that lets you pay a 3D virtual reality “visit” to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture prior to its long-awaited opening this fall.
If you’d like further recommendations for reading, viewing, or research in honor of African American History Month, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian.