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Celebrating Black History Month

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February is Black History Month, a time to reflect and celebrate the history, culture, and accomplishments of African Americans in the U.S. and the African diaspora. Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926 after historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson chose the second week of February for the commemoration to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln. The week was expanded to a month in 1970 and was formally recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. Learn more about African American history and culture with these titles from our collection.

African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote  Written by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, this book takes a look at African American Women who fought for the right to vote and against the disenfranchisement of Black Women.

Boyz n Da Hood This 1991 film depicts inner-city life in South Central Los Angeles. Written and directed by the late John Singleton, the critically acclaimed film earned Singleton two Oscar nominations, including Best Director, making Singleton the youngest and first African-American to receive a nomination in that category. The film stars Angela Bassett, Morris Chesnutt, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lawrence Fishburne, Regina King, and Nia Long. In 2002, the Library of Congress added Boyz n Da Hood to the National Film Registry for its cultural significance and impact.

Fear of a Black Planet Hip-hop duo Public Enemy released this album in 1990. The album explored social issues affecting African Americans, including police brutality, institutional racism, and empowerment in the community, and would sell two million copies. Rolling Stone ranked the album 300 on its “Greatest 500 Albums of All Time” list.

Freedom Riders: 1961 and The Struggle for Racial Justice Author Raymond Arsenault chronicles the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights Movement. The brave Freedom Riders traveled to some of the nation’s most segregated cities, challenging public transportation segregation laws. The book inspired the 2011 docuseries produced by Stanley Nelson.

Free At Last to Vote: The Alabama Origins of the 1965 Voting Rights Act Author Brian K. Landsburg examines the events that led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed state and local barriers preventing African Americans from voting.

Innervisions Released in 1973, Stevie Wonders’ 16th studio album features the songs “Living for the City,” “Golden Lady,” and “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” Innervisions is considered one of Stevie Wonders’ greatest albums. Innervisions also made Wonder the first artist to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year for an entirely self-produced album.

Song of Solomon Written by the late Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon tells the story of protagonist Milkman, his family history, and his struggles with his identity. Former President Barack Obama referenced the acclaimed novel while awarding Morrison the Presidential Freedom Award in 2012.

Unbought and Unbossed: Shirley Chisholm  The late Shirley Chisholm chronicles her life from a grassroots organizer to becoming the first African-American Congresswoman. Chisholm also discusses her groundbreaking bid for President of the United States.

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