First celebrated at Kent State University in 1970, Black History Month was nationally recognized by Gerald Ford in 1976 as part of the United States Bicentennial celebrations, with the president urging Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
In celebration of Black History Month, we're inviting you to explore special library events, including:
- Essence of Harmony Choral Society – Celebrate the history of Negro Spiritual music with a live performance of congressional melodies in the library auditorium.
- Bantaba: The Circle of Celebration – Enjoy a high-energy performance that explores West African and African American cultural identities through music, dance and storytelling.
- Powerful and Dangerous: Audre Lorde – View a virtual exhibit and discover how Lorde’s work remains relevant with current social justice movements.
- Civil Rights Movements – Learn about student involvement during the American Civil Rights Movement during this fun and exciting performance featuring dance, audience participation and more.
- The Art of Crowned Headwrapping (in-person and virtual) – Learn the history of African Headwrapping and try your own styles with Latasha Waters.
- Movies at the Library – Mark your calendar to watch multiple films in the auditorium, including 12 Years a Slave, Selma, Loving and The Butler.
If you’re interested in learning more about Black History, your library offers African-American History,* a simple, user-friendly online resource that makes finding information easy for researchers from young to old. Explore articles, primary sources, maps, videos, slideshows and in-depth topic guides covering more than 500 years of the African-American experience, as well as the global African diaspora and the countries and peoples of the African continent.
Read about landmark court cases such as Loving v. Virginia that legalized marriage between races after the case worked its way up to our highest court, or learn about the Great Black Migrations that saw unprecedented numbers of Black families uproot from the South to northern destinations. African-American History Online offers in-depth guides from a range of topics, including Black Contributions to America, as well as timelines covering slavery, the abolitionist movement and civil rights.
*Please note: You will be taken directly to these resources but must first enter your library card barcode at an interim page.
Still interested in more?
For those who would rather get their hands on a book, there are plenty to explore on our library shelves. A good choice is Creating Black Americans: African-American History and Its Meaning, 1619 to the Present, a comprehensive history spanning from life in Africa before slavery to contemporary America. For books on more specific topics, try Escape on the Pearl: The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad or Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement. And if you’d like to learn about some local African-American history, check out the autobiography Early Recollections and Life of Dr. James Still, which offers a glimpse into life in Burlington County in the 19th century and tells the story of how Dr. Still went from the son of poor former slaves in the pine barrens to becoming a respected medical practitioner and one of the county’s wealthiest residents. We also have a children’s book about Dr. Still: From Nothing to Something: The Life Story of Dr. James Still.
Join us in expanding your knowledge of Black History through our best resources. And if your need assistance navigating library resources or locating specific materials, be sure to contact your library!