The glorious tradition which we know to be “Black History Month” actually stemmed from a single celebration. According to the ASALH, a man named Carter G. Woodson attended a 50th-anniversary celebration of emancipation, and this inspired him to push for the creation of “Negro History Week” in 1926. This week also occurred every February, as it was tradition to celebrate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both of which occur this month. The first official “Black History Month” was celebrated in 1976 under President Gerald R. Ford, and the rest is history!
To highlight some moments of the extensive history of Black achievements in America, our display features a wide array of authors and stories; from Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, which details his life leading up to his acceptance into law school, to Octavia Butler’s Kindred, a slave narrative that incorporates elements of science fiction. While many of the books on the display were written by American-born authors, we’ve included two books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian-born author of We Should All Be Feminists and Americanah, because Black voices can come from all over the globe.
Because this month was created, in part, to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans, our display features award-winning authors, such as Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God), Octavia Butler (Kindred), and Alice Walker (The Color Purple). This month also serves as a time of remembrance, so as you observe books in the display like Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, remember the lives of the late Chadwick Boseman, former actor who portrayed the Black Panther in various films, and the numerous victims of police brutality.
Our display includes different genres and diverse perspectives, and we invite you to join us in celebrating the beauty and creativity of the Black identity exhibited by our featured authors.
Written By: Zaria Ford and Jaedyn Griddine