February is Black History Month
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month celebrates the achievements of black Americans throughout our nation’s history. Its origins as a national celebration can be traced back to early 20th century American historian Dr. Carter G Woodson, who saw that black Americans were unfairly subjected to stereotyping, derogation, and racism. He wished to elevate their achievements on the national level and attempt to bridge the racial divide. He chose February because it contains both Frederick Douglass’ and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays; Douglass’ on the 14th, and Lincoln’s on the 12th.
The Beanstack Challenges
Do you want some guidance to explore Black History Month? Register for the no-stakes challenge on Beanstack. If you complete all of the parts of a challenge, you’ll get a fun digital “badge” in your Beanstack account. See if you can finish all 10 by the end of February! No prizes, this is for the fun of it.
Books to Get Started
We’ve taken the different themes suggested by the Beanstack Challenge and have curated a collection of York County Libraries books for you to enjoy. You can find more on Axis360 and Hoopla Digital, too. There are books and resources for everyone from kids to adults here. But of course there are many more items to explore in the full catalog. Let your library know if you need help!
|Adults, Learn about the #BlackLivesMatter movement in this powerful memoir. When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele.
|Teens, Teen activist Marley Dias tells you how to get involved in Marley Dias Gets It Done! She’s the mind behind the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign.
|Kids, enjoy this middle-grades fiction book about a biracial boy who explores–and struggles with–his identity. What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado
All ages, Explore the skills and masterworks made by black American artists at the National Gallery of Art website: African American Artists
|Adults, Read about Sen. John Lewis’ towering legacy in His Truth is Marching On by Jon Meacham. Or read some not-so-long-ago local history that wrestles with racism in Murder is the Charge by William C. Costopoulos,
|Teens, Dig into the colorful history of black women’s rights in the graphic-novel nonfiction book Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists by Mikki Kendall & A. D’amico.
|Kids, Read about Heroes for Civil Rights by David A. Adler. It explores people you may not have heard of before and lets you know how long this struggle has been going on!
|All ages, Explore the rich history of black choral music in Four Hundred Souls.
|Adults, Trace the tremendous influence African and African-American musicians have had on nearly every popular musical genre during the Smithsonian’s Year of Music celebration.
|Teens, Here’s a book that digs into the past 100 years of influence on pop music of all forms: From Ragtime to Hip-Hop by Adam Woog
|Kids, read this great picture book about a boy who plays his bass in the orchestra… but goes home to play jazz with his grandfather! Double Bass Blues by Andrea Loney.
|NEW Digital Collection
|All ages, explore the ProQuest Black Freedom Struggle in the United States database, FREE with your YCL Card! Read African American historical figures’ struggles and hopes in their own words.
Note, historical documents may use language and terms considered offensive or inappropriate today. They reflect the mores and attitudes of their times and may not reflect current thoughts or norms.
Want to learn about black achievements? A great place to start is the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC, Athough you can’t visit in person right now, you can dig into the info online. There are virtual exhibits and resources to explore this aspect of American culture.
Want to explore history closer to home? Check out Jim McClure’s “Black History Archives” on the York Town Square website.