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

Civil Rights
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: Try a new recipe as a family with Jubilee: recipes from two centuries of African American cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin
Map & Share
All ages, Explore PHMC’s African American History site: 400 Years of African American History
Music  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.
Names to Know
Adults, Check out York County’s rich African-American heritage in Almost Forgotten by James McClure, or read Vice-President Kamala Harris’ memoir The Truths We Hold. Teens, You’ve heard of Rosa Parks, but have you heard of the teenaged Claudette Colvin? Or how about 15-year-old CEO Mikaila Ulmer? Kids, Get started by reading any of the books in the Famous African Americans series. They’re just the right size for newer readers! 
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. 

More Online

Want to learn about black achievements? A great place to start is the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC, Although 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.