Black History Month

Black History Month

The Family We Choose. The Family We Make. The Family We Build.

                                         MLK Week

This February, the DC Public Library celebrates the culture and accomplishments of the Black Family. The definition of family, like Black life and culture itself, is multifaceted. Whether at home, in the office, or the basketball court, the family we make, build or choose provides comfort, encouragement and inspiration for African Americans to thrive, no matter the obstacle. The Black family makes history makers of us all.

This month, library programming will highlight history makers in literature who’ve inspired us, launch author talks with legends we celebrate, honor D.C.’s own in music and photography, and provide book recommendations for readers of all ages. 

Subscribe to the DC Public Library’s YouTube and Facebook pages to receive alerts during Black History Month.


Attend author talks, black history trivia, story time with the family and more. Find the featured events below and more in the calendar.


Who Are Your People? Toni Morrison's Portrayal of the Black Family
Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.
Join Dr. Michele Simms-Burton, writer and founding member of the Toni Morrison Society, for a presentation examining how Morrison conceives the black family in her work.

Black History Always with "The Undefeated"
Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m.

 DC teens will talk with Soraya Nadia McDonald, Culture Editor of The Undefeated and Ariel Atkins, Guard of the Washington Mystics about claiming your voice, taking risks, and becoming the change they want to see in the world.

Witness to History: Les Payne and the Search for Malcolm X
Thursday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.

Les Payne, The late Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for Newsday made it his life’s work to uncover the man behind the legendary Black Muslim minister and activist. Payne’s daughter Tamara joins his friends and colleagues to discuss the National Book Award winning biography, the author and the responsibility of Black journalists like Payne to chronicle history as it is.

Washington, DC: City of Interest, City of Change
A virtual photographic exhibition and discussion series.

Good Reads


Check out these collections of eBooks and Audiobooks on OverDrive

Good Films

Search the titles below and stream the films for free on Kanopy using your library card number.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco - Wikipedia Rag Tag - movie POSTER (Style B) (11" x 17") (2006) - - Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary (2012) - IMDb Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) - IMDb
The Last Black Man in San Francisco Rag Tag Mumia: Long Distance Revolution Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Did You Know?

Your library has a wealth of online resources that can help enrich your understanding of Black History Month. It all can be found in the DC Public Library databases.

    Ancestry Library Edition available at home | Alachua County Library District

You can search your family and local history through Ancestry Library Edition & HeritageQuest.


Ancestry Library Edition


collage: civil rights protestors, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr You can read articles from four historic black newspapers:
  • Atlanta Daily World
  • The Baltimore Afro-American
  • Chicago Defender
  • New York Amsterdam News
Information dates back to the late 1800s.
Historic Black Newspapers : The GLOBE Newspaper Washington DC May 2, 1836 Secretary War  President Jackson : Everything Else Nineteenth-Century U.S. Newspapers provides an as-it-happened window on events, culture, and daily life in nineteenth-century America. Includes titles from Washington D.C. Nineteenth Century Newspapers
      About this Collection | Frederick Douglass Newspapers, 1847-1874 | Digital  Collections | Library of Congress African American Newspapers, including Washington DC resources, emphasizing eyewitness accounts of events during the 19th century. Accessible Archives
Oxford African American Studies Center The Oxford African American Studies Center contains over 5,000 biographies; more than 7,500 articles and hundreds of maps; documents; images; timelines; websites and charts and tables of African American life; history and culture. Oxford African American Studies Center
Blank Panther Party The African American Experience contains 500 full-text reference and scholarly articles and over 4,000 slave narratives. Includes primary documents, maps and images, lesson plans, searchable timelines and web links. African American Experience
Malcolm X and Ralph J. Bunche Access primary sources related to the Civil Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Congress:
  • Ralph J. Bunche Oral Histories 
  • Fight For Racial Justice And The Civil Rights Congress
  • Federal Surveillance of African Americans 1920-1984
Gale Primary Sources
African American Music Reference The African American Music Reference contains over 3000 essays and images on blues, jazz, spirituals, civil rights songs, slave songs, minstrelsy, rhythm and blues, gospel and other forms of African American musical expression. African American Music Reference

Good Listens

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