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Learn More During Black History Month

Books for Adult Readers

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs

 

Books for Children

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine (Recommended ages: 6 and up) “Box” Brown, who escaped slavery by shipping himself North in a wooden crate.


The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

This beautiful picture book, illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award-illustrator George Ford and written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Coles, tells the true story of six-year-old Ruby Bridges.


The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

First published in 1995, this historical-fiction novel tells the story of a loving African-American family living in Flint, Michigan in 1963. When the oldest son (Byron) begins to get into a bit of trouble, the parents decide he should spend the summer and possibly the next school year with Grandma Sands in Birmingham, Alabama. The entire family travels there together by car, and during their visit, tragic events take place.

 

The United States v. Jackie Robinson by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

A moving and inspiring nonfiction picture book about Jackie Robinson’s court martial trial—an important lesser-known moment in his lifetime of fighting prejudice with strength and grace.

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

“A powerful, wrenching, and compulsively readable story that lays bare the history, and the present, of racism in America,” says John Green, bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down. “Absolutely incredible, honest, gut-wrenching! A must-read!”

 

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

In this official autobiography from four-time Olympic gold-winning and record-setting American gymnast Simone Biles, she shares how her faith, family, passion, and perseverance against tremendous odds helped make her one of the top athletes and record-breaking gymnasts in the world—now with 25 world championship medals.

 

Movies and Documentary Films

 

The Help (2011)

Tate Taylor’s film was adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s novel about the house staff working in the American South as the Civil Rights movement began to make an impact. It was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, while Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain were both nominated, and Octavia Spencer took home the Supporting Actress award.

 

The Hate U Give (2018)

This is an excellent film and any description will not do it justice. Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right. The Hate U Give is a stunningly powerful film about the impact of police violence and racism on the black youth of America.

 

Marshall (2017)

The story of Thurgood Marshall, the crusading lawyer who would become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.

 

12 Years a Slave (2013)

 In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner (Michael Fassbender), he finds unexpected kindness from another as he struggles to survive and maintain his dignity. Then, in the 12th year of his ordeal, a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist changes his life forever.

 

Selma (2014)

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.

 

Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

Pioneering politician Shirley Chisholm is the subject of this lauded documentary. The nation’s first African-American congresswoman, the passionate Chisholm launches a campaign for the presidency in the 1972 election and wins an impressive amount of support, given the era and the still-prevailing prejudices of many voters. The film takes a close look at her presidential run and includes interviews with Chisholm and the dedicated individuals who worked on her groundbreaking campaign.

Maya Angelou – And Still I Rise (2016)

Poet and Civil Rights activist Maya Angelou is celebrated using her own words set over rare photographs and video illustrating her remarkable life.


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