Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans. It is a great time to re-read a classic or favorite, find out about an author you have never read, reflect on what you remember, or discover a piece of history you didn't know.

There was a time in our nation’s history when the achievements and good deeds of Americans included pertinent facts about almost every group of people living in the United States – with the notable exception of people of color, and more specifically, African Americans. Present-day, during the month of February, we celebrate African American accomplishments and contributions to the United States, our teachers, historians, lawyers, doctors, political activists, writers, engineers, dancers, athletes, musicians, artists, and so much more.

Did you know that observance of Black History Month began in 1976 back when President Gerald Ford was at the helm? Prior to this, African American history was actually observed during the second week in February as “Negro History Week,” which began in 1926. Negro History Week was the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson-PhD and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), founded in 1915 as the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson reportedly settled on the second week in February because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (U.S. National Archives: Emancipation Proclamation, opens a new window) and Frederick Douglass (African American Civil Rights Activist). Learn more about Carter G. Woodson here, opens a new window as well as the ASALH here, opens a new window. Several books on Woodson's life and legacy for adults and kids can be found in IndyPL's catalog here.

The Library has books, music, movies, and digital collections related to African American history as well as the African American Experience database, opens a new window. If you are in need of suggestions for what to check out next, this page is a great place to start!


Get Reading Recommendations From IndyPL Staff

See our Guide to Finding Books by Black Authors and explore all our staff recommendations here. Enjoy these featured lists to get your started!

Horror and Sci-Fi Books by Black Authors

List created by IndyPL_Recommends

Looking for horror or science fiction books by black authors? These are the recommendations from the Indianapolis Public Library's Readers Advisory team. If you have more suggestions, please message us on Bibliocommons. #indypladults #weneeddiversebooks

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Black Historical Fiction

List created by IndyPL_TheresaC

Explore historical fiction by black authors and co-authors with stories from the transatlantic slave trade, the antebellum south, WWII, and the late 1960s. #IndyPLAdults

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Black Chefs and Cooking - Classics

List created by IndyPL_CarriG

James Beard award-winning Toni Tipton-Martin's Jubilee is a sensational history of American food focusing on Black chefs and cooks. This list takes a look at some of the classic Black cookbooks that inspired Tipton-Martin and a few more titles and resources that celebrate and explore Black cooking and food history. #indypladults

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