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Black History Month 2021

About Black History Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.

As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all colors on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year.

(Excerpt from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History)



Gallery of Books At Roanoke College on Black History


Great Events from History: African American History

RC-Ready Reference   E185 .G754 2017  


Barack Obama: The Story

E908 .M368 2012 


Fences: A Play

PS3573.I45677 F4 1986c  


Strange Fruit

RC-Juvenile Coll. E185.96.G54 S77 2014


Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion (2 volumes)

RC-Reference Collection   E447 .E53 2007  


Eyes on the Prize (DVD)

RC-Media Collection E185.61 .E94 2006 v.1-7


A New Look at Black Families

E185.86 .W55 2010  

Gallery of E-Books on the Black History available to RC community


The Black Studies Reader

Jacqueline Bobo (Editor); Cynthia Hudley (Editor); Claudine Michel (Editor)


The Speeches of Frederick Douglass: A Critical Edition

by Frederick Douglass; John R. McKivigan (Editor); Julie Husband (Editor)


African American Urban History Since World War II

Kenneth L. Kusmer; Joe William Trotter (editors)


The Booker T. Washington Papers, 14 volumes

Louis R. Harlan and Raymond Smock, editors


Open Wound: The Long View of Race in America

by William Evans and Christopher Brooks


Black Families at the Crossroads: Challenges and Prospects

by Leanor Boulin Johnson and Robert Staples


Contemporary African American Families: Achievements, Challenges, and Empowerment Strategies in the Twenty-First Century

Dorothy Smith-Ruiz (Editor); Sherri Lawson Clark (Editor); Marcia Watson (Editor)