Black History Month 2016

Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories

"We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice." --- Carter Woodson (on founding Negro History Week, 1926)


  • Central Library: Black Authors Reading Group: Online discussion for February

    book cover SAINT MONKEY by Jacinda Townsend
    Two friends from the mountains of eastern Kentucky try to retain their friendship when one of them is invited to play the Apollo with a jazz group while the other sinks lower in her poor, backward, backwoods life. Check the Catalog arrow

  • Champion Brewing Company: Books On Tap: Thursday, February 4, 7 pm

    book cover THE TURNER HOUSE by Angela Flournoy
    Learning after a half-century of family life that their house on Detroit's East Side is worth only a fraction of its mortgage, the members of the Turner family gather to reckon with their pasts and decide the house's fate. Check the Catalog arrow

  • Nelson Memorial Library : Coffee, Donuts, AND Film: Saturday, February 6, 11 am

    DVD cover GLORY (1989) directed by Edward Zwick
    Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates. more info

  • Central Library: Saturday, February 6, 11 am

    book cover MEET THE AUTHOR: Sadiq Ali
    Educator, Sadiq Ali, will discuss his book, Benjamin E. Mays Institute: Educating Young Black Males, about his success starting an African-American all-male school and how the nation can use education to improve the future for today’s young black men. Books will be available for purchase. Check the catalog bullet

  • Central Library: Created Equal-A Film-Based Discussion Series on Civil Rights:Thursday, February 11, 6 pm

    DVD cover BOYZ N THE HOOD (1991) written and directed by John Singleton
    Join a community discussion sparked by topics in this film, which cover challenges still faced within the black community today. Thirty minutes of discussion will follow the film screening. Refreshments will be available.

  • Louisa County Library: February 16-20, All day

    Make and Take
    kente cloth.Participate in the fun by learning about the beautiful tradition of weaving kente cloth and make a kente cloth bracelet or book mark to take home. All materials will be provided.

  • Central Library : Brown Baggers Book Club: Thursday, February 18, 12 pm

    book cover RADIANCE OF TOMORROW by Ishmael Beah
    In a parable about postwar life in Sierra Leone, two long-time friends return to their ruined home village and struggle to rebuild in the face of violence, scarcity, and a corrupt foreign mining company. Check the catalog bullet

  • Louisa County Library: Saturday, February 20, 2 pm

    MovieSELMA (2014) directed by Ava DuVernay
    A chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. more info

  • Central Library: Sunday, February 21, 2 pm

    Drum Call and Friends:
    Move and groove to a West African Beat with Whit Whitten and his drum and dance group, Drum Call.

  • Central Library: Wednesday, February 24, 4:30 pm

    Artistic Exploration Inspired by African-American Artists Explore a variety of artistic media and techniques used by some noted African-American artists and illustrators like Jean Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker, and Brian Pinkney. The library will provide supplies and examples of graffiti art, scratch art, silhouettes, and fabric art. You provide the creativity for a fun way to celebrate Black History Month. For Grades 6-12.

  • Central Library: Documentary Film Series: Thursday, February 25, 7 pm

    DVD coverTHE COACHMAN (2014) written by Lorenzo William Dickerson, Angela Rae Smith, directed by Lorenzo William Dickerson.
    with director Lorenzo Dickerson and local genealogy groups
    "The Coachman" is a documentary short film about the life (1887 - 1946) of a local African-American domestic worker in Albemarle County, Virginia for one of the area's most distinguished estates. He came from slaves, held a position of prestige, enjoyed love, and endured heartache and loss. He lived through Jim Crow, The Great Depression, Great Migration, WWI, and WWII. And though he died with a less than glamorous social status, he built a family of people willing to work hard and strive for greater heights. This film is about researching the past and getting to know your ancestry. Better understand the sometimes difficult, yet rewarding life of Warren Dickerson (The Coachman), and the legacy he left behind.

The Gordon Avenue Library has a special African-American collection.  The Roland E. Beauford Sr., African American Collection,  includes a selection of books and other materials, fiction and non-fiction, by and/or about African Americans.

Selection of Films at JMRL with Black History Themes

  • 42: The Jackie Robinson story
    42 tells the life story of Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey.
  • Locked out: the fall of massive resistance
    The story of the tragedies and triumphs of the children of Virginia who found themselves on the front lines of a cultural war that desegregated Virginia's public schools and forever altered American history.
  • Flying for freedom: untold stories of the Tuskegee Airmen
    Recounts the story of how some of the best pilots, mechanics and servicement in the United States military during World War II had to fight a battle against discrimination at home in order to be able to fight the war abroad.
  • Eyes on the Prize
    The history of the Civil rights movement in America, from the days of the Mississipi bus boycott to 1980's. Narrator, Julian Bond.
  • Black wheels: history of blacks in NASCAR and other motor sports
    Showcasing the often overlooked achievements of African-Americans in motor sports, this groundbreaking program showcases Black influence from the invention of stock car racing in the 1920's through today.
  • Faubourg Tremé: the untold story of Black New Orleans
    Long ago during slavery, Faubourg Tremé was home to the largest community of free black people in the Deep South and a hotbed of political ferment. This film presents the area's mysterious and neglected past. Shot largely before Hurricane Katrina and edited afterwards, the film is both celebratory and elegiac in tone.
  • I'm Carolyn Parker: the good, the mad, and the beautiful
    The story of Carolyn Parker, who was the last person to leave her neighborhood as Hurricane Katrina approached and the first person to return to her flood devastated community.
  • Roots
    Chronicles a black man's search for his heritage and reveals an epic panorama of America's past. Based on the book by Alex Haley.
  • African American Lives
    A compelling combination of storytelling and science, this series uses genealogy, oral histories, family stories and DNA to trace roots of several accomplished African Americans down through American history and back to Africa.
  • DuSable Museum of African American History
    This program tours the DuSable Museum of African-American History, and in the process illustrates the black experience in North America. Narrator, John Patrick.

Selected Books

AFRICAN-AMERICAN FIRSTS: a look at African Americans who achieved major firsts in such areas as journalism, entertainment, the military, history, and politics, noting the dates of each event.

AMERICAN UPRISING: the untold story of America's largest slave revolt.

ATLAS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY: text, maps, and illustrations introduce African cultures and trace African American history from the slave trade through the Civil War, emancipation, the early twentieth century, and the civil rights movement to the present..

CARTER G. WOODSON: FATHER OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY: the biography of the son of former slaves who received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard and devoted his life to bringing the achievements of his race to the world's attention.

LIFE UPON THESE SHORES: chronicles the most important figures and events, both famous and overlooked, in African-American history.

ON MY JOURNEY NOW: tells the story of Africans in America through the words of 46 spirituals.

ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS: a revealing personal account by the legendary basketball star, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, traces his childhood in Harlem, his professional career, and the pivotal influence of the Harlem Renaissance on black culture in the United States.

1001 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY: A comprehensive and entertaining account of the most significant events, individuals, and social movements in African American history is presented in a concise, easy-to-read format.

SISTER DAYS: a collection of meditations celebrates the stories and legacies of African American women who made a difference.

VIRGINIA SHADE: an African American history of Falmouth, VA.

Search for more information:

African American Authors & Books from JMRL READS

Books on Black History

Books on African American History

Books about Notable African Americans

Books on the Harlem Renaissance

Selected resources on African American History from the YA Homework Help site

  • African American Heritage in Virginia
    A Virginia Foundation for the Humanities webpage that explores the African American Heritage.
  • African American Historic Sites Database
    A Virginia Foundation for the Humanities initiative designed to encourage tourism to African American heritage sites and organizations in Virginia while increasing knowledge of the African-American experience.
  • The African-American Migration Experience
    Compiled by The New York Public Library and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Web site is organized around thirteen defining migrations that have formed and transformed African America and the nation. Each migration is presented through five units and the site presents more than 16,500 pages of texts, 8,300 illustrations, and more than 60 maps.
  • The Africana Heritage Project: Researching African American Genealogy, History and Culture
    The mission of this project is to rediscover precious records that document the names and lives of slaves, freed persons and their descendants, and make that information available on this free, public access website.
  • Afro-American Sources in Virginia: A Guide to Manuscripts
    Presents the information derived from a survey of the resources in Virginia repositories, describing the principal collections of interest to scholars concerned with the Afro-American experience.
  • Explorations in Black Leadership
    This site features a collection of interviews of leaders in the black community. Conducted chiefly by Julian Bond, national chairman of the NAACP and professor of history at the University of Virginia, these oral histories focus on issues of black leadership and the transformational role of the civil rights movement in America.
  • Freedman's Bureau - Virginia
    Established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865, the Bureau supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine. The Bureau also assumed custody of confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory.
  • The Geography of Slavery in Virginia
    This is a digital collection of advertisements for runaway and captured slaves and servants in 18th- and 19th-century Virginia newspapers. Building on the rich descriptions of individual slaves and servants in the ads, the project offers a personal, geographical and documentary context for the study of slavery in Virginia, from colonial times to the Civil War. One of the projects of the Virginia Center for Digital History.
  • Race and Place: An African-American Community in the Jim Crow South - Charlottesville, Virginia
    Race and Place is an archive about the racial segregation laws, or the 'Jim Crow' laws from the late 1880s until the mid-twentieth century. The focus of the collection is Charlottesville in Virginia. The archive contains photos, letters, two regional censuses and a flash map of the town of Charlottesville. This research effort is a collaborative project of the Virginia Center for Digital History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute of African and Afro-American Studies.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture
    Another project of the Virginia Center for Digital History. The funding for this site was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
    Information on almost 35,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.