Black History Month

"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)

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

Below you will find a selected list of websites that contain valuable information about the African American experience in the United States.


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

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

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, in a volume that features interview excerpts from Magic Johnson, Quincy Jones, Spike Lee, Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Denzel Washington, and others.

AMERICAN UPRISING: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt.

Books on African American History

Books on Black History

Books on the Harlem Renaissance

  • 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.