Black History Month at the Library

February 26, 2015

Black History Month at the Library

February is Black History Month and the Library has a wealth of books and resources that celebrate the African-American experience.

In addition to the annual “Black is…” book list produced by the Boston Public Library, we also wanted to point out some particular books that might be of interest. All the following books are carried by the Roslindale Branch Library.


The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and An Unlikely Road to Manhood
By Ta-Nehisi Coates

A memoir of growing up in the tough world of Baltimore in the 1980s chronicles the relationship between the author and his father, a Vietnam vet and Black Panther affiliate, and his campaign to keep his sons from falling victim to the temptations of the streets.

Becoming Belafonte: Black Artist, Public Radical
By Judith E. Smith

Singer Harry Belafonte is interviewed by the author about his art and activism over the last 60 years.

Stokely: A Life
By Peniel Joseph

This is a biography about Stokely Carmichael, a charismatic leader in the Black Power Movement and his evolving perspectives on social change in America.

The Farming of Bones
By Edwidge Danticat

This work by the famed Haitian-American author is a fictionalized tale about the real events leading up to the Parsely Massacre in the Dominican Republic.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present
By Harriet Washington

The first comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between Africans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the way both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without a hint of informed consent–a tradition that continues today within some black populations. This book reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit.

Jackie Robinson: A Biography
By Arnold Rampersad

The extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson is illuminated as never before in this full-scale biography by Arnold Rampersad, who was chosen by Jack’s widow, Rachel, to tell her husband’s story, and was given unprecedented access to his private papers. We are brought closer than we have ever been to the great ballplayer, a man of courage and quality who became a pivotal figure in the areas of race and civil rights.

Race: A History Beyond Black and White
By Marc Aronson

Marc Aronson traces the history of racial prejudice in the Western world from ancient times to the present, identifying events and individuals that have influenced people’s conceptions about race.

Tell It With Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial
By Renne Ater

Published 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, this catalogue presents photographs of men who were part of one of the first African American regiments to fight for the Union in the Civil War and explores the way the Shaw Memorial and other works of art commemorate the sacrifices and hopes of the soldiers, their families, and communities.


Black Power: Three Books From Exile: Black Power, The Color Curtain and White Man, Listen!
By Richard Wright

This is a collection of Wright’s nonfiction essays touching on race and politics in the United States and abroad.

Black Hoops: The History of African Americans in Basketball
By Fredrick McKissack

Surveys the history of African Americans in basketball, from the beginning of the sport to the present, discussing individual teams and players and the integration of the National Basketball Association.

No Easy Answers: Bayard Rustin and the Civil Rights Movement
By Calvin Craig Miller

Bayard Rustin was born in Pennsylvania in the early part of the twentieth century, the grandson of a former slave. A talented singer and musician and a good student, Rustin moved to New York City, where he attended college, became enmeshed in the exciting Harlem Renaissance, and began working as an actvist and organizer for the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.

Their Eyes Were Watching God
By Zora Neale Hurston

This is Hurston’s seminal novel about Janie Crawford, a young black woman coming of age in 1930s Florida.

Days of Slavery
By Stuart Kallen

Black History traces the timeline of this proud culture from its origins and the American Civil War, to the Civil Rights movement that still exists today. The series also discusses important events and accomplishments, and reveals some startling information about the struggle for human and civil rights. Short biographies on civil rights leaders, authors, artists, and other powerful African-Americans are also included.

Ida B Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement
By Dennis Fradin

An illustrated biography of nineteenth-century activist Ida B. Wells, focusing on her crusade against the practice of lynching, and discussing her role in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the campaign for women’s voting rights.


The Harlem Renaissance
By Stuart Kallen

This book presents short biographies of famous authors, artists and musicians from this period.

Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black and White Jazz Band in History
By Lesa Cline-Ransome

This book celebrates the first widely seen integrated jazz performance: the debut of the Benny Goodman quartet with Teddy Wilson in 1936 Chicago.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
By Carole Boston Weatherford

Describes Tubman’s spiritual journey as she hears the voice of God guiding her north to freedom on that very first trip to escape the brutal practice of forced servitude. Tubman would make nineteen subsequent trips back south, never being caught, but none as profound as this first one.

Black Legacy: A History of New York’s African Americans
By Willian Loren Katz

Describes famous Black leaders and cultural movements in New York City from its days as a Dutch colony to the 1990s.

Richard Wright and the Library Card
By Willian Miller

Based on a scene from Wright’s autobiography, Black boy, in which the seventeen-year-old African-American borrows a white man’s library card and devours every book as a ticket to freedom.

All Aboard: Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine
By Monica Kulling

Simple text and illustrations explore the life of African Canadian inventor Elijah Mccoy.

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
By Lydia Bjornlund

Covers the events surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the end of segregation on buses.

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