In 1925, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson was inspired to “raise awareness of African Americans’ contributions to civilization... when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week.” Negro History Week was first celebrated in February 1926 during a week that “encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.”
Fifty years later, and due in large part to societal progress made during the Civil Rights Movement, Negro History Week was expanded to a monthlong recognition of achievements by Black Americans throughout this nation’s history, called African American or Black History Month. As we inch toward the 50-year anniversary of its birth, Black History Month invites us to examine the incredible progress we have made as a society since 1976, as well as the formidable challenges that remain. One need not look far to find a conversation about critical race theory, racial inequities in healthcare, or racial injustices in policing and legislation.
In a culture bedeviled by conflict and conflicting information, librarians know that education is paramount to progress. This Black History Month, we invite you to explore resources curated from the SUNY Empire Online Library and reputable resources from around the Web. The Black History Month guide, located at the Other Guides button on the library home page, pulls together resources to educate and inform as well as to combat racism. Let us undo the misinformation and disinformation designed to divide, and instead learn and grow and be inspired together by the remarkable history and accomplishments of Black Americans.
The theme of Black History Month 2024 is "African Americans and the Arts." We invite to experience the many contributions of Black Americans to all genres of art by exploring the resources in this broad search of Africa American artists of all stripes, or by creating a search of your own for a specific artist such as Alvin Ailey, Nella Larsen, Ossie Davis, Faith Ringgold, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sarah Vaughn, or Sargent Claude Johnson.
For even more resources, check out the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion's Black History Month Resource webpage. "This resource page provides information for those interested in learning more about the Black experience, allyship, and advocacy. It will serve as a platform for education, to enhance dialogue, deepen reflection, and foster deeper understanding of Black experiences and the importance of solidarity."
Alma Thomas, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, 1969, acrylic on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Gift of Vincent Melzac), 2015.19.145. https://www.nga.gov/stories/16-black-artists-to-know.html
Library of Congress. (n.d.). African American History Month. https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/about/
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