We live in a diverse nation whose identity draws from many traditions, languages, and peoples. The contributions and achievements of black Americans to American culture are an important and often neglected part of our nation’s heritage; they include significant discoveries in art, music, science, and literature, as well as crucial steps in the ongoing fight for justice and equality for all Americans. In honor of Black History Month, here are some suggestions for celebrating and remembering the experiences and accomplishments of black Americans.
Attend one of our Black History Month programs:
Monday, February 6: Loki Mulholland: Loki Mulholland will share stories and a picture book he wrote based on the life of his mother, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a civil rights activist who participated in the 1963 Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi, and the march on Washington.
Tuesday, February 7: Margaret Blair Young: Writer and filmmaker Margaret Blair Young will discuss her study of black Mormon history and the untold story of black Mormon pioneers which she explored in a trilogy of historical novels and a documentary she co-created with Darius Gray.
Thursday, February 9: Dr. Rebecca de Schweinitz: BYU historian Rebecca de Schweinitz will discuss her role in the creation of Melody, a black American Girl doll whose story takes place in Detroit, 1964. Dr. De Schweinitz’s research focuses on the roles of children in the civil rights era and how they improved their communities in the face of injustice and racial prejudice.
Mondays & Friday Evenings in February: Black History Month Films: On Monday and Friday evenings in February, join us in the Media Auditorium at 6:30 pm for free screenings of significant films in black history. The full schedule is available at oremlibrary.org.
- Friday, February 3: The Great Debaters (PG-13, 2007)
- Monday, February 6: Corrina, Corrina (PG, 1994)
- Friday, February 10: Boycott (PG, 2001)
- Monday, February 13: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Not Rated, 1967)
- Friday, February 17: Undefeated (PG-13, 2011)
- Monday, February 20: Closed for President’s Day
- Friday, February 24: Beasts of the Southern Wild (PG-13, 2012)
- Monday, February 27: Race (PG-13, 2016)
Educate yourself on a part of black history you are unfamiliar with or curious about. Listen to some jazz, find a work of art or a poem that inspires you, or read the biography of a prominent individual in black American history. Here are some recommendations to get you started (our librarians would love to give you more!):
- Kids: I Am Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks; Something Beautiful by Sharon Wyeth; Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine; Firebird by Misty Copeland; Tommy Traveler in the World of Black History by Tom Feelings; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor; The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake; One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
- Teens: Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson; Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; The Watsons go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis; Monster by Walter Dean Meyers; The Crossover by Kwame Alexander; Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
- Adults: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup; Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Have conversations with your children, family, and friends about diversity and the importance of sharing and caring between races and cultures. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” We hope you will join us this month in fostering open dialogue and communication between people of all backgrounds and uniting to better our understanding of our shared past and future as Americans.