February is Black History Month, honoring the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history. The event was first celebrated as Negro History Week in February 1926, and spread year by year as mayors across the U.S. designated their own Negro History Weeks. The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial, and has been repeated by Presidential proclamation each year since then. Read more at AfricanAmericanHistoryMonth.gov.
There have been a number of recent and notable books about the African-American experience. The National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me is a memoir and meditation addressed from a black father to his son. Citizen: an American Lyric was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award in poetry, and combines essays and media images with poems that highlight race in America. Urban African-American communities are profiled in Ghettoside, which explores unsolved murders, and On the Run, about the effect of the War on Drugs. Negroland offers a view of the often contradictory lives of affluent black families. You can also check out some books by favorite African-American authors:
Butler, Octavia E.
Dickey, Eric J.
Harris, E. Lynn
Rhodes, Jewel Parker
Documentary filmakers have also explored the African-American experience, from Black Folks and Family Structure to The Black Kungfu Experience to The Injustice System in America. Browse selections in IndieFlix, a collection of free streaming independent films that you can access for free with your library card. (If you've used our Zinio magazine database, use the same username and password to log in to IndieFlix.)