Tagged African American

Collection Spotlight: Highlights from the Negro Leagues

Baseball: for over a century, the game has been known as "America’s favorite pastime." During the early parts of the 20th century, tuning in to a baseball game on the radio after a long day at work became a…

African American History in the Fleisher Collection

Lately, there has been a resurgence of interest in African Americans' contributions to the classical music genre. Boston Conservatory is set to have a Florence Price Birthday Celebration Concert ; the film Chevalier  (released…

6 New Children's Books Celebrating Juneteenth!

We have some new books about Juneteenth to recommend! Last year our similar  blog post suggested new titles that had been published and added to our collection. Here are some more to add to your reading list! A Flag for…

Honoring Juneteenth at the Free Library

Honor Juneteenth with the Free Library of Philadelphia! This year, we celebrate Juneteenth for the third time as a federal holiday, but it has been an important celebration for nearly 200 years! Juneteenth is the oldest known…

The HistoryMakers: Enjoy African American History On-Demand

Using your library card, you can now enjoy Black history in the oral tradition via The HistoryMakers  Digital Archive : the largest video archive of African American history spanning from the 1700s to the present day. This special…

All the Historic Black Newspapers Available Online With Your Library Card

What better way to learn about Black history than through the lens of Black news sources, as written and published by the African American journalists of yesterday? The Free Library is pleased to highlight a digital resource…

Celebrating Juneteenth!

The Free Library is celebrating Juneteenth! Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of enslavement in the United States and a time when we come together to celebrate this monumental occasion across the country, within our…

New Children's Books for Celebrating Juneteenth!

In 2020, the city of Philadelphia declared June 19th a city holiday in recognition of Juneteenth, an important day in the history of African Americans and our country. New children's books have been released in the last couple of…

African American Art Collecting and Research with Philadelphia Author Sherry Howard

Updated Tuesday, December 7, 2021 Sherry L. Howard is a Philadelphia-based art collector and researcher who primarily focuses on local African American art and artists. She writes about her experience in the world of art auctions…

We Have a New Federal Holiday — Juneteenth!

Two months ago was the first official celebration of Juneteenth as a national holiday. On Thursday, June 17, 2021, Congress passed and presented the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act to President Joe Biden, who signed the bill…

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom and Cuisine

African American Independence Day, widely referred to as Juneteenth, originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865. Though the Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1863, freed millions of slaves in confederate states, African Americans in…

The Commemoration of Juneteenth

The oldest known celebration of the end of enslavement in U.S. history, Juneteenth is a day that recognizes freedom and liberation. Juneteenth, a combination of the words "June" and "nineteenth, centers Black lived…

Re-Creating Our World: Join Us for the One Book, One Philadelphia Finale

Eight weeks of programs diving into The Tradition , Jericho Brown’s collection of poetry and the One Book, One Philadelphia 2021 title , have gone by in the blink of an eye. We read, we wrote, we danced, we made music and art, and…

Making Her Mark Spotlight: Poetry and Movement Building

by Suzanna Urminska and Sam Perduta Our words carry power—whether as balm or as burnish, our words have the power to come together to form poetry that recalls and reconnects a range of human experiences both personal and…

Memories of the Golden Age of Hip Hop

I bomb atomically, Socrates’ philosophies and hypotheses Can’t define how I be dropping these mockeries Lyrically perform armed robbery - "Triumph (feat. Cappadonna)" by Wu-Tang Clan, 1997 I am a rap fan.…

Picture Book Highlights | Black History Month

This February, commemorate Black History Month with books that celebrate the history, culture, and beauty of Black Americans. Written and illustrated by #OwnVoices creators, these books are the perfect way to honor this important month.…

Picture Book Highlights | Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

On Monday, January 18, celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with us! These books honor Dr. King’s work and the impact of his amazing life during the Civil Rights Movement . A renowned speaker and activist, Dr. King’s words…

The History of Kwanzaa

Unlike many of the other holidays and traditions that we celebrate, Kwanzaa is one of the newest, at only 54 years old. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 as a way for African American families to reconnect to their roots and…

A Taste of African Heritage for Kwanzaa

Healthy Communities just wrapped a fall series of A Taste of African Heritage with instructor Paul O. Mims, who recently spoke with Oldways about Cooking, Culture, and Community During Covid .  A Taste of African Heritage (ATOAH)…

Black History. Black News. Black Voices.

The Free Library is pleased to announce a new digital resource that provides access to the most distinguished African American Newspapers in the United States. Cardholders now have access to 10 historic Black newspapers that help piece…

Author Event: Dr. Louis Parascandola- A Black Philadelphia Reader

Louis J. Parascandola is a Professor of Humanities at Long Island University, Brooklyn. He has published several books on Black authors including Eric Walrond, Gwendolyn Bennett, J. A. Rogers, and Amy Jacques Garvey. He is currently…

Today We Are Possible Exhibit

"Today We Are Possible" is an exploration of the connections between gender and wealth. Photographer Gregory Wright skillfully captures vibrant and intimate portraits depicting the captivating stories of six remarkable…

COINTELPRO: A Black August Discussion with Dr. Kelly Harris

Join us as we observe Black August, a month dedicated to acknowledging and honoring Black political prisoners and the ongoing resistance to oppression. In recognition of Black August, we will delve into the historic Counterintelligence…

Theatre Writers Gathering in Philadelphia

  Join us at our Theatre Writer Advocacy Session on Saturday, July 27, from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, featuring our new Philadelphia Affinity Regional Rep, Will Vence Jr, and our new Philadelphia Regional Rep, Charles…

Philadelphia Reads James Baldwin

As part of the Year of James Baldwin, the Free Library is hosting one of many Philadelphia Reads James Baldwin reading groups throughout the city in collaboration with the Saturday Free School for Philosophy and Black Liberation…

Sugar Don't Go On Grits: An Archival Look at The Great Migration's Effect on How We Eat

How Black is sweet cornbread? Do WE put marshmallows on sweet potato casserole? Sugar Don't Go On Grits: An Archival Look at The Great Migration's Effect on How We Eat  will be a conversational space dedicated to retracing…

Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Free Library resources in support of the Rosenbach's Digital Exhibition: "I Am an American!" The Authorship and Activism of Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Award-Winning African American Authors

Books by prize-winning writers.

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture, and Law

This HeinOnline collection brings together a multitude of essential legal materials on slavery in the U.S. and the English-speaking world. It includes nearly 2,000 titles, with every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery,…

Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001)

Full access to the oldest continuously published daily Black newspaper in the United States.

Historical Newspapers - Black Newspapers

Primary source material from ten historic Black newspapers, including the Chicago Defender, The Baltimore Afro-American, New York Amsterdam News, Pittsburgh Courier, Los Angeles Sentinel, Atlanta Daily World, and the Cleveland Call and Post

America's Historical Imprints

Explore the nation’s past in unprecedented ways. Includes books, pamphlets, broadsides and other scarce printed material, centuries of American history, literature, culture, and daily life, and extensive indexing and full bibliographic…

American State Papers, 1789-1838

A rich source of primary material on many aspects of early American history, American State Papers, 1789-1838, features not only new bibliographic records for every one of its 6,354 publications, but also superior images created by…

Karen Valby | The Swans of Harlem: Five Black Ballerinas, Fifty Years of Sisterhood, and Their Reclamation of a Groundbreaking History

Featuring: Lydia Abarça, Sheila Rohan, Marcia Sells, Karlya Shelton, and Khadija Tariyan (daughter of Gayle McKinney Griffith) In conversation with Shelly Power, The Dr. Carolyn Newsom Executive Director, Philadelphia Ballet Karen Valby…

Bakari Sellers | The Moment: Thoughts on the Race Reckoning That Wasn't and How We All Can Move Forward Now

In 2006,  Bakari Sellers  defeated a twenty-six-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. The state’s 2014…

Tricia Rose | Metaracism: How Systemic Racism Devastates Black Lives—and How We Break Free

In conversation with award-winning journalist and broadcaster Tracey Matisak Acclaimed for her study of the intersections of pop music, contemporary Black U.S. culture, and sex and gender, sociologist  Tricia Rose  is the author of…

Stacey Abrams | Rogue Justice: A Thriller

In conversation with award-winning journalist and broadcaster, Tracey Matisak Introduced by State Rep. Donna Bullock Stacey Abrams  is the Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics at Howard University. After serving…

M. Nzadi Keita | Migration Letters: Poems

In conversation with Herman Beavers M. Nzadi Keita  is the author of the poetry collection  Brief Evidence of Heaven , a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Poetry Prize that explored the life of Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick Douglass’…

Tamron Hall | Watch Where They Hide: A Jordan Manning Novel

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6abc Action News morning edition. Tamron Hall is the Emmy Award-winning host and executive producer of the eponymous program  Tamron Hall , ABC Disney’s second longest running nationally…

Morgan Parker | You Get What You Pay For: Essays

In conversation with Shantrelle Lewis Morgan Parker  won the National Book Critics Circle Award for  Magical Negro , a poetry collection that ponders the nuances of Black American womanhood. She is also the author of the young adult…

Laurence Ralph | Sito: An American Teenager and the City That Failed Him

In conversation with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor In  Sito ,  Laurence Ralph  explores the murder of San Francisco teen Sito Quiñonez and his family’s long-reverberating grief and grace. Ralph, the stepfather of Sito’s half-brother, tells…

Marcus Anthony Hunter | Radical Reparations: Healing the Soul of a Nation

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6abc Action News morning edition. Co-promoted by the American Constitution Society The Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences Division, Professor of Sociology & African American…

Maura Cheeks | Acts of Forgiveness: A Novel

In conversation with Zoe Sivak Maura Cheeks  is the author of  Acts of Forgiveness , a debut novel that imagines a contemporary moment in which our government has approved reparations for Black Americans—but only if they can prove they…

Phillip B. Williams | Ours: A Novel

In conversation with Airea D. Matthews Phillip B. Williams  is the author of two acclaimed poetry collections,  Thief in the Interior , which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Lambda Literary Award; and  Mutiny , which was a…

Billy Dee Williams | What Have We Here?: Portraits of a Life

In conversation with award-winning journalist and broadcaster Tracey Matisak Screen icon  Billy Dee Williams  is perhaps best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies  The Empire Strikes Back ,  Return of the Jedi ,…

Paul Alexander | Bitter Crop: The Heartache and Triumph of Billie Holiday’s Last Year

In conversation with award-winning journalist and broadcaster, Tracey Matisak Paul Alexander ’s bestselling and acclaimed biographies include portraits of James Dean, Sylvia Plath, John McCain, and J. D. Salinger, the last of which…

Shayla Lawson | How to Live Free in a Dangerous World: A Decolonial Memoir

In conversation with Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriett’s Bookshop and Ida’s Books Shayla Lawson  is the author of  This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope , a “whip-smart” ( People ) essay collection about…

Ruha Benjamin | Imagination: A Manifesto

In conversation with Shantrelle Lewis Ruha Benjamin  is the author of  Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code , a “galvanizing” and “inventive and wide-ranging” ( The Nation ) look at how new technologies…

Kiley Reid | Come and Get It

In conversation with Niela Orr A “hilarious, uncomfortable and compulsively readable story about race and class” ( TIME ),  Kiley Reid ’s novel  Such a Fun Age  tells the story of a young Black babysitter and her well-intentioned but…

Raquel Willis | The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation

In conversation with Ernest Owens A writer, activist, and media strategist dedicated to Black transgender liberation, Raquel Willis has served as director of communications for Ms. Foundation for Women, a national organizer for the…

Kimberlé Crenshaw | #SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of Police Violence and Public Silence

In conversation with Dorothy Roberts One of the country’s foremost authorities in civil rights, Black feminist legal theory, race, and the law, Kimberlé Crenshaw is a law professor at UCLA and Columbia Law School, where in 1996 she…

Tanisha Ford | Our Secret Society: Mollie Moon and the Glamour, Money, and Power Behind the Civil Rights Movement

In conversation with Marc Lamont Hill Tanisha Ford ’s Our Secret Society is a biography of Mollie Moon, the socialite, powerbroker, and founder of the National Urban League Guild, who was a key fundraiser for the Civil Rights Movement.…

Ayana Mathis | The Unsettled: A Novel

In conversation with Asali Solomon Ayana Mathis is the author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie , “a remarkable page-turner of a novel” ( Chicago Tribune ) that follows the harrowing fortunes of a 15-year-old from Georgia to Philadelphia…

Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month and African American History as a whole, explore our resources on African American history and culture including famous African Americans From Philadelphia, Poets and Poetry, Speculative Fiction,…