Tagged African American

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…

Picture ebooks Highlights | The Old Truck

We are back with another Picture ebook Highlight , a series where we put the spotlight on an ebook that you can read at home, using the Free Library's Digital Media portal. This time we are going to talk about a book published back…

George Washington Carver: Inventor, Environmentalist, Mentor, and Role Model

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of…

In Appreciation of Octavia Butler

That’s all anybody can do right now. Live. Hold out. Survive. I don’t know whether good times are coming back again. But I know that won’t matter if we don’t survive these times. ― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of…

Juneteenth Matters

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, and he had an announcement to make. More than two years before, President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The Civil…

Airea D. Matthews | Bread and Circus

REGISTER Airea D. Matthews is the 2022–23 Philadelphia Poet Laureate and directs the poetry program at Bryn Mawr College. Her collection Simulacra won the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and her work has appeared in The…

Daniel Torday | The 12th Commandment with Nana Kwame Adjie-Brenyah | Chain Gang All-Stars

REGISTER/TICKETS With characters situated in surreal,  Twilight Zone -esque, yet all-too-familiar positions of oppression within our most venerable institutions,  Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah ’s 2018 debut fiction…

A Celebration of Black American Music

April is Jazz Appreciation month!  Join us for a concert highlighting the contributions of Philadelphia composers to the rich and varied cultural tradition of Black American Music. The Renaissance Sextet, led by Leon Jordan Sr.,…

Afro-Caribbean Perspectives: A Conversation with George Elliott Clarke and Kirwyn Sutherland

In collaboration with Blue Stoop, this event will be moderated by local poet and educator Warren Longmire. Event begins at 6:00 P.M. and will take place in Room 108 of the Parkway Central Library. Please enter via the Wood Street…

Queen Imperial Waistbead Workshop

This one-hour workshop will provide in-depth information on the history of waistbeads, tracing them from tribes in Africa to the U.S. today. Participants will be able to create their own waistbeads.  All materials will be provided…

Debra Lee | I Am Debra Lee: A Memoir

TICKETS The former longtime CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Debra Lee currently serves on the boards of several of the world’s leading corporations, including Proctor & Gamble, Warner Bros. Discovery, Revlon,…

Heather McGhee | The Sum of Us (Adapted for Young Readers): How Racism Hurts Everyone

REGISTER Sandra Shaber Memorial Lecture The Sum of Us , Heather McGhee’s 2021 odyssey across the American landscape of inequality, won wide acclaim for its empathetic and incisive imagining of a future that could offer more than…

Camonghne Felix | Dyscalculia: A Love Story of Epic Miscalculation

REGISTER In conversation with Sharon G. Flake Camonghne Felix is the author of Build Yourself a Boat , “an exquisite and thoughtful” ( Bustle ) poetry collection that was longlisted for the National Book Award in poetry and…

Exhibition: Visual Elegy: Prints inspired by bell hooks' Appalachian Elegy

The Literature Department and Print and Picture Collection invite you to visit a special collaborative exhibition on view in the Art and Literature Hallways on the 2nd floor of Parkway Central Library .  The prints in this…

Exhibition: Visual Elegy: Prints inspired by bell hooks' Appalachian Elegy

The Literature Department and Print and Picture Collection invite you to visit a special collaborative exhibition on view in the Art and Literature Hallways on the 2nd floor of Parkway Central Library .  The prints in this…

Exhibition: Visual Elegy: Prints inspired by bell hooks' Appalachian Elegy

The Literature Department and Print and Picture Collection invite you to visit a special collaborative exhibition on view in the Art and Literature Hallways on the 2nd floor of Parkway Central Library .  The prints in this…

Black History Month Scavenger Hunt

During a scavenger hunt through the library children will learn information about well-known African American authors and illustrators.

From Louis Armstrong to Leon Bridges: Celebrating a Century of Genius in Black American Music

Join us for a live musical performance spotlighting the original compositions of some of the most influential Black artists and composers of the past 100 years.  Expect a fun and diverse journey through the music of Louis…

Reginald Dwayne Betts | Redaction

REGISTER A “powerful work of lyric art” and “tour de force indictment of the carceral industrial state” ( The New York Times Book Review ), Reginald Dwayne Betts’ poetry collection  Felon  won the…

From Louis Armstrong to Leon Bridges: Celebrating a Century of Genius in Black American Music

Join us for a live musical performance spotlighting the original compositions of some of the most influential Black artists and composers of the past 100 years.  Expect a fun and diverse journey through the music of Louis…

From Armstrong to Bridges: Celebrating a Century of Genius in Black American Music

As part of Black History Month, we are excited to present- “From Louis Armstrong to Leon Bridges- Celebrating a century of genius in Black American Music”, a live musical performance spotlighting the original compositions of…

Queen Imperial Waist Beads

This workshop provides in-depth teaching about the history of waist beads and a demonstration on how to create waist beads through self-expression. Maximum of 25 participants

Virtual Sundays on Stage: Home Fried Tales with Lyn Ford

Celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day by joining us for a selection of stories from fourth generation storyteller, author, and educator Lyn Ford. Rooted in her family’s multicultural Affrilachian (African-American Appalachian)…

A Celebration of Black American Music: The Renaissance Orchestra

Join us for a free concert highlighting the contributions of Philadelphia composers to the rich and varied cultural tradition of Black American Music. The Renaissance Sextet, led by Leon Jordan Sr., will perform live, offer insights on…

From Louis Armstrong to Leon Bridges- Celebrating a century of genius in Black American Music

As part of Black History Month, we are excited to present- “From Louis Armstrong to Leon Bridges- Celebrating a century of genius in Black American Music”, a live musical performance spotlighting the compositions of some of…

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.

HistoryMakers Digital Archive

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive is the nation's largest African American video oral history collection. It provides high-quality primary source content, with fully searchable transcripts, from thousands of people from a broad range of…

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…

Ibram X. Kendi and Nic Stone | How to Be a (Young) Antiracist

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6abc Action News morning edition Ibram X. Kendi  is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research.…

Stephen A. Smith | Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes

In conversation with Mike Sielski The star of ESPN’s No. 1 morning talk show  First Take , Stephen A. Smith is one of the U.S. sporting press’s most popular and outspoken personalities. He is also the host of NBA in Stephen A’s World…

Ilyon Woo | Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom

In conversation with Imani Perry Ilyon Woo is the author of  The Great Divorce , the “lively, well-written, and engrossing tale” ( The New York Times Book Review ) of a young mother’s five-year fight against her husband, the Shakers…

Aidan Levy | Saxophone Colossus: The Life and Music of Sonny Rollins

In conversation with Nate Chinen The author of  Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed  and editor of  Patti Smith on Patti Smith: Interviews and Encounters ,  Aiden Levy  played the baritone saxophone in the Stan Rubin…

Misty Copeland | The Wind at My Back: Resilience, Grace, and Other Gifts from My Mentor, Raven Wilkinson

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6abc Action News morning edition The first African American principal dancer in the history of the elite American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland is one of the world’s most accomplished and…

Kerri K. Greenidge | The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition Historian Kerri K. Greenidge is the author of  Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter , a portrait of the post-Reconstruction civil…

Andrew K. Diemer | Vigilance: The Life of William Still, Father of the Underground Railroad

Andrew K. Diemer is the author of  The Politics of Black Citizenship: Free African Americans in the Mid-Atlantic Borderland, 1817–1863 , an examination of the ways in which free Black Philadelphians and Baltimoreans fought to defend…

Kardea Brown | The Way Home: A Celebration of Sea Islands Food and Family with over 100 Recipes

In conversation with Valerie Erwin Charleston, South Carolina–based Kardea Brown hosts the Food Network’s Delicious Miss Brown and OWN’s The Great Soul Food Cookoff . She also is the creator of the pop-up New Gullah Supper Club, where…

Ross Gay | Inciting Joy: Essays with Major Jackson | A Beat Beyond: Selected Prose of Major Jackson

Ross Gay is the author of The Book of Delights , a life-affirming collection of short lyric essays that reminds readers to appreciate so-called ordinary wonders, even during turbulent times. His several volumes of poetry include Catalog…

Charlayne Hunter-Gault | My People: Five Decades of Writing about Black Lives

In conversation with Dorothy Roberts Referred to by Jelani Cobb as “a Dean of American journalism,” Charlayne Hunter-Gault has chronicled some of the past half-century’s most important moments in Black life, culture, and politics. Often…

Saidiya Hartman and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor| Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America

One of academia’s leading authorities on African American literature, enslavement, gender studies, and the ways in which marginalized people are excluded in historical narratives, Saidiya Hartman is a University Professor at Columbia…

Margaret A. Burnham | By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners

In conversation with Tracey Matisak Margaret A. Burnham is the founding director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, an initiative to document every racially motivated killing in the South between 1930 and 1970. Also a…

Camika Royal | Not Paved For Us: Black Educators and Public School Reform in Philadelphia

In conversation with Edwin Mayorga and Sharif El-Mekki  For 20 years  Camika Royal  was a middle and high school teacher and a teaching coach for her fellow educators in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and her hometown of Philadelphia.…

Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile | Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice

In conversation with Tracey Matisak, award winning broadcaster and journalist Tommie Smith and John Carlos made history at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics when they stood at the winners’ podium and raised their black-gloved fists to…

Ruth Wilson Gilmore | Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation

In conversation with Chenjerai Kumanyika Ruth Wilson Gilmore is largely credited with creating carceral geography, the study of how the interplay between space, institutions, and political economies shape modern incarceration. The…

Jenifer Lewis | Walking in My Joy: In these Streets

In conversation with Tracey Matisak, award-winning journalist and interviewer Co-star of the ABC mega-hit show  Black-ish , Jenifer Lewis’ nearly 35-year career has featured roles in some of Hollywood’s most beloved films and television…

W. Kamau Bell with Kate Schatz | Do the Work!: An Antiracist Activity Book

In conversation with Marc Lamont Hill W. Kamau Bell is the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award–winning CNN docuseries United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell , and also directed and executive produced the recent four-part…

Patience Marime-Ball and Ruth Shaber | The XX Edge: Unlocking Higher Returns and Lower Risk

In conversation with Renée Chenault Fattah In  The XX Edge , Patience Marime-Ball and Ruth Shaber envision a new paradigm of gender-focused investing where more women are placed in decision-making roles and able to optimize their skills…

Chinelo Okparanta | Harry Sylvester Bird

In conversation with Asali Solomon Nigerian American author  Chinelo Okparanta ’s acclaimed debut novel  Under the Udala Trees  celebrates the act of loving fearlessly, even amidst the strife of prejudice and civil war. Selected…

Gene Andrew Jarrett | Paul Laurence Dunbar: The Life and Times of a Caged Bird

In conversation with Herman Beavers Gene Andrew Jarrett is the author of Representing the Race: A New Political History of African American Literature and Deans and Truants: Race and Realism in African American Literature . He is the…

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,…