Tagged African American

Picture Book Highlights | Brown: A Deep and Varied Joy

Magnificence sometimes appears in the most commonplace observations. In the poetic celebration of self and nature,  Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration is a series of young brown girls admiring the many different browns…

Celebrating Everyday Experiences of Black Children and Families

Back in 2018, Denene Milner, children’s book writer and publisher, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times lamenting the scarcity of children’s books that "celebrate the humanity and everyday experiences of black…

Explore Black History with Your Family at the Free Library!

The Free Library is proud to honor Black History Month ! We’ll be celebrating, learning, and reflecting together, with a multitude of programs for the whole family at neighborhood libraries across the city. Explore local history…

Come Out for Sundays on Stage this Winter Season!

If you have yet to experience an afternoon with Sundays on Stage , you’re really missing out! One of the Free Library’s longest-running programs, this free-to-the-public event series features talented performers from all…

Portraits of Heroes, Portraits of You: Black History Month at the Free Library

"This athlete is only nineteen years old, but he is six feet, two inches high, and weighs 210 pounds," noted the March 1918 issue of The Crisis , the NAACP’s flagship publication. Their "Man of the Month" is…

Kick-Off Black History Month with Philadelphia’s African American Children’s Book Fair

At a moment of growing awareness around the importance of representation and diversity in children’s books , the African American Children’s Book Fair continues the effort it has been devoted to for nearly three decades:…

MLK Day of Service | When the Youth Lead

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a strongly celebrated day in Philadelphia. People of all ages come together to support their communities and uplift the values of MLK’s civil rights leadership during this nationally recognized Day of…

Reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Visit to Philadelphia: A Personal Account

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  stands with one arm stretched high above his head, waving to the crowd, with a broad smile on his face, as the legendary Philadelphia civil rights attorney and firebrand Cecil B. Moore stands to one…

A History Minute | Who was Mae Reeves and Why is She in the Smithsonian?

For over 50 years, Mae’s Millinery (definition: "the art of hat-making") was a fixture in Philadelphia, a destination for women from up and down the East Coast in search of the perfect hat. Now Mae’s is once more a…

Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Book Award’s 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Award , honoring African American authors and illustrators in children’s and young adult literature. Noted by their familiar emblem, the Coretta Scott King Award…

Bringing Families Together: A Booklist About Adopted Children and Their Families

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a celebrated tradition that began in 1976 . This year, the monthly focus is on the adoption of children who are currently in foster care. The stories below portray multidimensional and…

A History Minute | Father Divine and the Behind the Scenes History of The Divine Lorraine Hotel

The Divine Lorraine's story is not just that of a dilapidated building brought back to glory before the wrecking ball's kiss, but a much more complicated, dramatic, and sometimes scandalous history than most Philadelphian's…

Find Out How Slavery Made Our World with These Free Library Resources

Have you read the 1619 Project yet? It’s the award-winning special issue of the New York Times Magazine all about American Slavery that was published last month. The project’s creator, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones , writes…

Remembering Toni Morrison, 1931–2019

When I first read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison , at 15 years old, I knew it would haunt me. The story fed my soul—I was shocked at its lovely, yet stinging taste, but realized I had always been craving it. Never had my struggle…

Juneteenth is in the Air on 52nd Street and in the House at Blackwell Regional Library!

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery, on June 19, 1865, when the Emancipation Proclamation was enforced by Union soldiers and the last remaining slaves were freed in Galveston Texas. To honor the significance of this historical…

Celebrate African-American Music Appreciation Month!

This month is African-American Music Appreciation Month , a commemoration first started by former President Jimmy Carter, on June 7, 1979. The national recognition began as Black Music Month, but President Barack Obama changed the name…

Conversations in Color: The Coretta Scott King Awards Celebrate 50 Years of Excellence

Parkway Central Library Senior Services will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards for excellence in African American children’s literature with a five-part discussion series called Conversations In…

Through This Lens: African American Photographers

Through This Lens , an exhibit of library materials that illustrates and discusses the camera work of African American photographers can be viewed on the 2nd floor landing of Parkway Central Library until mid-March. Some of the…

#ownvoices: Celebrating Black History Month and Picture Books

February is Black History Month – an annual commemoration that recognizes and celebrates the heritage, culture, contributions and achievements of African Americans to American history and life. Join us (and our younger readers!)…

Free Library Participating in 27th Annual African American Children's Book Fair

We are excited to share the news that the Free Library will be at the African American Children's Book Fair again this year! Founded and organized by Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati, the African American Children’s Book Fair is…

Adult Reading Club: Color's Blues

Join us in the Education, Philosophy & Religion Department as we read and discuss Philadelphia author, Lee Ruben's novel, which delves into the steamy underworld during the Harlem Renaissance era. Copies of the book chapters…

Susan Choi | Trust Exercise with Jacqueline Woodson | Red at the Bone

Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for fiction, Trust Exercise follows a star-crossed suburban teen romance in a 1980s performing arts high school. Susan Choi ’s novels are known for excavating the hidden corners of the human…

Samantha Irby | Wow, No Thank You.

In her popular long-running blog,  bitches gotta eat , Samantha Irby offers raw, humorous takes on her sometimes difficult personal life, pop culture, and, of course, food. She is also the author of three essay collections: …

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. | Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own

The chair of the Department of African American Studies and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the author of the acclaimed book Democracy in Black: How Race Still…

Frank B. Wilderson III | Afropessimism

Frank B. Wilderson III spent more than five years in South Africa, where he was one of two Americans elected to the African National Congress during the country’s transformation after apartheid. His books include  Incognegro:…

Wes Moore | Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City

Two Tickets/One Book A former combat officer in Afghanistan, Rhodes Scholar, and White House Fellow to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Wes Moore is the author of the bestsellers The Work , an intimate reflection about…

April is National Poetry Month

East Oak Lane's Vernita Hall will join us and read new poems of witness for modern times, in celebration of Poetry Month. She is the author of  Where William Walked: Poems about Philadelphia and its people of color" …

Blueprints for Healing: Toni Morrison and the Balm of Black Women Writing led by Yolanda Wisher and Trapeta B. Mayson

As a novelist, essayist, and author of children’s books, Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison (1931-2019) unapologetically wrote the Black experience into a tradition of American letters that often rendered it invisible or caricatured. As…

Authors Up Close | William Evans

Join William Evans at Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse for a reading of his new book, We Inherit What the Fires Left Us: Poems . An award-winning poet and cofounder of the website  Black Nerd Problems , Evans offers an emotionally…

Running Like Wilma

We will read Wilma Unlimited:  How Wilma Rudolph Became the Fastest Woman , then we'll do some warm-up exercises, run a relay race around the library, passing batons, and then we'll make our own winner medals.…

Parker Looks Up: Storytime

After reading  Parker Looks Up , explore the importance of representation and the art of the Michelle and Barack Obama portraits. 

Blueprints for Healing: Toni Morrison and the Balm of Black Women Writing led by Yolanda Wisher and Trapeta B. Mayson

As a novelist, essayist, and author of children’s books, Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison (1931-2019) unapologetically wrote the Black experience into a tradition of American letters that often rendered it invisible or caricatured. As…

James McBride | Deacon King Kong

“Boisterous, highly entertaining,” and “altogether original” ( Washington Post ), James McBride is the author of the National Book Award–winning  The Good Lord Bird , in which a young boy born into…

Adult Reading Club: Color's Blues

Join us in the Education, Philosophy & Religion Department as we read and discuss Philadelphia author, Lee Ruben's novel, which delves into the steamy underworld during the Harlem Renaissance era. Copies of the book chapters…

Black History Month Matinee Series | Malcolm X

Engage in black history with films every weekend.

Multimedia Book Talk | She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman

More than a book talk, this program incorporates passages from the book, as well as historical and contemporary insights, audio and video clips, and more for a richer understanding of She Came to Slay .

Black History Month

This dance party will highlight African American social dancing. Come Bop, bump, line dance, and do the Funky Chicken. Refreshments will be served.

African Americans and the Vote: Book and Picture Display/Collage

The display will highlight the journey of African American suffrage. It will support and mirror the 2020 national theme. Exhibition or display…what to do? This display will be on view all month.

Black History Craft Day

Learn about three highly celebrated African - Americans in history then make a craft of your choice based on them.

The Harlem Renaissance: A Centennial Celebration

A display of materials from the Art & Literature Department highlighting the work of artists involved in, or influenced by the great cultural era known as the Harlem Renaissance, in celebration of its centennial. This display will…

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,…

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…

Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons and Justine Simmons | Old School Love: And Why it Works

Walk this way for an evening with Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, frontman for the mega-influential hip-hop trio Run-DMC. Regarded as the driving force behind ushering rap into the mainstream, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime…

Gretchen Sorin | Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights

A curator with more than 30 years’ experience, Dr. Gretchen Sorin has consulted for more than 250 institutions, including the Smithsonian, the Jewish Museum, and the New York State Historical Association. She is the director of the…

David Zucchino | Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

In conversation with Mark Bowden, most recently author of The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation David Zucchino is a contributing writer for The New York Times . He has covered wars and civil conflicts in more than…

Saeed Jones | How We Fight for Our Lives with Clifford Thompson | What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues

Saeed Jones is the author of the “hard and glaring and brilliant” ( NPR Book Review ) poetry collection Prelude to Bruise , winner of the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. He is also the co-host of BuzzFeed’s…

Erica Armstrong Dunbar | She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman

In conversation with Lorene Cary , author of Black Ice , The Price of a Child , Ladysitting and the forthcoming Arden Theatre production of My General Tubman Erica Armstrong Dunbar is the author of the National Book Award finalist Never…

Susan Rice | Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 and President Obama’s national security advisor from 2013 to 2017, Susan Rice has been at the…

Imani Perry | Breathe: A Letter to My Sons

In conversation with Tracey Matisak, award-winning broadcaster and journalist Dr. Imani Perry is the author of Looking for Lorraine , a work of “masterly syntheses of research and analysis” ( New York Times Book Review ) of the life of…

Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Water Dancer

SPOILER ALERT. A number of critical plot points are exposed during the discussion. In conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015…

Edwidge Danticat | Everything Inside

In conversation with Glory Edim, author and founder of Well-Read Black Girl In “fiercely beautiful” novels, memoirs, and essay collections brimming with “enchantments and surprises” ( Los Angeles Times ), Edwidge Danticat bears witness…

Elaine Welteroth | More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)

In conversation with Rakia Reynolds , founder and CEO of Skai Blue Media The firebrand former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and the first African American ever to hold the post of beauty and health director in Condé Nast’s 107-year…

Jason Baumann | The Stonewall Reader with Mark Segal, Karla Jay and Joel Hall

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the riots that started the fight for American LGBTQ+ rights, The Stonewall Reader highlights some of the movement’s most iconic moments and figures in the years before and after those tumultuous…

Esi Edugyan | Washington Black

Esi Edugyan’s novel Half-Blood Blues , the story of a World War II–era mixed-race jazz band’s abducted star trumpeter, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, among other honors. She is also the author of another novel, The Second…

Mark Kram Jr. | Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier

In conversation with longtime radio host Steve Ross Mark Kram Jr. won the 2013 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing for Like Any Normal Day , the tragic story of two brothers bonded but separated by a devastating sports injury. He…

Lorene Cary | Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century

“A powerful storyteller, frankly sensual [and] mortally funny" ( New York Times ), Lorene Cary is the author of the novels Pride , The Price of a Child , If Sons, Then Heirs , and the memoir Black Ice . A senior lecturer in creative…

Nicole Weisensee Egan | Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad

In conversation with Annette John-Hall, cohost and producer of The Why on WHYY A 14-year veteran crime reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News , Nicole Weisensee Egan was the first journalist to delve into Andrea Constand’s 2005 sexual…

Kwame Onwuachi | Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir

In conversation with Chef Elijah Milligan A former Top Chef star, the executive chef at Washington D.C.’s popular Kith and Kin, and a Forbes and Zagat’s 30 Under 30 honoree, Kwame Onwuachi  is one of America’s most acclaimed young…

Valerie Jarrett | Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward

In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition “The ultimate Obama insider” ( New York Times ), Valerie Jarrett was the longest serving advisor in the 44th President’s administration. Born in Iran and…

Darius James | Negrophobia: An Urban Parable

In conversation with Gene Seymour, contributor to The Nation and former film critic and jazz columnist for Newsday . He has written for Bookforum , CNN.com, and The Washington Post . Author and spoken-word artist Darius James’s 1992…

Brittney Cooper | Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower with Rebecca Traister | Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

In converation with Rebecca Traister , author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger Examining the intersections of race, gender, and politics in a popular monthly Cosmo column, Brittney Cooper is also a professor of…

Steve Luxenberg | Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation

A 30-year writer and senior editor at The Washington Post , Steve Luxenberg has overseen reportage that has won a host of awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes for explanatory journalism. He is the author of Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey in…

African American History

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,…