Tagged African American

Art Department Celebrates Black History Month with African American Artists from Philadelphia

The Art Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia maintains a collection of artist files going back to the 19th century. Our artist files are folders that include article clippings, gallery announcements, artist statements,…

African American Philanthropists in Early Philadelphia

Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and other tech billionaire/philanthropists may have set new standards in giving, but philanthropy is an old Philadelphia tradition with two of our earliest millionaire/philanthropists being African…

How Will You Celebrate Black History Month?

Our libraries have a full lineup of programs and activities this February to celebrate the rich intellectual and cultural contributions made by the African American community. We have everything from performances and special guests to…

Graphic Novel Memoirs

I love a graphic novel—and even better I love a graphic novel memoir . There is something so much more intimate about reading the words AND pictures when someone shares her story. Or maybe I’m just a slower reader when it…

Jerry Pinkney Day

Jerry Pinkney is a rock star. His fans tend to be of the toddler-variety, but he has legions of older die-hard devotees of his work as well—mostly parents, nannies, and a lot of librarians. This week, a new fan is…

#OneBookWednesday: Storytelling Inspired by One Book

One Book, One Philadelphia is known for inspiring great conversations across the Philadelphia region. Last week, it also inspired some new stories altogether—as a panel of professional storytellers shared stories inspired by the…

Cook This Now: Oldways Jollof Rice

This recipe is from the  A Taste of African Heritage series, a free six-lesson nutrition and cooking program presented by Oldways that we host at the Culinary Literacy Center. The series brings the savory tradition of eating a…

Caldecott, Newbery, Belpre, Oh My!

Last weekend in Chicago, a room full of children's and teen librarians erupted in cheers, gasps, and wild applause for the newest batch of books chosen for the Youth Media Awards, administered by the American Library…

Sundays on Stage Winter/Spring Calendar of events!

Get ready to rock, roll, dance, and dream this summer as our Sundays on Stage FREE performance series returns this weekend! This series of free performances for children, families, and adults is made possible by funding from the…

Streaming Philadelphia History - Introducing Input with Marion Stokes & John S. Stokes, Jr

Input  was a Philadelphia panel discussion program hosted by John S. Stokes, Jr. that aired Sunday mornings on WCAU-TV10 from 1968 through early 1971. The program is a window in to the people and ideas that shaped that tumultuous…

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka: A great introduction to African American history for the youngest readers

Looking for some great books for your children? Our children's librarians are excited to share their expert reviews with you. For this month, we focus on African American history for children. Ever heard of Charlie Parker? Read…

12 Years A Slave and Slave Narratives

Earlier this year I read the autobiography Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup and was blown away. While reading the book I often thought about what I learned about slavery in school and the various films I've seen on the…

Summer in the City

"Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise."   So reads the memorable inscription above the door of Shakespeare & Company , one of my favorite bookstores. This quaint Parisian bookstore…

LEAP's DREAM@50 Contest Winners

Today marks what would have been the 84th birthday of Nobel Prize winning activist and Civil Rights Leader Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. The DREAM@50 is a tribute series that was held throughout 2012 and continues into 2013, commemorating…

Malcolm X Review

Columbia Professor Manning Marable recently passed away April 1, 2011, three days before the publication of his new biography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention . Professor Marable has spent his career studying…

What I'm Reading Now

Two extraordinary writers have recently released new novels, years after their earlier books established their literary reputations. It's been fifteen years since Fae Myenne Ng's debut, Bone , and eager fans have been devouring her new…

African American National Biography

An exciting addition to our reference collection is making its way onto shelves around the city: the multi-volume African American National Biography , published by Oxford University Press and edited by Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn…

Harlem Book Fair News!

When I attended the Harlem Book Fair recently, I spoke with local Philly author, Karen E. Quinones Miller, who has started her own publishing company.  The Free Library of Philadelphia has ordered these new titles (click…

From Red Summer to Black Lives Matter: African American Protest Poetry, 1919-2017

African American poets have been writing protest poems since before the Civil War. Though a large number of poems deal with the subject of various notions of freedom, there are poems that protest a wide range of subjects from the…

Gabourey Sidibe | This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare

In conversation with longtime broadcaster and journalist, Tracey Matisak Gabourey Sidibe received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her debut role in the 2009 film Precious , based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Sidibe won…

Award-Winning African American Authors

Books by prize-winning writers.

Chris Hayes | A Colony in a Nation

Chris Hayes is the titular host of MSNBC’s news and opinion show All In with Chris Hayes . Formerly a frequent fill-in for Rachel Maddow and the host of the weekend morning show Up with Chris Hayes , in 2013 he became the youngest…

Erica Armstrong Dunbar | Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

Named the first director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Erica Armstrong Dunbar is a professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She has contributed…

Michael Eric Dyson | Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

In conversation with Dr. James Peterson, Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. MSNBC Contributor Possessed of “intellectual heft, critical thinking depth and finesse with words and…

The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own with Veronica Chambers with Benilde Little, Alicia Moran and Damon Young

Iconic First Lady Michelle Obama has redefined American ideas about beauty, strength, and poise under often-harsh public scrutiny. In the “powerful” ( Vogue ) essay collection The Meaning of Michelle , some of the country’s most…

Simone Biles | Courage to Soar

In conversation with Tracey Matisak A member of the formidable U.S. female gymnastics team nicknamed the “Final Five” at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Simone Biles won a record-setting four gold and one bronze medals for…

Wesley Lowery | They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement

The Washington Post’s lead journalist in Ferguson, Missouri during the tempestuous aftermath of the death of African American teenager Mike Brown, Wesley Lowery, together with his team, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting…

John Edgar Wideman | Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File

“One of America’s premier writers of fiction ( New York Times ), John Edgar Wideman was the first two-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, for his novels  Sent for You Yesterday  and  Philadelphia Fire . His more than 20 other works…

Margot Lee Shetterly | Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

In her New York Times bestselling debut book, Margot Shetterly tells the story of four African American women whose mathematical calculations at NASA fueled America’s greatest achievements in space at the leading edge of the civil…

LEADING VOICES: Valerie Graves | Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be

In conversation with Tracey Matisak One of Advertising Age’s industry-wide “100 Best and Brightest,” Valerie Graves is the nationally lionized creative director of such Fortune 500 accounts as Ford, AT&T, General Foods, and Pepsi. In a…

Evelyn Coleman | Freedom Train

It’s 1947, and twelve-year-old Clyde Thomason is proud to have an older brother who guards the Freedom Train—a train that is traveling to all forty-eight states carrying the country’s most important documents, including the Declaration…

Ann Patchett | Commonwealth with Jacqueline Woodson | Another Brooklyn

Ann Patchett’s many novels and nonfiction works have won some of writing’s highest awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for  Bel Canto , the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for  Taft , and the  New York Times…

Colson Whitehead | The Underground Railroad

“Commanding a lush, poetic, mellifluous prose instrument” ( The Nation ) to turn a fantastical, satirical mirror on race and culture, Colson Whitehead  is the author of the acclaimed novels  The Intuitionist ,  John Henry Days , and…

Natashia Deon | Grace

Natashia Deón's debut novel Grace depicts the violent, terrifying world of the antebellum South, where the emancipation of slaves can bring anything but freedom. She is "not merely another new author to watch. She has delivered…

A Conversation with Jerry Pinkney

Join us for a celebration of Jerry Pinkney Day! One of the most beloved artists in children’s literature, Jerry Pinkney has illustrated more than 100 books over the course of his five-decade career. The recipient of the 2010 Caldecott…

Ben Winters | Underground Airlines

Ben Winters is the author of the “bare-boned, raw and honest” ( Cleveland Plain Dealer ) Last Policeman trilogy, a pre-apocalyptic noir series for which he won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Philip K. Dick…

Terry McMillan | I Almost Forgot About You

“Rich in narrative tension, nuanced humor, and moral heft” ( Los Angeles Times ), Terry McMillan’s bestselling novels include  Waiting to Exhale —a watershed work in contemporary fiction about black women—and  How Stella Got Her Groove…

Robb Armstrong | Fearless: A Cartoonist’s Guide to Life

Coming from “one of the country’s hottest young cartoonists” ( People ), Robb Armstrong’s Jump Start is the most widely syndicated daily comic strip by an African American in history. Appearing in more than 300 newspapers in eight…

Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf | Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

Historians Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf are two of the world’s leading authorities on America’s enigmatic and paradoxical third President. Gordon-Reed is most noted for the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hemingses of Monticello , a…

Diane McKinney-Whetstone | Lazaretto

A writer of “wrenching and sweet truths that feel familiar to any reader” ( Philadelphia Magazine ), Diane McKinney-Whetstone is the author of five acclaimed novels, including Tumbling , Tempest Rising , and Trading Dreams at Midnight ,…

Darryl Pinckney | Black Deutschland with Margo Jefferson | Negroland

“Powerful” ( The Independent ) novelist, playwright, and essayist  Darryl Pinckney  explores issues of racial, sexual, and cultural identity in contemporary America. His semi-autobiographical novel  High Cotton  tells an irreverent and…

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,…