Tagged African American

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…

At These Crossroads: The Legacies of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois Exhibition

Born in 1868, just shortly after the Union’s triumph in the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, William Edward Burghardt (W. E. B.) Du Bois died in 1963, just one year before Congress passed the Civil…

Brought To You In Living Color

For Baby Boomers, the words “Land Shark”, “Samurai Delicatessen”, “Coneheads”, and “The Blues Brothers” conjures up adventures on the wild frontier of comedy, when Saturday Night Live…

Art, Gardens, and Stories: Making Philadelphia Home

[ Editor's note: We librarians offer literally thousands of programs every year. It's a special thrill to get formal feedback from our audiences. We can't publish every review we get, but we're overjoyed to have gotten…

Culinary Literacy Center Presenters Win Big at "The Oscars of the Food World"

One of the biggest nights in the food world, The James Beard Foundation Media Awards , took place April 27 at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Hailed as “the Oscars of the food world,” this prestigious ceremony shines a light…

Embrace the Sacred and Interstellar Through the Art and Poetry of Stellar Masses

Yolanda Wisher is back! She left us in 2017 as the first Poet Laureate since the Free Library assumed responsibility for nurturing our city's chief word smith. On May 9, 2018 at 6:30 p.m., she's returning as curator with…

Black Artists from the Stacks: The Libraries Are Appreciated

Take a deep dive into the Free Library’s resources on African American artists at The Libraries Are Appreciated , an exhibition from the Parkway Central’s Art Department . Borrowing its name from the 1943 painting by Jacob…

#OneBookWednesday: Brooklyn, Black Girlhood, and the Great Migration

Gladys Jamison couldn’t know this, but she was a girl coming of age in an exodus. Thirteen years old when her father moved her and her siblings to Brooklyn, she’d lost her mother five years before, in 1932. She was still…

5 African American Romance Authors to Keep Your Eye On

A few weeks ago The Ripped Bodice, a romance bookstore in Los Angeles, released the inaugural report on the State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing and it exposes some hard truths about the lack of diversity in traditionally…

The Philadelphia Colored Directory of 1910 Recently Scanned and Available for Download in Our Digital Collections

The Philadelphia Colored Directory , a handbook of religious, social, political, professional, business activities of the Negroes of Philadelphia, was compiled by R. (Richard) R. (Robert) Wright, Jr.; assisted by Ernest Smith. This…

Following Octavius V. Catto’s Footsteps

It has been more than 150 years since Octavius Catto may have slipped on a sack overcoat that hung by his front door, pushed a well-worn felt pocket hat over his parted hair, stepped out into the fall chill, and walked a few blocks down…

A History Minute: Octavius V. Catto - Philadelphia's Forgotten Freedom Fighter

On Sept. 26, 2017, the fence will come down and a new statue will be unveiled: the first new City Hall statue since 1923 and the first of an African American on any city-owned public property. It’s a lot of fuss over a man…

African-American Music Appreciation Month: 3 New Albums to Check Out

On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter designated the month of June to honor the musical contributions of African Americans, known as Black Music Month. In 2016, President Barack Obama gave a presidential proclamation and formally…

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…

At These Crossroads: The Legacies of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois

Like others of their generations, and ours, Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois found themselves at the crossroads of belonging and not, of loving their nation and feeling rejected by it, of being both black and American. This…

Black Woodstock: The Harlem Cultural Festival, Summer 1969

Whille hippies were enjoying "three days of peace and love" in Bethel, NY, another huge music festival was staged over eight weeks in Harlem.  The Harlem Cultural Festival, aka Black Woodstock was a historic but nealy…

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…

African American Interest Book Discussion

The African American Interest Book Discussion Group will hold its next meeting on May 13, 2019 in Room 405 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. We will discuss The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP…

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…

Philadelphia Theatre: From Then to Now

Philadelphia Theatre: From Then to Now Philadelphia holds an important place in the history of American theater. The first play written by an American author and staged by a professional company was presented at…

Black History Walk: The Seventh Ward

Co-hosted by Jane’s Walk (https://janeswalk.org/united-states/philadelphia-pa/). Discover the places and people of Philadelphia's historically black Seventh Ward, brought to life through images, as well as their own words…

Chat-n-Chew Book Club

Do you love to read?  Do you like to talk?  If you do, please consider joining the West Oak Lane Library's book group. We will meet approximately every five weeks.  Stop in or call the library and see what we will be…

Through this Lens: African American Photographers

This exhibition of books and other materials from the collections of the Art Department offers a look at the camera work of African American artists from the earliest days of photography to today. In addition to photographers like…

April is National Poetry Month

East Oak Lane's Vernita Hall will join us and read from her newly published book  Where William Walked: Poems about Philadelphia and its people of color"   (Willow Books), winner of the Willow Books Grand Prize…

Philly Celebrates Jazz | Film Screening Ornette Coleman Made in America A Jazz Documentary Presented by Cinespeak

As part of Philly Celebrates Jazz, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy presents its third Neighborhood Jazz Series of FREE jazz concerts, dance lessons, film screenings and more throughout Philadelphia.   This…

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…

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…

Victor LaValle with Justina Ireland, Sam J. Miller, and Alice Sola Kim | A People's Future of the United States: Twenty-five Visionary Stories

Amidst a climate of division, tumult, and fear, what will the United States look like tomorrow? In A People’s Future of the United States , 25 diverse writers synthesize hopeful, cynical, prescient visions of a country shaped by…

Chris Wilson | The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose

In conversation with State Representative Jordan A. Harris Convicted of murder at 18 and sentenced to life in prison with no hope of release, Chris Wilson began to improve himself through study, physical fitness, and even started a…

Feminista Jones | Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets with DaMaris B. Hill | A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing

Social worker, public speaker, community activist, and blogger Feminista Jones is the author of the novel Push the Button and the poetry collection The Secret of Sugar Water . She was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in…

Bridgett M. Davis | The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers

Bridgett M. Davis is the author of Into the Go-Slow , the acclaimed story of a young woman traveling from Detroit to Nigeria as she mourns the death of her sister, and Shifting Through Neutral , a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy…

One Book, One Philadelphia Kickoff Event | Featuring Jesmyn Ward

One Book, One Philadelphia 2019   kicks off with a reading and conversation between Jesmyn Ward, author of the  One Book  featured selection Sing, Unburied, Sing,  and WURD President/CEO Sara Lomax-Reese. Their talk will be followed by…

In Conversation With The Rosenbach: The Legacy of the Thirteenth Amendment with Michele Norris

Michele Norris is a Peabody Award-winning journalist, founder of The Race Card Project and Executive Director of The Bridge, The Aspen Institute’s new program on race, identity, connectivity and inclusion. For more than a decade Norris…

Mary Schmidt Campbell | An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden

President of Spelman College since 2015, and dean emerita of the Tisch School of the Arts, Mary Schmidt Campbell served as the vice chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities during the Obama administration. She has…

Andrew Delbanco | The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War

“America’s best social critic” ( Time ), Andrew Delbanco is the author of numerous books that explore American history, character, and ideals, including The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope , The Puritan Ordeal , and Required…

Jabari Asim | We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival

Editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, the NAACP’s flagship periodical, and a former editor and syndicated columnist at the The Washington Post , Jabari Asim is a professor of creative writing at Emerson College. His  many books…

David W. Blight | Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

David W. Blight’s many books of history include American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era ,  Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory , and two annotated editions of Frederick Douglass’s first two autobiographies.…

Daniel Torday | Boomer1 with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah | Friday Black: Stories

Exploring the nature of family and loss through the derring-do of a Czechoslovakian war hero, Daniel Torday ’s novel  The Last Flight of Poxl West won the National Jewish Book Award, as did his debut novella The Sensualist . The…

Imani Perry | Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry

A professor of African American studies, public affairs, and gender and sexuality studies at Princeton University, Dr. Imani Perry is the author of More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in…

Jill Lepore | These Truths: A History of the United States

An historian whose “discipline is worthy of a first-class detective” ( New York Review of Books ), Jill Lepore is the author of the National Book Award finalist Book of Ages , the story of Benjamin Franklin’s beloved but…

Nell Irvin Painter | Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over

Celebrated historian Nell Irvin Painter’s many books include Sojourner Truth, Creating Black Americans , and, most recently, The History of White People , a national bestseller examining the dangerous socially constructed notion of…

Jesmyn Ward | Sing, Unburied, Sing

In Conversation with Kalela Williams, Director of Neighborhood Enrichment Programming A “hypnotic” novelist whose ease with vernacular puts her “in fellowship with such forebears as Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner” ( The New…

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,…