Tagged African American

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…

#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…

Ntozake Shange | Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems

“Extraordinary and wonderful” ( New York Times ), Ntozake Shange wrote the Broadway-staged Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf , the groundbreaking prose poem/theater…

Nikki Giovanni | A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter

“One of the finest poets of our time” ( Ebony ), Nikki Giovanni is the author of nearly 30 books, including the collections Acolytes; Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgment; Those Who Ride the Night Winds ; and …

Ta-Nehisi Coates | We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy*

Buy tickets here on Tuesday, August 22nd at 10 AM! Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for Between the World and Me , a “searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today” ( New York Times ).…

Gabrielle Union | We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True

In conversation with longtime broadcaster and journalist, Tracey Matisak Best known for leading roles in a variety of comedies, dramas, and action films such as The Brothers, Deliver Us from Eva, Bad Boys II , and 2016’s The Birth…

James Forman Jr. | Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

Yale Law School professor James Forman Jr. has spent decades teaching, writing, and working on the ground in criminal procedure and policy, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. A former law clerk for Justice Sandra Day…

James McBride | Five-Carat Soul

“Absorbing and darkly funny” ( San Francisco Chronicle ), James McBride is the author of the National Book Award winner  The Good Lord Bird , in which a young boy born into slavery joins abolitionist John Brown’s…

Sundays on Stage: Keepers of the Culture

The rich legacy of the African Oral Tradition has been preserved in the stories told among the African American communities that survived and thrive in Philadelphia.  Come hear this rich tapestry of tales told by members of Keepers…

The African American Interest - Book Discussion Group

For the next meeting of the African American Interest - Book Discsussion group, we will discuss The Gravedigger’s Ball by Solomon Jones . Light refreshment served but please RSVP to Lisa Hardy (215-686-5320 |…

A Taste of African Heritage

This 4-week nutrition and hands-on cooking program will teach you about:  traditional herbs and spices, greens, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tubers, stews and more!   This is supported by Einstein's Nutrition…

A Taste of African Heritage

This 4-week nutrition and hands-on cooking program will teach you about:  traditional herbs and spices, greens, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tubers, stews and more!   This is supported by Einstein's Nutrition…

WURD's Summer of Freedom Library Tour

WURD 900am celebrates their seventh annual Summer of Freedom tour at Free Library! Join The Mojo host Stephanie Renee, broadcasting LIVE, as she explores topical issues, plays great tunes, and interviews insightful people, including…

A Taste of African Heritage

This 4-week nutrition and hands-on cooking program will teach you about:  traditional herbs and spices, greens, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tubers, stews and more!   This is supported by Einstein's Nutrition…

Award-Winning African American Authors

Books by prize-winning writers.

Zinzi Clemmons | What We Lose

A cofounder and former publisher of Apogee Journal and a contributing editor for Literary Hub , Zinzi Clemmons has had work published in a variety of literary magazines, including Zoetrope: All Story, The Paris Review Daily , and…

Yaa Gyasi | Homegoing with Kei Miller | Augustown

Yaa Gyasi’s breakout debut novel Homegoing , a multigenerational tale that “brims with compassion” ( NPR Books ), follows two half-sisters on opposite sides of the 18th-century Ghanaian slave trade and their descendants. It was a New…

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…

Jessamyn Stanley | Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear. Get On the Mat. Love Your Body

An internationally acclaimed yoga teacher whose body-positive approach encourages students to ask “How do I feel?” rather than “How do I look?,” Jessamyn Stanley has been featured on Good Morning America, Shape, People , and New York…

Misty Copeland | Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You

In conversation with Tracey Matisak The first African American principal dancer in the 75-year history of the elite American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland is one of the world’s most accomplished and recognizable artists. A recipient of…

Dr. Willie Parker | Life’s Work: From the Trenches, a Moral Argument for Choice

In conversation with Dr. James Peterson, Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. MSNBC Contributor An outspoken Christian reproductive justice advocate, Dr. Willie Parker is a…

Roxane Gay | Difficult Women

Roxane Gay’s “commanding debut” ( The New Yorker ) novel An Untamed State , the tale of a willful Haitian kidnap victim, was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the acclaimed essay collection…

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…

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,…