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, Nonfiction, Books for Early Readers, The Harlem Renaissance, Tuskegee Airmen, Scientists and Inventors, Politics, Black Colleges and Universities, and Black History Month events throughout Philadelphia area.

Black History Month


  • Black Inventors A to Z's biographical guide to African American inventors also contains links to additional content including African American patent holders and a trivia quiz.
  • Top Ten African American Inventors

    A brief slideshow from Scholastic Magazine for grades 3-4.
  • African American History

    Major Speeches: Speeches from outstanding African American orators.
  • African American History: Major Speeches

    Speeches from outstanding African American orators
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia

    Exhibitions, collections, educational programs, and more. This is the official web site of the museum, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the culture of African Americans in Philadelphia and beyond.
  • African American Senators

    Photos and short biographies of African Americans senators, starting with Hiram Revels of Mississippi in 1870, the first African American U.S.senator.
  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in University City

    Black History Month Events @ Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in University City
  • Behind The Veil - Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South

    A selection of 100 recorded oral history interviews chronicling African-American life during the age of legal segregation in the American South, from the 1890s to the 1950s.
  • Bethune-Cookman College

    Noted educator Mary McLeod Bethune founded what later became known as Bethune-Cookman College in 1904.
  • Black Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database

    This database serves as a starting point for relatives or researchers as they begin to piece together individual experiences of black soldiers and sailors in the Civil War.
  • Black Dispatches

    African American Contributions to Union Intelligence During the Civil War.
  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

    Located just outside of Philadelphia and founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the oldest of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in America.
  • Desegregation of the Armed Forces

    A Collection of Documents detailing President Truman's decision to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Hampton University

    Located in southeastern Virginia, Hampton University offers a broad range of technical, liberal arts, pre-professional, professional, and graduate degree programs.
  • Howard University

    This HBCU is located in Washington, D.C.
  • Lincoln University

    Lincoln University is located in southern Chester County, about 45 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Famous alumni include Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall.
  • Morehouse College

    Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., filmmaker Shelton "Spike" Lee, and Olympic Gold Medalist Edwin Moses are among the renowned alumni of Atlanta, Georgia's Morehouse College.
  • NAACP’s Criminal Justice Fact Sheet

    Includes information on Incarceration Trends in America, Racial Disparities in Incarceration, Drug Sentencing Disparities, Effects of Incarceration, and Fair Chance Hiring.
  • National Constitution Center

    Daily events and activities including Decoding the Document, a workshop that examines the museum’s own rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln, and the interactive Breaking Barriers show, spotlighting the lives of Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson and other barrier-breaking African-Americans.
  • Notable African Americans

    Short biographies of prominent African Americans from all walks of life.
  • Notable African-American Government Officials

    Important African American Government Officials
  • PBS’s Teaching Your Child About Black History

    "Instead of shying away from hard truths, parents can explain that a long time ago, people were separated by the color of their skin. Some people did not think that was fair, and men and women of all races united to make a change. This is a straight-forward example that teaches empathy, cooperation, and the commonality of a shared goal. It is also a way to teach children how to connect their personal experiences with the larger world." - Nefertiti Austin
  • Physicists of the African Diaspora

    Short biographies of African American scientists prominent in physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics.
  • Project Ready’s Allies and Antiracism

    A free online professional development curriculum by UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, that helps to teach allyship.
  • Talking About Race

    The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture today launched Talking About Race, a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture.
  • The 1619 Project

    The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
  • The Authorship and Activism of Alice Dunbar Nelson – I Am An American!

    The Rosenbach’s exhibition, “I Am an American!” The Authorship and Activism of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, explores these questions through the lens of an under-studied local author, teacher, and advocate for social justice who changed American society—starting more than one hundred years ago.
  • The Combahee River Collective Statement

    A collective of Black feminists who have been meeting together since 1974. [1] During that time we have been involved in the process of defining and clarifying our politics, while at the same time doing political work within our own group and in coalition with other progressive organizations and movements. The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking.
  • The Faces of Science

    African Americans in the Sciences: This site contains profiles of African Americans who have contributed to science and engineering. Many profiles contain photographs of the scientist.
  • The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences

    This site contains profiles of African Americans who have contributed to science and engineering. Many profiles contain photographs of the scientist.
  • The Philly Black History Syllabus: 13 Must-read Books to Understand Our City

    Experts share what books spotlighting Philadelphia you should be reading during Black History Month.
  • Timeline of African American History

    From the Library of Congress, a timeline of events from 1852-1925 put together to support a special digital collection entitled "African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection".

Black History Books for Teens by FLPTeens

Fiction and nonfiction picks to honor Black History Month and to celebrate the lives, struggles, and achievements of Black Americans all year long.

View the full list

Alice Dunbar-Nelson by explore

Free Library resources in support of the Rosenbach's Digital Exhibition: "I Am an American!" The Authorship and Activism of Alice Dunbar-Nelson

View the full list

#Ownvoices: Celebrating Black History Month and Picture Books (75 items)

February is Black History Month -- Join us (and our younger readers!) as we recent highlight picture books written and/or illustrated by African-Americans authors and artists.

Biographies For Kids (26 items)

Read biographies of famous and historical African Americans.

Barack Obama: The Making of an American President (14 items)

Learn more about the life and achievement of President Obama.

African Americans Win the West (12 items)

Pioneering African Americans of the Old West.

African Americans in the Cinema (9 items)

Lights, Camera, Action! Dig into the world of Black filmmakers, actors and actresses.

Memoirs and Reminiscences by African American Authors (14 items)

Autobiographical selections.

Award-Winning African American Authors (14 items)

Books by prize-winning writers.

African American Revolutionaries and Inventors from Philadelphia (6 items)

Inspiring stories and historical perspective of African American Revolutionaries and Inventors from Philadelphia through the years.

African American Quilts (8 items)

Discover the beauty of these treasures of American folk art.

African American Celebrations (11 items)

Explore the rich cultural traditions that are an integral part of the African American experience.

African American Books for Early Readers (20 items)

Books starring African Americans for Early Readers.

Electronic Resources

Upcoming Events

Blog Posts

Collection Spotlight: Highlights from the Negro Leagues

Baseball: for over a century, the game has been known as "America’s favorite pastime." During the early parts of the 20th century, tuning in to a baseball game on the radio after a long day at work became a…

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Celebrate Women's History Month With New Additions to Our Little Free(dom) Libraries

Due to the success of our Little Free(dom) Library initiative, Visit Philadelphia is extending the campaign — which makes banned books available to residents and visitors for free —  by incorporating banned books by…

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African American History in the Fleisher Collection

Lately, there has been a resurgence of interest in African Americans' contributions to the classical music genre. Boston Conservatory is set to have a Florence Price Birthday Celebration Concert ; the film Chevalier  (released…

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Compelling Black Stories from the Free Library Podcast

The Free Library's podcast archive  dates back more than 25 years and features scores of author talks to help you commemorate, celebrate, and reflect on Black History Month . Even in just this last year, we’ve hosted an…

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Mini Jawns: Black History in Philadelphia

In honor of Black History Month, the Free Library released another Mini Jawns series exploring important moments in Philadelphia's Black History.   Check out more Mini Jawns episodes on the Audioboom platform, including an…

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Collection Spotlight: A Visual History of Reconstruction

In celebration of Black History Month, the Free Library's Social Science and History Department is displaying books from the collection that tell a visual history of Reconstruction — the period from 1865 to 1877 that saw some…

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Pam's Picks: Favorite Books of Legendary Actress Pam Grier

It’s the 50 Anniversary of the blaxploitation film Foxy Brown starring Pam Grier . The film is credited for revolutionizing the way women were portrayed in cinema. To celebrate this milestone, the legendary actress did a special…

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The Year of James Baldwin: Kick-Off Event and Programming

Join the Education, Philosophy, and Religion Department on Saturday, February 17 at 11 a.m. for Inaugurating the Year of James Baldwin: God’s Revolutionary Voice . The event will take place in the Skyline Room on the Fourth…

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Black History Month at the Business Resource and Innovation Center

This month, the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) is celebrating and uplifting Black entrepreneurs and their groundbreaking achievements. Join us for one or both of our Black History Month programs in person on the Ground…

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Advancing African-American Education: The Helen Adele Whiting Collection

Helen Adele Johnson Whiting (1885 – 1959) was a trailblazer in the education of African-American students, particularly those in rural areas of the South. Her education from Columbia University, Howard University, and several…

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James E. Dupree: Stolen Dreams Exhibit and Film Screening

Join the Art Department on Saturday, February 3 at 2 p.m. , for a free screening of the documentary film Broken Dreams . The feature documentary  Broken Dreams highlights artist James E. Dupree, his massive art studio in West…

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6 New Children's Books Celebrating Juneteenth!

We have some new books about Juneteenth to recommend! Last year our similar  blog post suggested new titles that had been published and added to our collection. Here are some more to add to your reading list! A Flag for…

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Honoring Juneteenth at the Free Library

Honor Juneteenth with the Free Library of Philadelphia! This year, we celebrate Juneteenth for the third time as a federal holiday, but it has been an important celebration for nearly 200 years! Juneteenth is the oldest known…

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"La femme noir" by Philadelphia's Youth Poet Laureate, Telicia Darius

The City of Philadelphia in conjunction with the Free Library administered the title of Youth Poet Laureate to Telicia Darius in September 2022. This civic position recognizes an exceptional poet who also demonstrates a commitment to…

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Celebrating Black Voices with the Free Library Podcast

It’s Black History Month and the Free Library has an extensive archive of podcasts and videos to help you celebrate a diverse range of writers working in politics, fiction, food, poetry, religion, memoirs, sports, and much more.…

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Picture Book Highlights | Black History Month

This February as we celebrate Black History Month, we want to recommend some pictures books published in 2022 that were written and/or illustrated by Black creators. In the following list, you’ll find books about self-love and…

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Six Upcoming Black History Month Author Events at the Free Library

February is Black History Month and, as we do throughout the year, the Free Library’s Author Events series is excited to celebrate diverse voices, viewpoints, and topics. This includes the story of one Black Philadelphian…

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Black History Month for Kids and Families

Welcome to Black History Month! The theme of this year’s annual celebration is Black Resistance , an acknowledgement of the continued fight against historic and on-going oppression. Join the Free Library to celebrate Black…

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New Titles Coming to the Free Library in February!

It may be chilly outside, but the Free Library has some titles to warm you up this month! Young Children (up to 2nd Grade) You So Black by Theresa Tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.  Based on Theresa Wilson’s (a.k.a. Theresa…

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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…

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