Black Lives Matter

The #BlackLivesMatter movement began in 2013 after a jury acquitted the armed civilian who murdered seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin. Though activists and organizers have resisted the long history of police and state-sanctioned violence against Black people in the United States since the first police force formed in the 1830s, the police killings in 2014 and 2015 of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and Philando Castile galvanized #BlackLivesMatter into an international movement protesting police brutality and the larger social structures built on anti-Black racism.

Following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the #BlackLivesMatter protests of 2020 have become the largest social movement in the history of the United States, as tens of millions of people demand an end to systemic racism, white supremacy, and anti-Black violence.

Free Library staff have compiled these lists of books, films, educational resources, organizations, blog posts, historical documents, and images to provide context and connections in support of #BlackLivesMatter.

Image courtesy of Bryan Collier from his book "I, Too, Am America" by Langston Hughes and Bryan Collier.

Black Lives Matter

Links

  • "America’s Racial Contract Is Killing Us" by Adam Serwer | Atlantic (May 8, 2020)

    The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying. The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others.
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia

    ?The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first institution built by a major United States city to house and interpret the life and work of African Americans. Our doors are open for your enjoyment and enlightenment. Visit us and experience the richness and vibrancy of African American heritage and culture come alive in four magnificent exhibition galleries filled with exciting history and fascinating art.
  • Anti-bias Education - A Selection of Children's Books for Each Topic

    A list of children's picture books that have been selected as companions to each of the chapters in the new Anti-bias Education book.
  • Black Lives Matter

    The Official website for the Black Lives Matter Movement. This page can also connect you to the local Philadelphia chapter.
  • Black Stories Matter

    Black Stories Matter incorporates true storytelling to speak truth to power and to dismantle the white supremacist systems that hold racism in place. We support and amplify Black voices, share resources, and inspire anti-racist action. We acknowledge the historical predominance of white-centered narratives that permeate the cultural, political, and policy conversations in this country, and seek to elevate the full spectrum of Black experience to its proper place within the realm of American discourse. Black Stories Matter provides Black-led true storytelling workshops where Black folks can write about, share, and reflect upon their experiences without having to justify, explain, or defend the truth of their lived experiences. The culminating content -- written stories, live storytelling performances, videos, and podcasts -- is accessible to an all-inclusive audience. We pair our storytelling media with strategic tools to inspire deep introspection, a willingness to transform oneself, and take bold action to end systemic racism. Black Stories Matter supports and is aligned with the mission of Black Lives Matter.
  • Black Writers Museum

    The mission of the Black Writers Museum is to provide a venue and forum for the public to explore, celebrate, and experience the wonders of writing and reading through the exhibition and study of Black Literature. Our mission is to inspire and cultivate another generation of writers, public speakers and literary giants that will tell the story of history as seen through their eyes and expressed in their vernacular.
  • Black Youth Project 100

    Founded in 2013, BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100) is a member-based organization of Black youth activists creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We mobilize through building a network focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy, and education. Our membership core believes in the principles of decision-making, radical inclusivity, and is building a Black politic through a Black, queer, feminist lens. Our work is generally centered on ending systems of anti-Blackness and emphasizing the urgency of protecting folks living on the margins of the margins, including women, girls, femmes, and the gamut of LGBTQ folk. We approach our work through relational organizing which involves community building through a democratic and consensus-building process. We stress training in grassroots organizing, fundraising, public policy debate, and electoral organizing. Lastly, we engage in digital content creation (video, graphics, blogging), political education, and consciousness-raising.
  • Campaign Zero

    An offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement, Campaign Zero’s agenda is ending police violence by focusing on research and policy solutions for elected representatives.
  • Chronicling Resistance

    A project of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries, in partnership with the Free Library, Chronicling Resistance amplifies 300+ years of resistance in the archives of Philadelphia’s special collections libraries, while preserving records of today’s acts of resistance.
  • Equal Justice Initiative

    The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
  • Free Library Author Events Social Justice YouTube Playlist

    Video playlist of Social Justice-themed Author Events that have taken place at Free Library.
  • Free Library Inclusivity Statement

    The Free Library of Philadelphia is a welcoming, safe, and inclusive space for all members of the public. The programs and services at each of our 54 libraries are available for people of every age, ethnicity, race, religion, and sexual orientation, and for those across all economic, social, and political spectrums.
  • Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE)

    The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.
  • IssueLab: Race and Policing

    IssueLab has compiled a collection of research by universities, non-profits, and foundations on race and law-enforcement.
  • Juvenile Law Center

    Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems.
  • Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery

    “Lest We Forget” –Museum of Slavery, founded 2002 is home to the private Ragsdale collection of slavery artifacts, Bill of Sale documents and Jim Crow memorabilia owned by J. Justin & Gwen Ragsdale. The exhibit includes authentic slave shackles, chains, whips, branding irons and other items that were used for human bondage and punishment. It also includes numerous objects from the Jim Crow era that negatively depict Blacks. This compelling collection truly brings history alive and provides a better understanding of the pain and suffering endured by kidnapped Africans brought to America and other parts of the world and held in bondage for hundreds of years.
  • Monument Lab

    Monument Lab is a Philadelphia-based public art and history studio that cultivates and facilitates critical conversations around the past, present, and future of monuments.
  • Movement Alliance Project

    MAP connects communities and builds power for working families. We run strategic campaigns, lift up untold stories, and build infrastructure for the most vibrant community organizations in Philadelphia and around the country to win lasting power and a just society.
  • 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 Urban League

    The National Urban League is a historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization with 90 affiliates serving 300 communities, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than two million people nationwide.
  • New York Times Obituary of Marsha P. Johnson

    A transgender pioneer and activist who was a fixture of Greenwich Village street life.
  • Oakland Public Library - Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice: A List for Parents, Caregivers, and Educators

    A list of titles, digital resources, and videos compiled by the Oakland Public Library system
  • 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
  • Pennsylvania Online Voter Registration

    Make a difference in your community by helping to chose our elected officials.
  • Philadelphia Student Union

    The Philadelphia Student Union exists to build the power of young people to demand a high-quality education in the Philadelphia public school system. We are a youth-centered organization and we make positive changes in the short term by learning how to organize to build power. We also work toward becoming life-long learners and leaders who can bring diverse groups of people together to address the problems that our communities face.
  • Philly We Rise

    Philly We Rise is a call to action. In these challenging times we all need to do our part to defend and expand the rights of our communities. Share this page and take action on your block, in your neighborhood, in your community, for the country we all deserve. Philly We Rise is independent of any political party or affiliation.
  • PhillyCounts 2020

    Information about the 2020 Census, which determines political representation and federal funding for Philadelphia.
  • 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.
  • Racial Equity Tools

    Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.
  • Reaching Reluctant Readers Blog - Black Lives Matter. Brown Lives Matter. Poor People Matter: Books to Increase Awareness of the Cycles of Poverty, Race, and Incarceration

    The focus of Reaching Reluctant Readers Blog is to identify books for "urban" teens of color that are primarily reluctant readers.
  • 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.
  • TeacherServe's Freedom's Story: Teaching African American Literature and History

    TeacherServe® is a curriculum enrichment service offering teachers practical help in planning courses and presenting rigorous subject matter to students.
  • Teaching Tolerance - Teaching About Race, Racism, and Police Violence

    The Teaching Tolerance blog is a place where educators who care about diversity, equity, and justice can find news, suggestions, conversation, and support.
  • 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 Colored Girls Museum

    The Colored Girls Museum is a memoir museum, which honors the stories, experiences, and history of ordinary Colored Girls. This museum initiates the object—submitted by the colored girl herself, as representative of an aspect of her story and personal history, which she finds meaningful; her object embodies her experience and expression of being a Colored Girl. The Colored Girls Museum is headquartered in the historic neighborhood of Germantown in Philadelphia, an area renowned for its compliment of historic buildings and homes.
  • 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 Papers of Alice Dunbar Nelson

    From the University of Delaware, includes correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, manuscripts, periodicals, clippings, photographs, organizational papers, theatrical and literary ephemera, family documents, and memorabilia on the life of Alice Dunbar Nelson.
  • Urban League of Philadelphia

    Our mission is to empower African Americans and other underserved people to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. The mission is defined by the ABC’s: Advocacy & Policy Business & Talent Diversity Community & Economic Development
  • We Need Diverse Books

    We Need Diverse Books™ is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
  • Who Designed the March on Washington? Bayard Rustin

    If you had been a bus captain en route to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, you would have known who its organizing genius was, and you wouldn’t have been surprised to see his picture on the cover of Life magazine a week later. Yet of all the leaders of the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin lived and worked in the deepest shadows, not because he was a closeted gay man, but because he wasn’t trying to hide who he was. That, combined with his former ties to the Community Party, was considered to be a liability.

Black Lives Matter - Streaming Films by explore

Films and Series available to stream on Kanopy

View the full list

Black Lives Matter - Adults by explore

A book list that explores topics discussed within the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

View the full list

Black Lives Matter - Teens (41 items)

A list of books for teens that addresses issues discussed by the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Black Lives Matter - Middle School (30 items)

A selection of books for middle school students that touch on themes found in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Black Lives Matter - Elementary School (88 items)

A list of books to help parents and caregivers discuss the #BlackLivesMatter movement with children. It's never too early to talk about equality! Please note: some titles may appear multiple times in different formats: print, ebook and/or audiobook.

Blog Posts

Join Our New YA and Adult Multicultural Book Club!

Are you interested in reading new authors? Are you looking for a safe place to discuss literature and culture? Then this book club is for you! The YA / Adult Multicultural Book Club has a focus on authors of color and expanding cultural…

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Black History. Black News. Black Voices.

The Free Library is pleased to announce a new digital resource that provides access to the most distinguished African American Newspapers in the United States. Cardholders now have access to 10 historic Black newspapers that help piece…

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Discover Black Folk Musicians

Although many people associate the term "folk music" with white musicians like Pete Seeger , there is a long tradition in the United States of Black folk musicians. In fact, without the spirituals sung by enslaved people, the…

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Race in the United States: Social Justice Virtual Workshops for Teens

Updated Friday, July 10, 2020 4:59 p.m. "The Social Justice Symposium Teen Planning Committee supports the Concerned Black Workers of the Free Library of Philadelphia ! CBWFLP Response to DEI/Board of Trustees' letter We are…

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There's More to #BlackLivesMatter Than Booklists

Right now, it seems like everyone is reading books about race. The New York Times  bestsellers list is currently made up almost entirely of books about race and racism, with the "big three" taking the top spots: How to Be…

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George Washington Carver: Inventor, Environmentalist, Mentor, and Role Model

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of…

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Juneteenth Matters

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, and he had an announcement to make. More than two years before, President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The Civil…

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Picture ebook Highlights | Celebrating Juneteenth!

Philadelphia's Mayor Kenney has declared Friday, June 19, 2020 a City holiday in recognition of Juneteenth! Juneteenth is the most popular annual celebration of Emancipation, and commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when Union…

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Pride, Black Lives Matter, and Solidarity

by Kalela W. and Andrew N. Celebrate Pride by standing up against racism. Black lives Matter. freelibrary.org/pride Fifty years ago, in June 1970, LGBTQ+ people in cities across the United States took to the streets in protest. They…

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The Free Library Stands Against Racism

Dear Free Library community, We are enraged and heartbroken.  The murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police—and the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among many others—has once again…

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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…

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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…

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QUEST : Our City, Our Times, and a Family Bound by Love

I’m a transplant from The West—the Great Plains to be more specific: A vast under-watered area covering parts of 10 states. Picture a lonely landscape of farms, ranches, and open skies dotted with small towns populated with…

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Second Annual Social Justice Symposium Wrap Up

A little over a week ago, on the same day that a hate-fueled gathering was taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia, a group of teenagers was gathering at a small library in Philadelphia to talk about combating hate. The Philadelphia…

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Talking about Racism with Middle Schoolers

Children will be returning to school in a few weeks. For middle schoolers, this means new teachers (and possibly new schools), new backpacks, and new school supplies. It also opens up the possibility of new questions for caregivers.…

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Resources for Responding to Hate

As adults, it’s our job to help the children in our lives make sense of the world around them. After the events in Charlottesville this past weekend, and events around the country in recent months, there seems to be more need than…

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Reflections on Education and Race

Earlier this year, J. Matthew Catron, a Library Assistant in Phibrick Hall at  Parkway Central Library came to the Education, Philosophy, and Religion Department with a pitch: to bring Dr. Sheena Howard and her film Remixing…

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Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin

Every parent's worst nightmare is something bad happening to their child. For Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, that nightmare became a reality when their 17-year-old son, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on…

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Tackling Tough Topics in Classroom Conversation

How can literacy be used for social change? At the recent International Literacy Association conference in Boston, this question was addressed at an impromptu session for literacy specialists and coaches. Recent tragedies, such as the…

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