Celebrating Black History, Art and Culture this February at the Library

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

February is Black History Month

#Celebrating Black Artists and History Makers

Every February, Black History Month prompts us all to learn from and about our history. It is also a time to celebrate the historical, artistic, culinary, scientific, and other achievements of Black Americans. Sometimes known as Black History and Futures Month, it also affords us the chance to uplift contemporary Black creators and Black leaders in their ongoing work in the fight for racial justice. 

Jacksonville Public Library has an AMAZING collection of books featuring stories and information written by and about people from varied backgrounds, races, ethnicities, life experiences, and viewpoints. Throughout the month, the Library will highlight books in our collection by and about people in the African American community including here on our blog, through book displays in your local library, and via reading challenges for all ages on Beanstack. The Library and our Friends Groups also have several events and programs planned, starting on February 1.

#Events and Programs

A Place for All People: Smithsonian Poster Exhibit

A Place for All PeopleFrom the child-size shackles of a slave and the clothing worn by Carolotta Walls on her first day at Little Rock Central High School to Chuck Berry’s Gibson guitar, “Maybellene,” and the track shoes worn by Olympian Carl Lewis, the exhibition presents a living history that reflects challenge, triumph, faith, and hope.

Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Friends of the Brentwood Public Library, Inc. in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, “A Place for All People” highlights key artifacts that tell the rich and diverse story of the African American experience.

The exhibit runs through February at the Brentwood Branch Library.

  • Grand Opening and Reception
    • Thursday, February 1, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
  • 124th Anniversary of Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing: A Place for All People Symposium
    • Saturday, February 24, at 12:30 p.m.

"The poster exhibition and related public programs are an opportunity for The Friends of the Brentwood Public Library to showcase its work in sharing the many stories of African American and African diaspora people and their contributions to the local community and the American story," said Sharon Coon, founder, chair and longtime Friends of the Brentwood Public Library member.

History Chat with Jerry Urso

History Chat: Captain James W. Floyd with Jerry UrsoSaturday, February 10, at 2:30 p.m., learn about the exciting life of Captain James W. Floyd with historian Jerry Urso, live on the Fourth Floor of the Main Library* (Ansbacher Map Room). Urso is the Grand Historian of the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of Florida. His subject, Captain James W. Floyd, was a celebrated (and decorated) hero of the Spanish-American War, a business owner, and a civil rights activist from Jacksonville.

Register for the History Chat!

*While you’re on the fourth floor of the Main Library, be sure to check out the display for Harlem Renaissance sculptor (and Green Cove Springs native) Augusta Savage, which includes a rare painted terra cotta bust. A mural based on her famed “lost sculpture” The Harp can also be seen on the corner of Monroe and Hogan Streets, across from James Weldon Johnson Park (one block west of the Library).  

Black Voices: A Celebration of Local Authors 

Black History Month: A Celebration of Local AuthorsThe Friends of Bradham and Brooks Library invite you to the Bradham and Brooks Branch Library on Monday, February 12, from 6 - 7:30 p.m. for an evening centered on local Black voices who explore the themes of love, hope, and resilience. If you're hoping to cross "A book by a Jacksonville author" off your Jax Stacks Reading Challenge bookmark this year, this might be a great opportunity to get recommendations!  

Jacksonville, Florida, is the home of many talented writers. If you haven't, you should check out our Local Author Collection. And if you are a local author, learn how to submit your work!

Junior Lit Chat with Brittany JonesJunior Lit Chat Author Talk with Brittany D. Jones on Saturday, February 17, from 1-2 p.m. live at the Main Library. Spend time with author Brittany Jones as she talks about her brand-new book, Mike the Friendly Firefighter: The Wild Car Fire, based on real-life Jacksonville firefighter, Mike Freeland! The first 50 children in attendance will receive a FREE copy of Mike the Friendly Firefighter: The Wild Car Fire, along with some other goodies! This event is intended for kids ages 5-12.

Register now!

Screening Room: Just Another Bombing?

Screening Room logoReleased in 2024 by Hal Jacobs, Just Another Bombing?: This is Donal and Iona's Story takes audiences on a poignant journey through a little-known incident of the 1960s Civil Rights era. Iona Godfrey King and her son Donal Godfrey share their deeply moving account of surviving the Klan bombing of their home with three other family members on February 16, 1964, in Jacksonville, Fla. Watch and discuss Thursday, February 22, from 4 - 5:30 p.m. at Murray Hill Branch Library.

Register now!

Note: After the screening, guest speakers Donal Godfrey, Hal Jacobs, and Iona Godfrey King will talk about the film. This program is presented by the Friends of the Bill Brinton Murray Hill Library.


#Book Recommendations

We love to share selections that demonstrate the range of our collection all year and we encourage you to explore these books with us this month!


Little Learners (ages 0-5)



Elementary Age (ages 6-10)



Middle Grades (ages 11-14)



Teens (ages 15-18)





Let's get DUUUVAL reading!

Are you participating in Mayor Deegan's River City Readers challenge? Through the Beanstack app, children and their caregivers will be able to log their reading minutes with an individual goal of reading at least 20 minutes per day, and a citywide goal of reading 300,000 minutes over the next 365 days. At the end of the year, the city’s top young readers will be given prizes!

Join the Challenge

  1. Go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Download and open the Beanstack Tracker app.
  2. You can also register and log your reading minutes on the Beanstack website at https://jaxpl.beanstack.com.
  3. Using the Find a Site search bar, type Jax Library or River City Readers