black history

Celebrating Black History and Imagining a Better Future

Black History and Futures Month

Black History Month is a celebration of the achievements and contributions of Black individuals and a reminder to us all that to learn from and about our history. Black Futures Month takes a forward-looking spin, focusing on uplifting contemporary Black creators and leaders and the ongoing work of racial justice. Both are observed in February. Throughout the month, the Library will highlight books in our collection by and about people in the African American community. Check a few of these out below and join us at one of our Kids and Teens programs, with themes and stories in celebration of Black History (and Black Futures) Month.

Meet NYT Bestselling Author Kwame Alexander

Lit Chat: An American Story Author Talk with Kwame Alexander and Dare Coulter

How do you talk to kids about slavery? In the new book, An American Story, New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander's unparalleled poetry combines with debut illustrator Dare Coulter's singular art to present a sweeping account of our country's founding. They'll join us, as part of their book tour, for an interview with Jacksonville's own Rahman Johnson to talk about how they put this book together and what they want readers to take away from it. The book and this interview program are intended for middle and high schoolers, educators, parents, and caregivers.

10 Children's Books Honoring Juneteenth

Books to honor Juneteenth

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day or Black Independence Day, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 since 1865 in various parts of the country. Juneteenth became an official federal holiday on June 17, 2021. If you’re attending your first Juneteenth jubilee or looking for ways to celebrate, check out this booklist!

Jacksonville's First Black Lawyer

Joseph E. Lee, Jacksonville's first black lawyer

Joseph E. Lee is a prominent figure in Jacksonville history. He holds the distinction of having been the City's first Black lawyer as well as having left a legacy of commitment to public service and community. Jacksonville Public Library was recently able to digitize an extensive collection of Joseph E. Lee's professional and personal correspondence, dating from 1877 – 1882. These papers help paint a clearer picture of the man and his accomplishments.

Black History Month 2022

Black History Month

Black History Month (or African American History Month) is celebrated annually in February. It was first created by historian Carter G. Woodson as a week-long event in 1926. Encompassing the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, it highlighted the many achievements that had been made by Black Americans since emancipation. Whether you’re looking for fictional characters or real-life heroes who look like you or you want to learn more about history, the Library has some great options!

Books to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Books to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister and social activist who led the Civil Rights Movement from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His skillful rhetoric, iconic speeches, grassroots organizing and nonviolent approach to resistance were fundamental to that movement’s success in ending legal segregation in the United States. To learn more about the man and the federal holiday that honors his achievements, check out these biographies, speeches and documentaries.

Zora Neale Hurston's Birthday

Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was born on January 7, 1891. After her mother’s death in 1904, Hurston relocated from Central Florida to Jacksonville where she grew, lived, worked, played and loved in Florida’s largest city. A central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, her work celebrated African American culture in the rural South.

Rosa Parks Day

Rosa Parks Day 2021

Rosa Parks was arrested and charged with violating Montgomery’s segregation law on December 1, 1955, an act that would kick start the Montgomery bus boycott. "I had given up my seat before, but this day, I was especially tired. Tired from my work as a seamstress, and tired from the ache in my heart,” Parks would later say. If you have been inspired by Rosa Park’s story to take a stand in your own life or if you would like to learn more about her or other civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Library has a few suggested reads!

Books on Juneteenth, Freedom, and the Black Experience

Youth

Teen

Adult

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates date in 1865 – nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation – when the last of the enslaved communities in Texas learned the Civil War had ended and that they were free. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a combination of June and nineteenth and has become a celebration of independence, the fight for equality, and Black culture.

Pages

Get a Library Card

Jacksonville Public Library card

Read Jax logo