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African American History Month @ the Library

February 05, 2015

The Library provides an abundance of materials and resources for your use during African American History Month in February, from print books to DVDs to streaming videos.

A good place to start would be the streaming video series “A History of Black Achievement in America.” This 8-part series from Ambrose Digital, hosted by the actor James Avery, documents the achievements of African Americans, defining their role in the growth of the country and their influence on current events.

Documents the history and achievements of African Americans from their arrival as slaves in the American colonies through their participation in the fight for American independence. Highlights the contributions of a number of Black Americans who helped settle the New World and who fought for liberty and their individual freedom.

Highlights the contributions of Black men and women who fought for equality and civil rights, documenting their participation in slave revolts, abolitionist movements and the Underground Railroad. Profiles include Benjamin Banneker, James Beckwourth, Lemuel Haynes, Denmark Vesey, and Harriet Tubman. Also documents the founding of the African Grove Theatre.

Examines the contributions of Black men and women who advocated for civil rights, desegregation, and equality before the law. Highlights include the speech of Sojourner Truth, the writings of Frederick Douglass, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the Dred Scott decision, African American participation in the Civil War, and equal rights amendments.

Profiles the lives and contributions of Black men and women who embraced their freedom as citizens of the United States and continued to work for racial equality and social reform. Highlights include the formation of the Tuskegee Institute by Booker T. Washington, the inventions of Granville T. Woods, and Ida Wells-Barnett protests against the lynching of Blacks. Also documents the Plessy v. Ferguson decision upholding segregation.

Profiles the talents and contributions of Black men and women who overcame racial inequalities and succeeded in the areas of education, the arts and music, and professional sports. Highlights include the founding of the NAACP, Henson’s discovery of the North Pole, the Harlem Renaissance and the Negro Baseball League.

Highlights the talents and contributions of Black men and women who excelled in amateur and professional sports, the performing arts and military leadership. Features Jesse Owens’ success at the 1936 Olympics in Germany, countering Hitler’s philosophy of white supremacy. Also profiles the first African American actress to win an Oscar, Duke Ellington’s performance at Carnegie Hall and the desegregation of the Army during World War II.

Profiles the contributions of Black men and women who worked for civil rights and racial equality. Examines discrimination in education and the outcome of the Brown v. Board of Education case. Highlights the accomplishments of such individuals as Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rosa Parks, Althea Gibson, Lorraine Hansberry, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reviews how the accomplishments of courageous and successful Black men and women have greatly influenced American society. This program profiles the success and contributions of such contemporary individuals as Thurgood Marshall, Alex Haley, Colin Powell, and Neil deGrasse.

You will also find materials on the Civil Rights Movement, including another Ambrose Digital series: A History of Civil Rights in America, which offers a comprehensive historical overview detailing the expansion of civil rights to include more people.

Films on Demand offers a series of streaming videos from the PBS television program, American ExperienceEyes on the Prize. This 14-episode series, originally broadcast in 1987 (season 1) and 1990 (season 2), provides another history of the civil rights movement in America. The series is also available on a 7-disc set in Media (DVD 2711).

If you would rather read an ebook on the Movement you might try Lay bare the heart : an autobiography of the civil rights movement, by Texas native James Farmer. Farmer is one of the “Big Four” of the turbulent 1960s civil rights movement, along with Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young. He might be called the forgotten man of the movement, overshadowed by Martin Luther King Jr., who was deeply influenced by Farmer’s interpretation of Gandhi’s concept of nonviolent protest. [You can also check out the print book (Second Floor Stacks, E185.97.F37 A35 1985).]

There is a Credo Reference ebook on civil rights that you can use: Freedom facts and firsts : 400 years of the African American civil rights experience.


Here are some tips on using RamCat to find materials on topics and people related to African American History Month:

While you will find streaming videos from Ambrose Digital and Films on Demand when searching RamCat, you can also choose to go to the Films on Demand website and search there, as well. From the Library Databases ‘F’ web page, choose Films on Demand. You may have to log in to the proxy server first, but once you’re there, you can type “African American” into the search box at the top of screen. If you choose to leave the choice on “Segments” you will see a list similar to this one, below. Make your choice and view the video.


                                                                                                                                  Happy viewing!