February is Black History Month


What is Black History Month

It all began with “Negro History Week (which) was commemorated during the second week of February 1926 to highlight the outstanding accomplishments of African Americans and to call attention to their history. The concept was most vigorously promoted by Carter G. Woodson, the initiator of the observance. This week was selected to coincide with the birthdates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. This week-long activity’s primary purpose, according to Woodson, was “to stage dramatizations and other exercises in order to demonstrate the role of the Negro in the past and secure for the race the same considerations in the curriculum that we give others.” During the peak years of the civil rights era and to the mid-1970s, an increasing demand was made by a wide cross-section of the African-American community to extend the celebration period. This led to expanding the observance to all four weeks of February, which then became Black History Month.” quote from Philips, Glenn O. “Negro History Week.” Encyclopedia of African-American Civil Rights . Westport: Greenwood Press, 1992, p.394-395.

The Black History Month exhibit is located on the 1st floor of the library.

Books

Booker T. Washington: the making of a Black leader, 1856-1901

by Louis R. Harlan (call number E185.97 .W4 H37)

“In searching for the dominant ethos of the secretive, sometimes contradictory Alabama educator who became a black power broker for the nation, one discerns pre-eminently a business man– down to the last henhouse joke he told at the fundraising dinner. Good segregated race relations was good business. Civil rights bills were less important than “throw[ing] our force to making a business man of the negro.” While other black leaders have idealistically cried, ” Let My People Go,” “Up Ye Mighty Race,” and “I Have a Dream,” Washington pragmatically counseled, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” Rather than denounce the outrages inflicted on his people, Washington characteristically took the dollars and cents approach. If Negroes were lynched in the winter, he said, people could not expect to have reliable labor in the summer. Washington was nothing if not a realist.” Cheek, William. Review of Booker T. Washington: The Making of a Black Leader, 1865-1901, by Louis R. Harlan. American Historical Review 79 (December 1974): 1634.

First freedom: the responses of Alabama’s Blacks to Emancipation and Reconstruction

by Peter Kolchin (call number E185.93A3 K64)

“This intrusive case study of Alabama blacks during the first half decade following the Civil War centers not on the actions of whites toward the freedmen but on the ways in which the Negroes themselves responded to emancipation. Consisting of a series of chapters on migration, the black family, education, churches, class structure and politics the book presents data demonstrating that the freedmen displayed a vigorous independence and played a vital role in shaping the character of the Reconstruction experience and of the postwar black community. Thus, for example, sharecropping developed largely because the former slaves preferred it to a wage system, and despite the demoralizing effects of slavery black family life assumed a stable patriarchal character…First Freedom is a welcome addition to the growing number of studies approaching Reconstruction in  the South from the perspective of the black experience.” Meier, August. Review of First Freedom: The Responses of Alabama’s Blacks to Emancipation and Reconstruction, by Peter Kolchin. American Historical Review 78 (December 1973): 1535.

Three Negro classics: Up from slavery. The souls of black folk. The autobiography of an ex-colored man.

Introduction by John Hope Franklin (call number E185.97 .W278)

UP FROM SLAVERY

“The autobiography of Booker T Washington is a startling portrait of one of the great Americans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The illegitimate son of ‘a white man and a Negro slave, Washington, a man who struggled for his education, would go on to struggle for the dignity of all his people in a hostile and alien society.”

THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK

“W.E.B. DuBois’s classic is a major sociological document and one of the momentous books in the mosaic of American literature. No other work has had greater influence on black thinking, and nowhere is the African-American’s unique heritage and his kinship with all men so passionately described.”

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EX-COLORED MAN

“Originally published anonymously, James Weldon Johnson’s penetrating work is a remarkable human account of the life of black Americans in the early twentieth century and a profound interpretation of his feelings towards the white man and towards members of his own race. No other book touches with such understanding and objectivity on the phenomenon once called “passing” in a white society.

These three narratives, gathered together in Three Negro Classics chronicle the remarkable evolution of African-American consciousness on both a personal and social level. Profound, intelligent, and insightful, they are as relevant today as they have ever been.The Autobiography of Booker T. Washington is a startling portrait of one of the great Americans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.The illegitimate son of a white man and a Negro slave, Washington, a man who struggled for his education, would go on to struggle for the dignity of all his people in a hostile and alien society.W.E.B. DuBois’s classic is a major sociological document and one of the momentous books in the mosaic of American literature.No other work has had greater influence on black thinking, and nowhere is the African-American’s unique heritage and his kinship with all men so passionately described.Originally published anonymously, James Weldon Johnson’s penetrating work is a remarkable human account of the life of black Americans in the early twentieth century and a profound interpretation of his feelings towards the white man and towards members of his own race.No other book touches with such understanding and objectivity on the phenomenon once called “passing” in a white society.These three narratives, gathered together in Three Negro Classics, chronicle the remarkable evolution of African-American consciousness on both a personal and social level.Profound, intelligent, and insightful, they are as relevant today as they have ever been.”

Synopsis:

“Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington, The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois, and The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson–these three narratives, gathered together here, chronicle the remarkable evolution of African-American consciousness on both a personal and social level. Profound, intelligent, and insightful, they are as relevant today as they have ever been.”
Synopsis and Reviews found at Powell’s Books website and provided by publisher Avon Books  http://www.powells.com/biblio?show=MASS%20MARKET:USED:9780380015818:3.95#synopses_and_reviews

Read the first page of Chapter 1 at Amazon.com

Parish boundaries: the Catholic encounter with race in the twentieth-century urban North

by John T. McGreevy (call number E185.912 .M38 1996)

“An account of how the Catholic Church in urban areas, with its largely ethnic parishes, responded to American racism and the ferment of the civil rights movement. Throughout most of this century, McGreevy (History/Harvard) asserts, Catholic parishes, with their distinctive emphasis on geographical boundaries, constituted a unique combination of educational, religious, and social communities, representing a specifically Catholic style of merging neighborhood and region.” Catholics arriving in America gravitated to areas in which there were Catholic churches, and the neighborhoods developed a clear, intense ethnic identity that did not easily admit outsiders. McGreevy concentrates on the period between WW I, when the Catholic system of parishes and schools aggressively expanded into every section of the cities, and the early 1970s, when the system began to show signs of strain. He is especially interested in exploring how Catholics and African-Americans interacted with one another. There was, early on, clear Vatican impatience with the existence of separate Catholic institutions for blacks. A number of individuals in the Church were uneasy with the unintended results of the parish system: Jesuit John LaFarge worked for greater integration, as did the Federation of Coloured Catholics. Public figures like Bishop Sheen and Cardinal Spellman presented a vision of Catholicism as transcending national and racial boundaries. Many Catholics endorsed integration in principle but fiercely opposed upsetting the ethnic homeostasis of their own parishes. In the 1960s Catholics’ social consciousness was raised by the Second Vatican Council and the civil rights movement. But as the model of integration came to be questioned in the name of respect for diversity, liberal Catholics who had fought against the parish system were, paradoxically, faced with a crisis. For many, their religious affiliation seemed an obstacle that protected a discredited status quo. A thorough, sensitive, and balanced contribution. (photos, not seen)” (Review found in Books in Print database) Kirkus Reviews 19960301

Up from slavery

by Booker T. Washington (call number E185.97 .W4 A3 1995)

“Washington was an educator, founder of the renowned Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He advocated blacks advancing by mastery of vocational skills rather than by seeking civil rights and social equality–cooperation between the races playing an important part in his thinking. His autobiography traces his upward path from slavery.” (Review found in Books in Print database) Booklist 19900115

All-night party: the women of bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930

by Andrea Barnet (call number F128.5 .B26513 2004)

“Scholars of history and literature wrestle with questions of how to define modernity or modernism. These issues become even more complex when applied to US women and African Americans. Barnet’s brilliant study illuminates the lives of unconventional women such as Mina Loy, Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, Djuna Barnes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emma Goldman, Mabel Dodge, Marianne Moore, and Margaret Sanger in the focal period 1913-1930. However, Barnet does not limit her inquiry to the lives of white women only. She also examines African American women such as A’Lelia Walker, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Ethel Waters, suggesting that what these women, black and white, shared in common was their dissatisfaction with the limits of Victorian womanhood. As cultural pioneers, they chafed against a single definition of femininity and ultimately rebelled against tradition. Their choices began in negation, but place them closer to contemporary women than to their Victorian-era mothers, thus linking them to a modernist sensibility that treats art as an expression of the inner self and not merely the outer world. Richly illustrated with black and white photographs, this is an important contribution. ^B Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels and libraries. W. Glasker Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden” (Review found in Books in Print database) Choice 20041201

Websites

BlackPlanet.com

http://www.blackplanet.com/

Social networking site for African, African-Americans, and those of African descent.

NAACP

http://www.naacp.org/

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People goal is “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”

Southern Christian Leadership Council

http://www.sclcnational.org/net/content/page.aspx?s=25461.0.12.2607

This organization was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, and other important black figures of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces

This database has information on almost 35,000 slave voyages that occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries.  There a Voyages Database where you can search maps, charts, and other types of data. Search estimates of how many slaves were transported. Also, included is an African names database, that identifies over 67,000 Africans aboard slave ships, using name, age, gender, origin, and place of embarkation.

“For anyone interested in learning more about the transatlantic slave trade, this database is essential. It contains materials on ships, crews, slaves, and places of embarkation and landing. The database lists the names of ships, captains, number of crew and slaves, place where slaves were taken and landed, where they were sold, and if anything unusual happened during the voyage. It can be searched by just about any variable imaginable, including the number of crew deaths and the outcome of the voyage. It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive database on the subject. Originally distributed on CD-ROM, the database is now readily accessible online. It loads very quickly and is easy to understand. The authors and contributors are recognized authorities, including David Eltis and Herbert Klein (who began to collect the material in the 1960s); therefore, the information can be assumed to be reliable. The site provides links to other relevant sites and lesson plans for secondary school teachers on the slave trade. This is a unique site for its comprehensiveness and search features. Anyone studying slavery, from sixth grade through university instructors, will quickly find this site to be a necessity in their classroom. Undergraduate students will be using this database for a very long time. Summing Up: Essential. All audiences and libraries. — K. L. Gorman, Minnesota State University-Mankato” (Editors’ Picks February 2009. Choice, v.46, no. 06, February 2009.)


Black and white images of black historical figures at the top of this page are from http://www.isoe-online.com/News_110108c.html and http://www.larklane.com/D3webwork2007/MohammedAbuHassan/index.htm

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