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Black History Month Curated Resource Guide | A photo of a white wall and wood floor with framed portrait illustrations of historic Black icons

Black History Month

February is Black History Month (also known as African American History Month). This annual celebration highlights the people, events, and histories of the Black community in the United States and internationally.

Half a century after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in September 1915. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the organization focused on researching and promoting the achievements of Black Americans and others from the African diaspora. The group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926 during the second week of February to coincide with Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. The celebration gained popularity by the late 1960s, and in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford, Jr. officially recognized Black History Month nationally.

To recognize and celebrate this month, CEHHS curated a list of resources centering Black voices and stories. These resources are available through the UT Library and online.

African Americans and the Arts

The 2024 Black History Month theme is African Americans and the Arts.
African American art, rooted in a fusion of African, Caribbean, and Black American experiences, spans various cultural expressions such as visual arts, literature, music, and more. Artists have employed their craft to preserve history, empower communities, and lead influential movements like the New Negro, Black Arts, and Afrofuturism. Despite historical denial, there’s an unbroken chain of Black art production from antiquity, evidenced in the sweetgrass basket making tradition and the birth of spirituals during enslavement. The Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, and the emergence of hip-hop in the Bronx further propelled Black artistic contributions on a global stage. Afrofuturism envisions a liberated future for Black people, seen in works by musicians, writers, and visual artists. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) marks its 98th Annual Black History Theme by highlighting the richness of African Americans in the arts, acknowledging the past, present, and anticipating future impacts in the twenty-first century.

Learn more about this year’s theme through the ASALH website.

Black Voices

The resources below feature some of the voices in the Black community through different media formats. Bolded resources signify those written/created by Black individuals.

An African American and Latinx History of the United States | Physical Book – Paul Ortiz

A Black Women’s History of the United States | E-Book – Daina Berry and Kali Gross

Four Hundred Souls | Physical Book – Ibram X. Kendi (Ed.) and Keisha Blain (Ed.)

How the Word Is Passed | Physical Book – Clint Smith

The Warmth of Other Suns | Physical Book – Isabel Wilkerson

African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song | Poetry – Kevin Young (Ed.)

Call Us What We Carry | Poetry – Amanda Gorman

James Baldwin: Collected Essays | Essays – James Baldwin

Wandering in Strange Lands | Essays – Morgan Jerkins

The Yellow House | Memoir – Sarah Broom

Americanah | Physical Book – Chimamanda Adichie

Felix Ever After | Physical Book – Kacen Callender

Love in Colour | Physical Book – Bolu Babalola

The Nickel Boys | Physical Book – Colson Whitehead

The Vanishing Half | Physical Book – Brit Bennett

Code Switch | National Public Radio

Historically Black | American Public Media

The Read | Kid Fury and Crissle

The Secret Adventures of Black People | Nichole Hill

The Stoop | Hana Baba and Leila Day

Updated February 2024 by Miranda N. Rutan, Doctoral Student, CEHHS A&E, UT Knoxville | Curated February 2022 by Miranda N. Rutan, Doctoral Student, CEHHS A&E, UT Knoxville