Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fiction and Popular Nonfiction by Black Authors

If you'd like to read fiction or popular nonfiction by Black authors, the library has some good options to choose from. Below are just a few of them.


Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (format: paper) – In this Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction novella, Binti, the first of the Himba people to ever go off to space and attend the prestigious Oomza University, encounters angry and deadly aliens called Meduse. The Dick Smith Library also owns a copy of Okorafor’s Lagoon, a “first contact” sci-fi novel set in Lagos, Nigeria.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl (format: paper) – An alternate history steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo.

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology (format: paper) – This collection includes Lena Hart’s “Amazing Grace,” Kianna Alexander’s “Drifting to You,” Piper Huguley’s “A Sweet Way to Freedom,” and Alyssa Cole’s “Let It Shine.”

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (format: paper) – Walter Mosley’s first published book, a hardboiled mystery starring Easy Rawlins, a recently unemployed black war veteran who’s hired to find a young white woman.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (format: paper) – In this time travel novel, Dana, a modern black woman, finds herself traveling back and forth between her home in the present (1976) and a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation.

Beloved by Toni Morrison (format: paper | audiobook | e-book) – This Pulitzer Prize winning novel was inspired by the story of Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (format: e-book) – In this contemporary YA novel, Starr Carter witnesses a police officer kill her unarmed best friend.


Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince with Elaine DePrince (format: e-book) – The memoir of Michaela DePrince, a Sierra Leonean-American ballet dancer who currently dances as a soloist for the Dutch National Ballet.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (format: e-book) – This book, recently made into a movie, tells the story of the African American women mathematicians working at NASA, starting with World War II and continuing on through the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Space Race.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae (format: audiobook) – A collection of humorous essays, read by the author herself.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Four Recent Award Winners by African American Authors

At the recent announcement of the annual Youth Media Awards by the American Library Association (ALA), four books by African American authors won multiple awards during this African American History Month.  All of the books were honored by ALA's Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) with a Coretta Scott King (CSK) Author Book Award or Honor designation, given each year to African American authors of books for children and young adults that "demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values."

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, was an CSK Author Honor Book.  In addition, it also won the William C. Morris Debut Award, which honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens, and was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book for excellence in young adult literature.  Its audio version, narrated by actress Bahni Turpin, won the 2018 Odyssey Award as the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.  You can access an e-book version of this book in the Tarleton Libraries' OverDrive collection.  The novel is about a girl named Starr whose two worlds (predominantly-white prep school by day, low-income black neighborhood by night) collide when she witnesses the death of her unarmed friend by a police officer.

Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds, was a CSK Author Honor Book, a Printz Honor Book, and an Odyssey Honor Book, for the author's own narration in the audio format.  In addition, the novel was named a John Newbery Honor Book as a distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  Written in free verse, the book is the story of a 60-second elevator ride that changes the life of 15-year-old Will as he encounters people from his past when seeking to avenge the shooting death of his brother.  This book is being acquired for the Dick Smith Library Curriculum Collection on the lower level.

Crown:  An Ode to the Fresh Cut, written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James, received a Coretta Scott King honor in both the author and illustrator categories, and named a Newbery Honor Book.  It was also chosen as a Randolph Caldecott Honor Book for the artists of the most distinguished American picture books for children, for Gordon James' impressionistic oil illustrations.  This picture book is about an African American boy's visit to the barber shop.  This book is also being acquired for the Dick Smith Library Curriculum Collection on the lower level.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson, won the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award and was also a Newbery Honor Book.  The book is also on the 2018 Lone Star Reading List created by the Texas Library Association, with recreational reading recommendations for students in middle school, grades six, seven, and eight.  The novel is a coming-of-age tale about Jade, an artistic black teenage girl.  This book is also being acquired for the Dick Smith Library Curriculum Collection on the lower level.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

African-American Authors Win Library Association Awards

Jacqueline Woodson,
2012 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature
[24 Aug 2012] / Tulsa City-County Library /
The American Library Association (ALA) announced its annual Youth Media Awards on Monday, February 12, 2018, appropriately enough in Library Lovers Week!  And, fittingly for African American History Month, the three awards given to individuals for their body of work (and not a specific title) went to African American female authors.

Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of ALA, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award was first given to that author in 1954. The medal in bronze "honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children over the years." The award is presented every two years.

The 2018 winner is Jacqueline Woodson, who has written picture books, young adult novels, and a memoir in poetry, many of which have won other awards.

We have 15 titles by Jacqueline Woodson in Tarleton Libraries collections in Stephenville and Fort Worth and in our OverDrive e-book collection.

Eloise Greenfield, cropped from
  Hands on theFreedom Plow Book Talk
 [5 Oct 2010] / teachingforchange / CC BY-NC 2.0

Angela Johnson was named the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award, which "honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

The annual award, established in 1988, is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of ALA, and is sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author's work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world. 

We have 11 books by Angela Johnson in the Curriculum Collection on the lower level of the Dick Smith Library.


Eloise Greenfield won the 2018 Coretta Scott KingVirginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, named in memory of children’s author Virginia Hamilton.  It is presented in even years to an African American author, illustrator or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults, and who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution.  The award is sponsored by ALA's Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT), and the winner gets a medal and a check for $1,500.

We have 11 books that Greenfield authored or co-authored in the Dick Smith Library, ten children's books on the lower level, and a memoir in the stacks on the upper level.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet Our Student Workers: Shelby Wood

Meet Shelby!!

Shelby comes to us from a small town called Orange Grove, Texas and works at the Periodicals desk here in the library. We just love her! She is fun loving, kind, and always ready to help. We don't know what we would do without her!

Shelby is currently a Junior and is majoring Animal Science in the hopes of one day working on a cattle ranch. She is on the Leadership Team at the BSM and considers herself to be something of a nerd. She enjoys reading, playing paintball, sketching, and musicals (her favorites are Hamilton and the Greatest Showman). She is also very passionate about livestock animals (particularly cows) and knows a great deal about chickens!

Our student workers are always happy to help with any questions or issues you may be having here in the library, so if you ever need her, don't hesitate to ask!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

African American History Month

February is African American History Month. This is the time we recognize the experiences and contributions of Americans of African ancestry. The idea of celebrating African American history began in 1926 when the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) founded Negro History Week. Dr. Carter G. Woodson chose the week in February that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, President Gerald Ford proclaimed the first Black History Month, and it has been a month-long recognition ever since.
"Percent Black or African America, 2010" by Jon T. Kilpinen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
The 2010 census counted 42,020,743 African Americans in the United States. That represents 13.6% of the total population and a 15.4% increase since the 2000 census.

Timeline of African-American history
Click the links below to learn more about each topic. Many of these link to resources available through our subscription databases. If you are a Tarleton student, faculty, or staff you can access these resources from off-campus with your NTNET username and password. 

1527-39 After surviving the ill-fated Pánfilo de Narváez expedition, Estevanico (an enslaved African) led an expedition into present-day New Mexico on behalf of Spain in 1539.
"Estevanico, Negro Discoverer of the Southwest: A Critical Reexamination" in Phylon by Rayford W. Logan

1619 First record of African slaves brought to English North American colonies. Approximately twenty arrived in Jamestown, VA that year.
"Blacks in Virginia: A Note on the First Decade" in The William and Mary Quarterly by Alden T. Vaughan

1641 Mathias de Sousa (a freeman of African decent) was elected to the Maryland colonial assembly.

1655 Elizabeth Key, a slave of mixed African and English heritage, successfully won her freedom via a lawsuit in the Virginia Colony. In 1661, the Virginia colonial assembly (House of Burgesses) passed legislation to prevent other slaves from winning their freedom via this legal route.
"Dangerous Woman: Elizabeth Key's Freedom Suit: Subjecthood and Racialized Identity in Seventeenth Century Colonial Virginia" in Akron Law Review by Taunya Lovell Banks

1712 About two dozen slaves led a revolt in New York City.

1724 France enacted the Code Noir in its Louisiana colony. The first body of laws that governed both slaves and free blacks in North America.
"Colonial Intimacies: Legislating Sex in French Louisiana" in William & Mary Quarterly by Jennifer M. Spear

The Transatlantic Slave Trade began in the late 15th century and continued to the mid 19th century. It is estimated that 12 to 15 million Africans were enslaved and transported to the Americas during that time, and about half arrived in the 18th century. Approximately 7% of the total were brought to the area that is now the United States.
The African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450-1850 by Basil Davidson
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano
The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History by James A. Rawley
Stowage of the British slave ship Brookes under the regulated slave trade act of 1788. By Plymouth Chapter of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
1738 Beginning in 1693, Spain offered freedom to slaves who escaped from English colonies to Florida. In 1738, hundreds of escaped slaves established Fort Mose (also known as Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose) near St. Augustine. It was the first community of free blacks in North America.
"Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose: A Free Black Town in Spanish Colonial Florida" in The American Historical Review by Jane Landers

1739 The Stono Rebellion took place in South Carolina. It was the largest slave uprising in colonial America, with approximately 120 deaths. After suppressing the rebellion, the South Carolina colonial assembly responded by enacting the Slave Code of 1741. That law prevented slaves from growing their own food, assembling in groups, earning money, or learning to read and write.
Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 to the Stono Rebellion by Peter H. Wood
Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt by Mark M. Smith

1741 New York Slave Conspiracy - rumors of slaves plotting to burn the city caused panic among the white community. Thirty four people were executed for allegedly being involved in the conspiracy.
New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan by Jill Lepore

1752 Astronomer and clock-maker Benjamin Banneker built the first clock in America. In 1789, he successfully predicted a solar eclipse. In 1791, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson appointed him to the planning committee that designed Washington DC.
Benjamin Banneker: Pioneering Scientist by Ginger Wadsword

1770 Crispus Attucks was shot and killed by British soldiers in the Boston Massacre. He is known as the first casualty of the American Revolution.

1773 Phillis Wheatley, a young slave living in Boston, published Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Many doubted that she could have published such a work, but she proved herself when she successfully passed an oral examination conducted by a board of Harvard University professors.
Complete Writings by Phillis Wheatley
The Trials of Phillis Wheatly: America's First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Phillis Wheatley (1753-84).
This illustration was in the Frontispiece to her book Poems on Various Subjects.
By Scipio Moorhead [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
1775-83 During the American Revolution approximately 5000 African Americans served in the Continental Army, and approximately 1000 served on the British side. Many African Americans who sided with the British settled in Sierra Leone after the war.
The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution by Sidney Kaplan
The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution by Gary B. Nash

During, and in the years following, the American Revolution a number of slaves were granted freedom by their owners, and several Northern states began outlawing the practice (most did so gradually). However, the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 resulted in a growing demand for slaves in the South during the first half of the 19th century.

1777 Vermont abolished slavery.
1780 Pennsylvania enacted a gradual emancipation law.
1783 The Massachusetts Supreme Court abolished slavery.
1784 Connecticut and Rhode Island enacted gradual emancipation laws.
1787 The Northwest Ordinance banned slavery in the territories "North West of the River Ohio."
The Northwest Ordinance: Constitutional Politics and the Theft of Native Land by Robert Alexander
1789 New Hampshire abolished slavery.
1793 Eli Whitney (or was it Catherine Greene?) invented the Cotton Gin. This made growing cotton as a cash crop possible throughout much of the South, which led to increased demand for slave labor.
Inventing the Cotton Gin: Machine and Myth in Antebellum America by Angela Lakwete
1799 New York enacted a gradual emancipation law.
1804 New Jersey enacted a gradual emancipation law.
This graph shows a correlation between cotton production and the increasing number of slaves in the early 19th century.
By Conrad Zbikowski (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
1800 The White House and US Capitol buildings were completed in Washington DC. They were built with slave labor.

1804 Ohio enacted Black Codes, becoming the first non-slave holding state to pass laws restricting the rights of African Americans.

1808 The United States abolished the international slave trade. Although African slaves continued to be smuggled illegally into the country, the domestic slave trade took on increasing importance.
Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life by Steven Deyle
Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy by Howard Jones

1811 The German Coast Rebellion, the largest slave uprising in US history, took place in the Louisiana Territory. It was eventually suppressed with the assistance of federal troops.

1814 Joseph Savary became the first African American to hold the rank of major in the US Army. He led the Battalion of Freemen of Color which fought under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.

1816 The American Colonization Society was formed. It promoted freeing slaves and settling them in Africa. Throughout the mid 19th century, it assisted thousands of former African American slaves to settle in Liberia.
The African Colonization Movement 1816-1865 by P. J. Staudenraus
Back to Africa: A History of Sierra Leone and Liberia by Richard West

1821 Thomas Jennings became the first African American to receive a patent. He invented a dry cleaning process and created the world's first dry cleaning business.

1822 Demark Vesey was arrested and executed for plotting a slave uprising in Charleston, SC.
The Denmark Vesey Affair: A Documented History ed. by Douglas R. Egerton
Denmark Vesey: The Slave Conspiracy of 1822 by Rober S. Starobin

1823 Alexander Twilight became the first African American to receive a degree from an American college. In 1836, he became the first African American elected to a state legislature (Vermont).

1831 Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Virginia.
The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt by Patrick H. Breen
Nat Turner by Eric Foner
Frederick Douglass (1818-95)
By unknown (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
1838 Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery, and became active in the Abolitionist Movement. In 1845 he became nationally famous with the publication of his autobiography. After the Civil War he served in several government posts including Minister to Haiti from 1889-1891.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass
There was once a slave...The Heroic Story of Frederick Douglass by Shirley Graham Du Bois
Speeches by Frederick Douglass (audio reenactments of Douglass' speeches)

1845 Macon Allen became the first African American to practice law.

1847 Dr. David J. Peck became the first African American to graduate from a US medical school.

1849 Harriett Tubman escaped from slavery via the Underground Railroad. Over the next 10 years she made 19 trips back to slave states and helped approximately 300 slaves escape to freedom.
Fleeing for Freedom: Stories of the Underground Railroad by Levi Coffin
Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton
"Wanted Dead or Alive": The True Story of Harriet Tubman by Ann McGovern

1851 Former slave Sojourner Truth gave her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at a women's rights convention in Ohio.
Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol by Nell Irvin Painter

1857 The Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. Among other things, this infamous court decision found that constitutional rights did not apply to African Americans, whether they were free or slave.
The Dred Scott Case, Its Significance in American Law and Politics by Don E. Fehrenbacher
Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery's Frontier by Lea VanderVelde

1861 Philip Reid, an enslaved sculptor, completed his work on the Statue of Freedom, which sits atop the Capitol dome in Washington DC. 
The Statue of Freedom on top of the US Capitol Dome. Created, in part, by the work of Philip Reid.
By Andreas Praefcke (Self-photographed) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.
1861-65 Approximately 200,000 African Americans served in the Union armed forces during the Civil War.
Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era by John David Smith
Paying Freedom's Price: A History of African Americans in the Civil War by Paul D. Escott

1863 The Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1st. This executive order by President Lincoln declared "...slaves within any rebellion...shall be...forever free..." This proclamation did not outlaw slavery in the border states that remained loyal to the Union (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri).
Lincoln, Congress, and Emancipation by Paul Finkelman
Lincoln's Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union by Louis P. Masur

1865 The Freedmen's Bureau was established to provide health care, education, and technical assistance to freed slaves. The Bureau terminated its work in 1868.
A History of the Freedmen's Bureau by George R. Bentley

         On June 19th, enslaved African Americans in Texas received news of emancipation. Thus creating the Juneteenth holiday.
Juneteenth!: Celebrating Freedom in Texas by Anna Pearl Barrett

         The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It outlawed slavery throughout the US.
Who Freed the Slaves?: The Fight Over the Thirteenth Amendment by Leonard L. Richards

1866  Approximately 80 African Americans were killed in race riots in Memphis, TN and New Orleans, LA.
An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866 by James G. Hollandsworth Jr.

         Congress approved the creation of four all-black regiments of the US Army. They were nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers by Native American tribes in the west.
The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West by William H. Leckie
Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry, Montana 1890.
By Chr. Barthelmess [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1868 The 14th Amendment to the constitution was ratified. It granted citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States, and reversed the Dred Scott v Sanford decision.
The Adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment by Horace Edgar Flack

1870 The 15th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It states, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied...on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
The Right to Vote: Politics and the Passage of the Fifteenth Amendment by William Gillette

         Hiram Revels, of Mississippi, became the first African American to serve in the US Senate, and Joseph Rainey, of South Carolina, became the first African American to serve in the US House of Representatives.
Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 by The United States Congress House Committee on House Administration

1873 A white mob killed hundreds of African Americans in Colfax, Louisiana after a disputed election.
The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction by LeeAnna Keith

1875-1910 Southern states enacted a variety of Jim Crow Laws. These laws enforced the segregation of races in educational facilities and public places. Additionally, these laws made it effectively impossible for African Americans to vote via the creation of poll taxes and literacy tests.
American Nightmare: The History of Jim Crow by Jerrold M. Packard
The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward

1876 Edward Bouchet became the first African American to earn a doctoral degree when he graduated with a PhD in Physics from Yale University.
Edward Bouchet: The First African-American Doctorate by Ronald E. Mickens

1892 Ida B. Wells published Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, an exposé into the lynching of African Americans in Memphis, TN.
Ida B. Wells: Social Reformer and Activist by Kristina DuRocher
Lynchings in the US by decade from 1865-1965.
By Bcrowell [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
1895 Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute (now University), delivered his Atlanta Compromise speech. He advocated that African Americans should focus on economic development rather than political and civil rights.
Uncle Tom or New Negro?: African Americans reflect on Booker T. Washington...100 Years Later by Rebecca Carroll
Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

1896 In Plessy v. Ferguson the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation laws were constitutional, and established the "separate but equal" doctrine.
Plessy v. Ferguson: A Brief History with Documents by Brook Thomas
Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson by Blair Murphy Kelley

        George Washington Carver, botanist, was appointed Director of Agricultural Research at the Tuskegee Institute. His research benefited peanut and sweet potato farmers.
How to Grow the Peanut and 105 was of Preparing it for Human Consumption by George Washington Carver
My Work is that of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver by Mark D. Hersey

1898 A white gang attacked the biracial government of Wilmington, NC and overthrew the elected government of the city. Approximately 60 African Americans were killed in the violence.
Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and its Legacy by David S. Cecelski

1899 Scott Joplin, a Texas native, composed Maple Leaf Rag, which began the Ragtime music craze of the early 20th century.
Complete Piano Rags by Scott Joplin

1901 George H. White, the last African American elected to congress in the 19th century, left office. Due to the impact of Jim Crow laws, no African Americans served in Congress for the next 28 years.
Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) journalist who investigated lynchings in Memphis, TN.
By Barnett ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1903 W.E.B. Du Bois published Souls of Black Folk. He rejected Booker T. Washinton's argument and recommended that African Americans strive for political and civil rights.
Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the Struggle for Racial Uplift by Jacqueline M. Moore
W.E.B. Du Bois: American Prophet by Edward J. Blum

1904 George Edwin Taylor became the first African American to run for president. He was nominated by the National Liberty Party.

1908 Jack Johnson, a Texas native, became the first African American heavyweight boxing champion.
My Life and Battles by Jack Johnson

1909 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed.
NAACP: A History of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People by Charles Flint Kellogg

1913 President Woodrow Wilson's Administration implemented segregation in federal government departments, which caused many African American federal employees to lose their positions.
Racism in the Nation's Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson's America by Eric Steven Yellin

1914 Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask, which was widely used in World War I. In 1923, he invented the three-way automatic traffic signal.
Garret Morgan by Sarah L. Schuette

1915 The Great Migration of African Americans out of the South began, and continued through the 1960s. Approximately 7 million African Americans left the South during this time.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

1916 Marcus Garvey brought his Universal Negro Improvement Association to the United States, and promoted the Back to Africa movement.
Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey by Colin Grant

1917-18 United States entered World War I. Approximately 400,000 African Americans served.
African American Army Officers of World War I: A Vanguard of Equality in War and Beyond by Adam P. Wilson
Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I by Adriane Lentz-Smith

1919 The Red Summer race riots occurred in 25 cities across the country. The deadliest riots took place in Elaine, AR, where over 200 people were killed, and Chicago, IL where approximately 40 people were killed.
Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919 by Grif Stockley
The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot by Chicago Commission on Race Relations

1920s-30s The Harlem Renaissance, an African American literary and artistic movement, had a profound impact on American cultural life. Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neal Hurston were prominent writers in the movement. Blues and Jazz musicians like Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong became household names.
Black Culture and the Harlem Renaissance by Cary D. Wintz
Harlem: Negro Metropolis by Claude McKay
Let America be America Again by Langston Hughes
Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel by Zora Neale Hurston
The Bluesman: The Musical Heritage of Black Men and Women in the Americas by Julio Finn
The History of Jazz by Gunther Schuller
Music is my Mistress by Duke Ellington
Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life by Laurence Bergreen
View of the Apollo Theater Marquee, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948 by William P. Gottlieb [Public Domain] via The Library of Congress.
The Apollo Theater opened in Harlem in 1934.  
1921 Over 80 people were killed in a race riot in Tulsa, OK.
Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and its Legacy by James S. Hirsch

1923 A white mob destroyed the African American community of Rosewood, FL. An estimated 40 people were killed in the riot.
"The Rosewood Massacre and the Women Who Survived It" in The Florida Historical Quarterly by Maxine D. Jones

1931 Nine African American males (aged 12 to 20) were falsely convicted of raping two white women on a train near Scottsboro, AL. They spent many years in prison before they were finally released.
The Last of the Scottsoboro Boys: An Autobiography by Clarence Norris
Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South by Dan T. Carter

1932 The US Public Health Service began the Tuskegee Institute Syphilis Study. Approximately 400 African American men were infected with syphilis without their knowledge or consent. The purpose of the study was to see the full effects of untreated syphilis on the human body. The study ended in 1972.
Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and its Legacy by Susan Reverby

1936 Track star Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics.
Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics by Jeremy Schaap

1940 Hattie McDaniel was the first African American actor to win an academy award. She won it for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.
Gone with the Wind [DVD]
Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood by Jill Watts

1941 US Army authorized the creation of the Tuskegee Air Squadron, usually known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Led by Benjamin O. Davis Jr., they had an excellent record of service in World War II.
Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II by J. Todd Moye
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American: An Autobiography by Benjamin O. Davis Jr.
Tuskegee Airmen in 1942 or 1943.
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
1941-45 Over 1 million African Americans served in the US military during World War II.
Blood on German Snow: An African American Artilleryman in World War II and Beyond by Emiel W. Owens
Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, at Home and at War by Linda Hervieux
Let us Fight as Free Men: Black Soldiers and Civil Rights by Christine Knauer

1943 - Approximately 38 people were killed in the Detroit, MI race riot.
Race Riot, Detroit 1943 by Alfred McClung Lee

1947 Jackie Robinson became the first African American major league baseball player of the modern era. There were major league African American baseball players in the 19th century (like Moses Fleetwood Walker), but the sport was segregated in the 1890s.
Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball by Scott Simon

1948 President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order desegregating the armed forces.
Foxholes & Color Lines: Desegregating the U.S. Armed Forces by Sherie Mershon

1950 Juanita Hall became the first African American to win a Tony award. She won for her role as Bloody Mary in South Pacific.
Juanita Hall Sings the Blues [Streaming audio]
South Pacific: A Musical Play by Richard Rodgers

         Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.
A Life Distilled: Gwendolyn Brooks, her Poetry and Fiction by Maria Mootry
Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks

         Ralph Bunche became the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ralph Bunche Discusses United Nations Policy to End Wars [Streaming Video]

1951 Harry Moore, NAACP official in Florida, was assassinated.

1954 US Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional in the Brown v. Board of Education case.
Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and its Troubled Legacy by James T. Patterson
Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality by Richard Kluger

1955 Fourteen-year old Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till by Sephen J. Whitfield
Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe

        Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. In response, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a year-long boycott of the segregated bus system in Montgomery, AL.
Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott by Stewart Burns
She would not be Moved: How We Tell the Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Herbert R. Kohl
Rosa Parks (1913-2005) being fingerprinted after being arrested for boycotting public transportation in Montgomery, AL in 1956.
By Associated Press ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1957 - Nine African American students were prevented from enrolling at Central High School in Little Rock, AR when, under the direction of Governor Orval Faubus, the Arkansas National Guard and white rioters blocked their entrance. Weeks later President Dwight Eisenhower deployed the US Army 101st Airborne to Little Rock to protect the students.
Little Rock: Race and Resistance at Central High School by Karen Anderson

          Althea Gibson became the first African-American woman to win the Wimbledon tennis championship.
Charging the Net: A History of Blacks in Tennis from Althea Gibson to Arthur Ashe to the Williams Sisters by Cecil Harris

1958 The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was formed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as its first president.
Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David J. Garrow

1960 Four African American college students organized a sit-in to protest Woolworth's whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. A few months later, 150 black and white college students in North Carolina formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to organize future sit-ins and other protests.
Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC by Faith S. Holsaert
In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s by Clayborne Carson
Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

1961 SNCC organized the Freedom Rides, integrated interstate bus rides, though several Southern states. They encountered violence in Anniston, AL where the bus was firebombed.
Freedom's Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides by Derek Catsam

1962 James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Violent protests broke out. Two were killed and over 300 injured. President John F. Kennedy deployed US Marshals and National Guard to restore order.
An American Insurrection: The Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, 1962 by William Doyle
The Battle of Ole Miss: Civil Rights v. States' Rights by Frank Lambert

1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and spent 11 days in jail for organizing non-violent protests in Birmingham, AL.
The Radical King by Martin Luther King Jr.

        Although Governor George Wallace gave a speech at the schoolhouse door proclaiming "Segregation forever," Vivian Malone and James Hood were able to enroll at The University of Alabama. Integrating the school without violence.
The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation's Last Stand at the University of Alabama by E. Culpepper Clark

        Medgar Evers, NAACP official in Mississippi, was assassinated.

        Hundreds of thousands attended the March on Washington demonstration demanding civil rights for African Americans, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther Kin Jr.'s Dream by Gary Younge

       The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL was bombed killing four African American girls ages 11-14.
Last Chance for Justice: How Relentless Investigators Uncovered New Evidence Convicting the Birmingham Church Bombers by T.K. Thorne
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68) delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington DC in 1963.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1964 The 24th amendment to the constitution was ratified. It outlawed poll taxes.

        Cassius Clay (who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali) won first of three world heavyweight boxing championships.
Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon by Michael Ezra

          SNCC organized the Freedom Summer project to register black voters in Mississippi. Three activists (James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner) who were involved in the project were murdered.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
We are not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi by Seth Cagin

         President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. It prohibited unequal application of voter requirements and racial segregation in public accommodations.
The Longest Debate: A Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by Charles W. Whalen

1965 Malcolm X was assassinated.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X.

         On March 7th, civil rights activists attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, AL to bring attention to continuing denial of voting rights for African Americans. They were violently suppressed by Alabama State Troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On March 21st, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. successfully led a larger group to complete the march.
From Selma to Montgomery: The Long March to Freedom by Barbara Combs   
This Day in History: March 7th, 1965 - "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, AL [Streaming Video]

         President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. It prohibited literacy tests and racial discrimination in voting. It gave the Justice Department enforcement powers to protect voting rights.
Protest at Selma: Martin Luther King Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by David J. Garrow

        Watts Riot took place in Los Angeles, CA over allegations of police brutality against African Americans. Thirty four people were killed.
The Politics of Violence: The New Urban Blacks and the Watts Riot by David O. Sears

1966 President Johnson appointed Robert C. Weaver as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Making him the first African American to serve in the Cabinet.
The Urban Complex: Human Values in Urban Life by Robert C. Weaver

         The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, CA.
Survival Pending Revolution: The History of the Black Panther Party by Paul Alkebulan

         Bill Cosby became the first African American to win an Emmy award for his role in I Spy.
Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television by Donald Bogle

1967 The Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage bans unconstitutional in the Loving v. Virginia case.
Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy by Sheryll Cashin

         Thurgood Marshall became the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court.
Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams

         Race riots occured in Newark, NJ (23 killed) and Detroit, MI (43 killed).
This Day in History: July 12,1967 - Riots Break Out in Newark [Streaming video]
The Detroit Riots, 1967 [Streaming video]
Thurgood Marshall (1908-93) photographed in the Oval Office in 1967.
By Okamoto, Yoichi R. (Yoichi Robert) Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton Sides

        President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 into law. It prohibited racial discrimination in the sale or renting of housing.

1972 Shirley Chisholm became the first African American to seek the presidential nomination from one of the two major political parties. She won 152 delegates at the Democratic National Convention.
What to Start a Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle by Dayo F. Gore

         Barbara Jordan of Houston, TX and Andrew Young of Atlanta, GA became the first African Americans elected to the Congress from the South since 1898.
Barbara Jordan, a Self-Portrait by Barbara Jordan

1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill establishing January 20th as a federal holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1989 President George H.W. Bush appointed Colin Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Making him the first African American to hold that position.
The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell by Oren Harari

         Douglas Wilder, of Virginia, became the first African American elected as governor of a US state.

1992 Riots broke out in Los Angeles, CA after a jury found police officers not-guilty of assault  against Rodney King. Fifty-four people were killed in the rioting. 
L.A. Riots Revisited [Streaming Video]

1993 Toni Morrison became the first African American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Click here for a complete list of books written by Toni Morrison in our library's collection.

1997 Tiger Woods became the first African American to win The Masters Tournament professional golf championship.
Tiger Woods: A Biography by Lawrence J. Londino

2008 Barack Obama became the first African American elected President of the United States.
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama
Barack Obama: An American Story by Bob Carlton
Barack Obama being sworn in as 44th President of the United States, January 20th, 2009.
By Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo, U.S. Air Force [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2013 The Black Lives Matter organization was founded following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The organization gained national attention in 2014 following protests over the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment by Angela J. Davis
Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter by Jordan T. Camp

Books & eBooks
The Dick Smith Library has a large collection of books and other resources relevant to African American history.
Such as these titles: 
African American History: An Introduction by Joanne Turner-Sadler
Anti-Black Violence in Twentieth-Century Texas by Bruce A. Glasrud
Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History by Von Hardesty
Children of Fire: A History of African Americans by Thomas C. Holt
Creating Black Americans: African-American History and its Meanings, 1619 to the Present by Nell Irvin Painter
Free Blacks in Antebellum Texas by Bruce A. Glasrud
In the Black: A History of African Americans on Wall Street by Gregory S. Bell
The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America by Terri L. Snyder
Slavery, Civil War, and Salvation: African American Slaves and Christianity, 1830-1870 by Daniel L. Fountain
White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 by Winthrop D. Jordan

Also, be sure to explore our Black History subject guide to discover more library resources on this topic. If you have any questions about library resources please contact us at or 254-968-9249.