February marks Black History Month, a month-long observance in the United States and Canada that recognizes the significant contributions of African-Americans to American history, as well as the historical legacies of the African diaspora. We hope you’ll find the stories below, and the scholarship they include in full, a valuable resource for classroom or leisure reading.

Radical Black Voices

Carter G. Woodson, The Father of Black History Month

The origins of Black History Month date back to 1926, when a historian named Carter G. Woodson spearheaded “Negro History Week.”
Cedric Robinson

Cedric Robinson and the Black Radical Tradition

Cedric Robinson proposed that the Black radical tradition was necessitated into existence by “racial capitalism.”
Alice Childress, Paul Robeson and Lorraine Hansberry

In the McCarthy Era, to Be Black Was to Be Red

The Marxist sympathies of Black radical leaders like Paul Robeson, Alice Childress, and Lorraine Hansberry made them targets for the FBI.
Stokely Carmichael, 1973

Stokely Carmichael, Radical Teacher

The civil rights leader who changed his name to Kwame Ture encouraged students in the Mississippi Freedom Schools to think critically.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuskegee University’s Hidden Audio Collections

The archives of the historically black Tuskegee University recently released recordings from 1957 to 1971, with a number by powerful civil rights leaders.
Kuwasi Balagoon

The Real Story of Black Anarchists

Often in the news today, anarchism is widely misunderstood. One myth is that it's a movement for white people.

Building Black Community Spaces

David Ruggles

The First Black-Owned Bookstore and the Fight for Freedom

Black abolitionist David Ruggles opened the first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, pointing the way to freedom—in more ways than one.
Freedom House library, September 1964

Freedom Libraries and the Fight for Library Equity

Freedom libraries in the south provided Black residents with access to spaces and books, whether in church basements or private homes.
Mary Rose Allen mid-leap

Teaching Black Women’s Self-Care during Jim Crow

Maryrose Reeves Allen founded a wellness program at Howard University in 1925 that emphasized the physical, mental, and spiritual health of Black women.
A postcard advertising Rev. Dr. Bow Weevil, a Rooster Channel Jumper

How Black CB Radio Users Created an Audible Community

CB radio was portrayed as a mostly white enthusiasm in its heyday, but Black CB users were active as early as 1959.
From left, Desmond Bryan, Caesar Andrews, Delroy Witter and Ken Murray, in the 'Into Reggae' record shop, 3rd October 1975.

How Black-Owned Record Stores Helped Create Community

What was it like for Black American music lovers during the age of segregation to find a place they could call their own?

Combating Segregation

Berea College sends its extension workers into remote communities

How a Southern College Tried to Resist Segregation

The founder of Kentucky's Berea College was an abolitionist. While he was alive, the school offered a free education for both Black and white students.
The first black marines decorated by the famed 2nd Marine Dvision somewhere in the Pacific. (Left to right) Staff Sgt Timerlate Kirven and Cpl. Samuel J. Love, Sr., received Purple Hearts for wounds received in the Battle of Saipan.

Who Were the Montford Point Marines?

The first African-American recruits in the Marine Corps trained at Montford Point, eventually ending the military’s longstanding policy of racial segregation.
A sign for the All-Star Bowling Alley in Orangeburg, SC

Desegregating Bowling Alleys

The bowling desegregation movement began during World War II, but wouldn’t end there.
Pee Dee Rosenwald School, Marion County, South Carolina, c. 1935.

How Black Communities Built Their Own Schools

Rosenwald schools, named for a philanthropist, were funded mostly by Black people of the segregated South.
New Orleans, 1939

How St. Louis Domestic Workers Fought Exploitation

Without many legal protections under the New Deal, Black women organized through the local Urban League.

Highlighting Overlooked Black History

J.P. Ball's Great Daguerrian Gallery of the West

Introducing “Archives Unbound”

In her new column, Dorothy Berry offers an inside look at the work of the digital archivist, while highlighting forgotten figures in Black print culture and public life.
A cowgirl participates in the barrel race competition at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo on April 1, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Black Cowboys and the History of the Rodeo

Long overlooked in histories of the West, African-American rodeo stars also faced discrimination and erasure in that sport, too.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Two_African_American_women,_three-quarter_length_portrait,_seated,_facing_each_other_LCCN99472087.tif

Searching for Black Queer History in Sensational Newspapers

Sometimes finding the stories of marginalized populations demands reading between the lines.
The cover of the February 1949 issue of Ebony Magazine

Black Images and the Politics of Beauty

How Black-owned charm schools and modeling agencies challenged stereotypes of African American women after World War II.

Black History in Literature, Science, & the Arts

The cover of Ebony and Topaz: A Collectanea

The Short but Influential Run of Ebony and Topaz

The 1927 art and literature magazine only ran for a single issue, but “proved an integral component of Harlem Renaissance cultural production."
Donald Goines, from the back cover of an early edition of Dopefiend

Donald Goines, Detroit’s Crime Writer Par Excellence

The writer used hard-boiled fiction as a wide lens to accurately capture the widescreen disparity of Black life in the 1970s.
African Phantasy : Awakening by Winold Reiss

The New Negro and the Dawn of the Harlem Renaissance

In 1925, an anthology of Black creative work heralded the arrival of a movement that had been years in the making.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Why MLK Believed Jazz Was the Perfect Soundtrack for Civil Rights

Jazz, King declared, was the ability to take the “hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.”
Charles Drew sitting with medical residents at Freedmen's Hospital

The 1910 Report That Disadvantaged Minority Doctors

A century ago, the Flexner Report led to the closure of 75% of U.S. medical schools. It still explains a lot about today’s unequal access to healthcare.
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, “The Black Swan”

Born into slavery, Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield broke barriers with every note she sang.

More Black History Roundups

Seydou Keïta

Celebrating Black Artists

Profiles of Betye Saar, Krista Franklin, Miles Davis, Basquiat, Kanye West, Faith Ringgold and more.
City Federation of Colored Women's Clubs of Jacksonville, State Meeting, Palatka, Florida

Black Women, Black Freedom

Celebrating Black History Month with a look at the role of women in movements for liberation.
Dorothy B Porter

15 Black Women Who Should Be (More) Famous

Honoring the scientists, poets, activists, doctors, and librarians--those we know and those we don't.

We’ll be adding more stories related to Black History Month throughout February.

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