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
February 12, 2015
The origins of Black History Month date back to 1926, when a historian named Carter G. Woodson spearheaded “Negro History Week.”
November 11, 2021
Cedric Robinson proposed that the Black radical tradition was necessitated into existence by “racial capitalism.”
November 13, 2019
The Marxist sympathies of Black radical leaders like Paul Robeson, Alice Childress, and Lorraine Hansberry made them targets for the FBI.
June 21, 2021
The civil rights leader who changed his name to Kwame Ture encouraged students in the Mississippi Freedom Schools to think critically.
October 5, 2023
The archives of the historically Black Tuskegee University recently released recordings from 1957 to 1971, with a number by powerful civil rights leaders.
September 5, 2020
Often in the news today, anarchism is widely misunderstood. One myth is that it's a movement for white people.
Building Black Community Spaces
May 30, 2022
Black-appeal stations were instrumental in propelling R&B into the mainstream while broadcasting news of the ever-growing civil rights movement.
October 9, 2022
Mental healthcare has not always been accessible for Black Americans. Could churches be part of the solution?
July 10, 2020
Black abolitionist David Ruggles opened the first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, pointing the way to freedom—in more ways than one.
January 10, 2022
Freedom libraries in the south provided Black residents with access to spaces and books, whether in church basements or private homes.
October 6, 2021
Maryrose Reeves Allen founded a wellness program at Howard University in 1925 that emphasized the physical, mental, and spiritual health of Black women.
November 18, 2021
CB radio was portrayed as a mostly white enthusiasm in its heyday, but Black CB users were active as early as 1959.
December 7, 2020
What was it like for Black American music lovers during the age of segregation to find a place they could call their own?
August 20, 2021
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.
June 26, 2019
The first African-American recruits in the Marine Corps trained at Montford Point, eventually ending the military’s longstanding policy of racial segregation.
December 14, 2021
The bowling desegregation movement began during World War II, but wouldn’t end there.
August 4, 2020
Rosenwald schools, named for a philanthropist, were funded mostly by Black people of the segregated South.
January 26, 2021
Without many legal protections under the New Deal, Black women organized through the local Urban League.
Highlighting Overlooked Black History
July 2, 2022
Florestine Perrault Collins escaped the bounds of prescribed gender roles and racial segregation to run a successful photography studio in 1920s New Orleans.
April 17, 2022
The first Black woman to have a regularly published comic strip, Ormes gave form to the political and social concerns of Black Americans.
February 24, 2022
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.
April 25, 2022
Records from a cancelled exhibition reveal the challenges faced by Black feminist artists and curators in the 1970s.
February 11, 2021
Long overlooked in histories of the West, African-American rodeo stars also faced discrimination and erasure in that sport, too.
March 14, 2019
Sometimes finding the stories of marginalized populations demands reading between the lines.
March 1, 2021
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
August 4, 2022
Organized in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts uprising, the music festival showed that something powerful was happening in the Black community.
February 26, 2022
The 1927 art and literature magazine only ran for a single issue, but “proved an integral component of Harlem Renaissance cultural production."
June 13, 2022
Black composers Bruce Forsythe and Claudius Wilson transcended barriers to create concert and classical music during this West Coast art movement.
February 9, 2022
The writer used hard-boiled fiction as a wide lens to accurately capture the widescreen disparity of Black life in the 1970s.
January 25, 2021
In 1925, an anthology of Black creative work heralded the arrival of a movement that had been years in the making.
October 16, 2019
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.”
May 3, 2019
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.
May 6, 2019
Born into slavery, Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield broke barriers with every note she sang.
More Black History Roundups
February 12, 2021
Profiles of Betye Saar, Krista Franklin, Miles Davis, Basquiat, Kanye West, Faith Ringgold and more.
February 8, 2021
Celebrating Black History Month with a look at the role of women in movements for liberation.
June 19, 2020
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.