Did you know that Black History Month isn’t just an American thing? This month-long celebration of the African diaspora is also observed in Canada and the United Kingdom (though the UK’s celebration happens in October). Although not recognized by the United States government until 1976, efforts to recognize the contributions of Black and African American people to America and the world goes back to 1926, with historian Carter G. Woodson’s creation of Negro History Week. Woodson, himself an African American, was one of the first scholars of Black history.
This month, Eleventh Stack is celebrating Black History Month by featuring posts only about Black and African American authors, artists and organizations. As librarians and library workers, its our job to make sure our community is represented in our collections, and that we highlight books, movies and music by a diverse set of creators. We also acknowledge that those efforts cannot be limited to one month of the year. Even, so, I’m excited by the content we have planned this month.
Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history. — Carter G. Woodson
From a look at the Pittsburgh Courier to Black female film directors to Coretta Scott King Award winners to book lists featuring Black science fiction and fantasy authors, I think everyone will find something intriguing, inspiring and uplifting in our digital “pages” this month. We’re going to take a look at August Wilson’s Fences in the original play form and the new movie. We’re going to look at Marvel’s new Black Panther comics by one of my personal favorite authors, Ta-Nehisi Coates (who is coming to Pittsburgh on March 20 for a FREE reading!).
Beyond Eleventh Stack, be sure to check out the many Black History Month-themed events going on at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations throughout the city. If you love food as much as I do, be sure to check out the Cookbook Club’s discussion of Soul Food Love by Alice Randall at CLP – Squirrel Hill, the Soul Food Affair potluck at CLP – Homewood and Cooking @ the Library: West African Cuisine at CLP – West End. But we’ve also got genealogy workshops, job & career-focused programs and dancing workshops!
Stop by our Staff Picks page for even more books, movies and music by Black and African American authors and artists. And don’t forget about our research databases, including the African-American Experience database and streaming music through Alexander Street Press.
Have feedback for us? Is there a topic or aritist you’d like to see us write about? Feel free to email eleventhstack [at] carnegielibrary [dot] org with your suggestions, questions and feedback.
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Kelly reads, writes and sometimes sews, always with a large mug of tea. She is the editor of Eleventh Stack, and her job as the Clerical Specialist at CLP – West End gives her plenty of ideas for stories that find homes in obscure literary magazines.