Each February, Americans across the United States commemorate Black History Month, a month-long national celebration of the contributions and achievements that black men and women have made throughout U.S. and world history.
Honoring Black History Month remains as important as it has ever been, as it is a reminder that black people and culture are inseparably woven into the fabric of America. Black History Month is a celebration of identity and activism that serves as a month-long call to action for citizens to learn, understand, recognize, and accept the key contributions that black men and women have made in all aspects of American society.
In celebration of Black History Month, we have compiled the following list of books, websites, and activities that anyone, including students and teachers, can reference, study, read, and enjoy throughout the entire year. It is our hope that you will enjoy and learn from these outstanding works and historical resources. If you have further book and/or website suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!
“What you refer to as Negro [black] history is nothing more than the missing pages of world history.” – Arturo Schomburg
Elementary Grades (K–5)
- A Night Out with Mama by Quvenzhané Wallis, art by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
- Cleo Edison Oliver in Persuasion Power by Sundee T. Frazier
- Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, art by Gordon C. James
- Hidden Figures: The True Story for Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, art by Laura Freeman
- I Am Enough by Grace Byers, art by Keturah A. Bobo
- Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest Episode 5: Mission Star-Power by Marti Dumas, art by Stephanie Parcus
- Jupiter Storm by Marti Dumas, art by Stephanie Parcus
- Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack, art by Brian Pinkney
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, art by Stasia Burrington
- Mixed Me by Taye Diggs, art by Shane W. Evans
- Nadia Knox and the Eye of Zinnia by Jessica McDougle
- Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
- Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, art by Bryan Collier
Middle Grades (6–8)
- Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson
- Booked by Kwame Alexander
- Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia, art by Frank Morrison
- Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden
- Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, art by Brian Pinkney
- Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander, art by Ekua Holmes
- Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes
- The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
- Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
- Sunny (Track Series) by Jason Reynolds
- Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
High School Grades (9–12)
- American Street by Ibi Zoboi
- Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
- Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
- Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet (Books 2 & 3) by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- I Am Alfonso Jones: A Graphic Novel by Tony Medina, art by Stacey Robinson & John Jennings
- Monster: A Graphic Novel by Walter Dean Myers, Adapted by Guy A. Sims, art by Dawud Anyabwile
- Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
- Reflections by Rosa Parks: The Quiet Strength and Faith of a Woman Who Changed a Nation by Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed
- Solo by Kwame Alexander
- Library of Congress’ African American History Month page
- This website provides a wide range of resources related to black history, including primary source materials and links to other national institutions that are celebrating Black History Month, including the National Gallery of Art and the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
- National Museum of African American History & Culture’s Online Collection
- Take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian Institution’s newest museum. This website provides visitors with a glimpse of this museum’s vast collection of artifacts, exhibits, documents, and art, including pieces that date back to the early 1700’s.
- Oxford African American Studies Center’s Underground Railroad: The Journey to Freedom page
- This website contains an interactive timeline that allows users to explore the history of the anti-slavery movement. The site features links that provide further details about the key people, places, publications, and events that defined the abolitionist cause during the 18th and 19th Centuries.
- Google Cultural Institute’s Black History and Culture
- Google worked with dozens of cultural organizations across the U.S. to create a robust digital collection of black history and culture. The site makes it easy for users to share what they have viewed and learned on social networks, and it even enables users to choose their favorite pieces and curate their own galleries.
- More Than a Mapp
- More Than a Mapp is a free app for Android and iOS devices that allows users to discover and contribute to the black history that exists all around us. The crowd-sourced and location-enabled application can reveal sites of significance to black history in your neighborhood and city, and allows you to upload map points of your own.
- New York Public Library’s Digital Schomburg
- NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture created a website that enables people around the world to access exhibitions, books, articles, photographs, prints, audio, and video concerning African history and culture as well as the African Diaspora.
- New York Times‘ Unpublished Black History
- During February 2016, the New York Times released a trove of unpublished photos of various moments in black history from its vast archives.
- New York Times’ “28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month”
- The New York Times’ chief film critics selected 28 movies that they feel convey the larger history of black Americans in cinema.
- Reading Rockets’ Black History Month page
- Featuring book recommendations, videos of interviews with award-winning authors and illustrators, and suggested activities, this webpage is a tremendous resource for teachers, students, and families alike.
- Time for Kids
- This site contains engaging informational texts for elementary students on a variety of topics, including Black History Month.
- WeTeachNYC’s Black History Month Resources page
- BAM Black Comix Expo at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
- This free, day-long expo by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the Black Comics Collective is a showcase for comics of color. The expo will feature comic exhibitors, a panel discussion, a children’s art workshop, and a superhero cosplay showcase for fans of all ages. Stop by to see some of the best emerging talent from the comic industry on Sunday, February 11, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- “Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Before Black Panther, there was an entire alternative cinematic history of black screen heroes. From blaxploitation icons to supernatural avengers and anti-colonial outlaws, this series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) spotlights black heroes in films that are as socially and politically subversive as they are downright fun. Visit BAM’s website to see a list of movies and showtimes for this series, which runs until February 18.
- “King in New York” Exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York
- 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and in commemoration of the late Civil Rights Movement icon’s life and work, the Museum of the City of New York is hosting an exhibition that chronicles Dr. King’s relationship and connection to New York. See a lesser-known side of Dr. King’s work and legacy now through June 1, 2018. For tickets and schedules, visit MCNY’s website.
- NYC Parks’ Black History Month Events page
- Our colleagues over at the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation have organized several events across the City just in time for Black History Month. Participate in activities such as the Seneca Village tour and the George Washington Carver Workshop, or take a leisurely stroll towards one of City’s sculptures that commemorate the African-American experience. For dates, times, and locations of events, please visit NYC Parks’ BHM page.
We hope this helps kick-start your Black History Month! Have additional suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!