What is Black History Month?
Black History Month is an annual observance in February dedicated to honoring the history and contributions of African Americans. More than just a month, it is a movement that presents an opportunity for continuous learning throughout the year.
Black History Month began as Black History Week which was started by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Dr. Woodson established this week to offer space and resources for his students to learn about their history. He believed “the achievements of the Negro properly set forth will crown him as a factor in early human progress and a maker of modern civilization.”
What is the 2023 theme for Black History Month?
Since 1928, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, founded by Carter G. Woodson, sets an annual theme. Each theme focuses on a specific aspect of Black history that deserves public attention and discourse.
Black Resistance is the theme for 2023. This topic takes stock of historic and on-going oppression faced by African Americans and acknowledges that “the only path to freedom, justice, and equality; self-determination; and/or social transformation is resistance.”
Why Is Black History Month Necessary?
Over the past few years, there have been several legislative bans meant to censor the teaching of accurate U. S. history regarding enslavement and systemic racism in schools across the nation. More recently, the state of Florida has banned an Advanced Placement African American Studies course for high school students.
As we celebrate Black History Month, we can remember Black educators like Charlotte Forten who “passionately resisted the spread of miseducation in the classroom—and introduced an array of diverse materials to broaden her students’ perspectives.”
Celebrate Black History Month at AC Library
AC Library is dedicated to celebrating and highlighting Black history and culture throughout the year. Join us for events in February and stay tuned for more!
- All Rise for Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell | Events | Alameda County Library (bibliocommons.com) February 26, 2-3:30pm at Castro Valley Library. Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear from retired judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, the first Black woman judge in Northern California. She’ll discuss her new book, Her Honor, and her legal career spanning five decades.
- March 8: Alameda County Book Chat 6:30-7:30pm online via Zoom. Each month we'll read a new book and come together to discuss it. We'll read a wide variety of genres, tackle some tough topics along the way, and lighten it up with some fun reads as well. This book club will meet on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. For the March meeting, we will be reading A Worthy Piece of Work by Michael Hines in honor of Black History Month.
- February 15: Black History Month Bingo 4-5pm at San Lorenzo Library. Come and enjoy the fun of Bingo while testing your knowledge of influential and visionary African Americans at the same time!
- February 21: Black History Month Bingo 5-6pm at San Lorenzo Library. Come and enjoy the fun of Bingo while testing your knowledge of influential and visionary African Americans at the same time!
Children's Programs/ In-Person Storytimes
- Paper Story Quilting Craft Day February 4, All Day Event at Castro Valley Library. Join us in the Children’s Section for a special craft inspired by the artwork of Faith Ringgold, in honor of Black History Month. Children are invited to make paper story quilts, which use the combination of pictures, words, and textures to tell about a moment or event that is special to you.
- Family Storytime: Celebrate Black History Month! February 6, 6-6:30pm at Castro Valley Library. February is Black History Month! Join us as for a special storytime as we celebrate Black History Month. Come sing, rhyme, and read stories with us! While this storytime will be geared towards those older than 2 years, all ages are welcome!
- Sewing Seeds of Excellence: Black History Month Celebration with Author Thomishia Booker February 18, 11am-12pm at Castro Valley Library. Join Author Thomishia Booker for a FUN and Informative Black History Month Celebration. Arts & Crafts, interactive story time, self-love, and more. Learn about George Washington Carver and his contributions to Black History.
- House of Samba Kids Drumming February 21, 12:30-1:30pm at Castro Valley Library. James Henry from House of Samba will be hosting an interactive children’s music program in honor of Black History Month. Children are invited to join us for an afternoon of music, drumming, and fun.
- February 15: Black History Month - Little Bookworms Storytime 11:30am-12pm at Cherryland Library. Come celebrate Black History Month with us! Let's read, sing, and honor Black resistance together. This storytime is in English and for all tiny ones who enjoy a good book.
- February 22: Black History Month - Little Bookworms Storytime 11:30am-12pm at Cherryland Library. Come celebrate Black History Month with us! Let's read, sing, and honor Black resistance together. This storytime is in English and for all tiny ones who enjoy a good book.
Black History Month Book List
Each of the nonfiction titles in this adult book list ties into the themes of Black resistance to oppression, creating pathways to freedom, and the importance of joy and rest.
Black History eResources at AC Library
You can access eResources to research Black History on the AC Library website under 'Learn & Connect' and within the A-Z List.
- Black Freedom Struggle in the United States: Challenges and Triumphs in the Pursuit of Equality Black Freedom, a ProQuest resource, features select primary source documents related to critical people and events in African American history.
- Black Women's Suffrage | DPLA The Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection
- California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Interim Report AB3121 California Reparations Interim Report
Community Events Celebrating Black History in Alameda County
- Afro-American Cultural & Historical Society, Tri-City Area – Engaging the Tri-City Area - February 11, 12-5pm at Newark Community Center "The Afro-American Cultural and Historical Society celebrates Black Resistance: Resisting Stereotypes & Empowering Our Youth featuring keynote speaker, Ashley Watson, the Oakland Jazz Ensemble, African drumming, soul food for purchase, black businesses and more." Contact email@example.com for more information.
- Black Joy Parade - February 26, in Oakland: “A hyper-positive non-profit that celebrates the Black experience and community's contribution to history and culture with its signature parade and celebration, partnerships and events.”
- Black History Month | East Bay Parks (ebparks.org) “Join us in celebrating Black History Month in February as we honor the rich legacy of African American history in the parks by sharing stories of contributions of individuals and groups through our archives and naturalist programs. The Park District is committed to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and making our agency welcoming and reflective of the communities we serve.”
- Black History Museum Project – Afro-American Cultural & Historical Society, Tri-City Area (aachstricity.org) “The African American Cultural & Historical Society, Tri-City Area invites everyone to engage in the rich history of Black Americans through educational and cultural activities.”
- BLACK LGBTQ FILM SCREENINGS Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite “The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center is celebrating Black Queer & Trans lives through film during the month of February - Black History Month. All screenings are free, and space is limited. For more information, please visit our website at www.oaklandlgbtqcenter.org.”
- Black Power - Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) (museumca.org) “Uncover the history of the Black Power movements in California with a compelling addition to the Gallery of California History.”
- Angela Davis–Seize The Time - Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) (museumca.org) “Angela Davis — Seize the Time, examines the image, influence, and activism of the Oakland-based icon.”