February 1 – 28, 2023
Hoboken Public Library honors and celebrates Black history, culture, and community with a diverse array of programs for all ages! The Black History Month 2023 theme is Black Resistance.
For a complete list of all Black History Month events happening at HPL, please click here.
Browse our Black History Month reading list, a curated guide to fiction and nonfiction titles for adults, teens, and children.
History of Black History Month
As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.
By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all colors on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.
The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first Black History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued Black History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year.
(Excerpt from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History)
Works Cited: https://blackhistorymonth.gov/
- Black History Month – Free online events and resources from the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, National Archives, and more.
- National Museum of African American History & Culture – The Searchable Museum allows you to explore and interact with the DC museum’s exhibits from home.
- National Archives: African American Heritage – Discover a wealth of historic material including images and records documenting the Black experience in America, in addition to free, recorded online programs.
- The Black Family: United by History, Restored by Storytelling – This free self-guided certificate program includes pre-recorded workshops and resources that aim to demonstrate how oral storytelling, genealogy, and familial archiving can serve as a return and a way forward.
Updated 1/31/2022 – AB