The Link: Black History Month


 Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Martin Luther King Jr, & Coretta Scott King, Billie Holiday photographed by Carl Van Vechten, Buffalo Soldier 9th Calvary Denver, Zora Neale Hurston, & Langston Hughes photographed by Carl Van Vechten

Images clock-wise from top-left: Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Martin Luther King, Jr. & Coretta Scott King, Billie Holiday photographed by Carl Van Vechten, Buffalo Soldier 9th Calvary Denver, Zora Neale Hurston, & Langston Hughes photographed by Carl Van Vechten

February marks Black History Month in the United States. Join us as we explore different facets of Black history and learn more about the ways that African Americans have contributed to the richness of American culture.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources can already be found in the ipl2 collection.


The History of Black History Month (find it on the ipl2)

This Information Please site features articles on Black History and biographies of notable African Americans in politics, history, entertainment, arts, and sports. The articles focus on the history and timeline of events that lead up to the creation of Black History Month.

NEW! Origins of Black History Month

This video from the History Channel explores the origins of Black History Month. It follows Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s determination to have the history of African Americans acknowledged in history books and in the public conscience. His work and advocacy laid the groundwork for Black History Month.

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a celebration of African American culture and art that began in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s. Its influence flourished throughout the United States and produced a movement that is still remembered and celebrated today. Writers, poets, musicians, and artists created beautiful works that captured the African American spirit and struggles of the time.

A Guide to the Harlem Renaissance (find it on the ipl2)

The Library of Congress sponsors collections from the Harlem Renaissance, including the Zora Neale Hurston plays, African American sheet music, and photographs from the time period.  There are also lesson plans here for poetry using Langston Hughes as a model.

Drop Me Off in Harlem (find it on the ipl2)

The Kennedy Center provides portraits of key members of the Harlem Renaissance including writers, actors, activists, and musicians. Read biographies and works of famous writers and poets of the era. There is also an embedded media player that plays audio files of poems by Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and others.

Langston Hughes at 100 (find it on the ipl2)

Langston Hughes is perhaps the most well-known writer and poet of the Harlem Renaissance. This interactive Yale University collection focuses on his life and works. Some highlights include copies of his original manuscripts, playbills, photographs, and audio files.

Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement describes the period in the 1950s and 1960s where African Americans and other minority groups organized to change the discriminatory laws that served to keep them from exercising their full equality. Marked by boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of nonviolent protest, participants in the Civil Rights Movement struggled against great resistance to achieve legislative and cultural change.

Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) (find it on the ipl2)

The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) promotes knowledge of the struggle for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s by “helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials” about the Civil Rights Movement. Search, or browse by events, places, people, topics, or media types to locate sound recordings, texts, visual works (including video clips), websites, and instructional material. CRDL is a partnership among librarians, archivists, educators, public broadcasters, and others.

Reporting Civil Rights (find it on the ipl2)

This site documents the reporters and journalism of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Find writer profiles, a timeline for 1941 through 1973, and “Perspectives on Reporting,” which features personal recollections from reporters active in that era.

Voices of Civil Rights (find it on the ipl2)

This site collects and preserves “personal accounts of America’s struggle to fulfill the promise of equality for all.” Voices of Civil Rights features a searchable archive of short personal stories submitted by individuals, longer stories with audio and transcripts, a timeline back to 1868, a list of related sites, and a bibliography. This resource is a joint effort of AARP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), and the Library of Congress.


Throughout history, African Americans have enriched every aspect of American life. From science and technology to the arts and the humanities, African Americans have contributed significantly to how we live our lives. Reading about these prominent figures in history and current events helps us understand how important African Americans have been to the development of American culture.

NEW! Black History Month Biographies: Movers and Shakers is a trusted ipl2 website with almost 4000 biographies of famous figures. Its page dedicated to Black History Month includes famous African Americans under the topics “Movers and Shakers,” “Science and Technology,” “People in the News,” “Writers,” “Entertainers,” “Athletes,” and “Religious Figures.” Who2 offers quick facts, thumbnail bios, and links to more information.

Black History (find it on ipl2) is a well-known, authoritative website that offers biographies of important African Americans in a variety of formats. Here you can find videos, photos, timelines, and study guides to learn about how these influential African Americans have impacted the American cultural landscape. In addition, this site has a discussion board where you can join the conversation.

NEW! Biographies of Famous African Americans

FactMonster, a subsidiary of Pearson Publishing, offers an exhaustive number of biographies of African Americans in a child-friendly design. Broken down in alphabetical groups, FactMonster gives you fast facts on figures from Aaliyah to James Van der Zee with links to even more information. Using FactMonster for research is easy – it will create citations for you, you can print articles, and you can find multimedia on any of the biographies on the list!


Jazz is a form of music that emphasizes improvisation, syncopation, and collaboration.  While today jazz music is played and enjoyed around the world by people of myriad ethnic backgrounds, the genre has its roots in African American culture.  Check out these resources to celebrate Black History Month in a most musical way.

Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns (find it on the ipl2)

Created as a companion to Ken Burns’ documentary miniseries, this website explores the history of jazz, from its roots in spirituals and ragtime to its modern manifestations.  A primary focus of the site is the big band era, during which African American musicians like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington heavily influenced the genre.  Included are audio clips of many jazz performers (RealPlayer), and extensive biographies from the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.

Smithsonian Jazz (find it on the ipl2)

The “Explore” section of this site features a number of resources, from a basic definition of the genre to an extensive collection of oral histories by jazz greats like Art Farmer and Sonny Rollins.  Smithsonian Jazz also offers a number of lesson planning resources for elementary and middle school teachers, such as handouts defining common jazz jargon and worksheets for comparing two or more musicians/pieces.

William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz (find it on the ipl2)

Hosted by the Library of Congress, the William P. Gottlieb Collection documents the jazz scene from 1938 to 1948, primarily in New York City and Washington, D.C.  The collection’s hundreds of photographs feature such notable jazz personalities as Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk.  In addition to the photographs, the site includes some biographical materials concerning photographer William Gottlieb, as well as 1940s-era articles from Down Beat, a prominent jazz magazine.

NPR Jazz (find it on the ipl2)

For the latest jazz buzz, check out NPR Jazz, which features blog posts, music and book reviews, descriptions and schedules of jazz programming on National Public Radio, profiles of musicians, and expert recommendations from the NPR Basic Jazz Record Library. Profiles and recommendations include audio clips.

Black-only Army Regiments in the 1800s

African Americans have served in every military action in U.S. history, often receiving poor assignments in dangerous or harsh environments.  The 24th and 25th U.S. Army infantry regiments were the two black-only regiments established in 1869. These regiments earned the name Buffalo Soldiers from the Indians who they fought in the late 1800s. It is a term of respect for the intense fighting spirit and courage the Indians experienced in their battles.

NEW! Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum

The Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum features more than 2000 books, publications, and magazine and other media collections that examine the history of the Buffalo Soldiers. The museum’s website provides definitions, histories, research sources, collections of photographs, a newsletter archive, and contact information.

NEW! The Buffalo Soldiers

The Presidio of San Francisco once garrisoned a regiment of Buffalo Soldiers. Their National Parks Service website not only provides a history of the garrisoned Buffalo Soldiers, but also many chapters of Buffalo Soldiers’ exploits on the Western frontier, in the Spanish-American, Philippine, and first world wars, and various patrols they performed. The site also features a history of the creation, and ultimate disbanding, of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buffalo Soldiers & Indian Wars (find it on the ipl2)

This informative site details many of the skirmishes and campaigns that involved the Buffalo Soldiers and Native American Indians. It also provides an extensive list of links to many more Buffalo Soldiers resources, as well as sites discussing minorities, the West, the Civil War, and other educational and government resources.

Reminder: You can subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS.  The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left-hand side of the page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!


2 Responses to “The Link: Black History Month”

  1. Eastside Prep: Library | February is Black History Month Says:

    […] Links to resources from the Internet Public Library (IPL) […]


    […] The Link: Black History Month ( […]

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