African American History
The month of February has been set aside to celebrate the contributions of the country's African Americans. It was in 1926 that Negro History Week was first organized by historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) and others. During America's Bicentennial celebration in 1976, the one-week span was lengthened to four and February was established as Black History Month. The Canton Public Library has a vast amount of resources for and about African Americans.
- African American Chronology: Chronologies of the American Mosaic by Kwando M. Kinshasa (2006)
- The African American Encyclopedia edited by Michael W. Williams (1993)
- African-American Holidays, Festivals and Celebrations: The History, Customs and Symbols Associated With Both Traditional and Contemporary Religious and Secular Events Observed by Americans of African Descent by Kathlyn Guy (2007)
- African American Lives (2004) edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks
- Black Saga: The African American Experience by Charles M. Christian (1995)
- Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance by Aberjhani and Sandra L. West (2003)
- The New York Public Library African American Desk Reference by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (1999)
- Slavery in America: From Colonial Times to the Present by Shirley Schneider (2000)
- Timelines of African-American History: 500 Years of Black Achievement by Tom Cowan and Jack Maguire (1994)
The African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country by Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West (2000): A history of the great African Americans of the 20th century, and how they have contributed to American life and culture.
America Is Me: 170 Fresh Questions and Answers on Black American History by Kennell Jackson (1996): An incredibly comprehensive book that answers approximately 200 questions about African-American history and culture. Discusses everything from black cowboys to black intellectual development, literary traditions, and the origins of jazz and rap music.
The Birth of Black America: The First African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown by Tim Hashaw (2007): The story of the voyage made by some 60 Africans who were stolen from a Spanish slave ship and brought to the young struggling colony of Jamestown in 1619.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to African American History by Melba J. Duncan (2003): A portrait of black life throughout history, with profiles on such familiar figures as Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Everybody Say Freedom: Everything You Need to Know About African-American History by Richard Newman and Marcia Sawyer (1996): An overview of African-American history from before the Middle Passage to the present day.
Legacy: Treasures of Black History edited by Thomas C. Battle and Donna M. Wells (2006): This volume showcases never-before published treasures of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. The Black experience and its impact on our nation's culture and character come alive in 12 chapters that sweep from ancient Africa and the slave trade to such key eras as the Civil War, Emancipation and Reconstruction; the Harlem Renaissance and the Jim Crow Era; and the modern Civil Rights and Black Power/Black Arts movements.
The making of African America: the four great migrations by Ira Berlin (2010): A four-hundred-year history of the African-American experience traces four pivotal migrations, including the violent relocation of one million slaves to the antebellum South and the movement of millions to industrial cities a century later.
1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African-American History by Jeffrey C. Stewart (1996): A comprehensive and entertaining account of the most significant events, individuals, and social movements of African-American history.
Revolutionary Citizens: African Americans, 1776-1804 by Daniel C. Littlefield (1997): Chronicles the lives of African-American heroes and heroines who both shaped and were shaped by the times in which they lived.
Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery by Charles Johnson and Patricia Smith (1998): This companion volume to the public television series is an extraordinary examination of slavery in America.
American Slavery, 1619-1877 by Peter Kolchin (2003): The author succinctly traces America's institution of slavery from its Colonial beginnings to the Reconstruction era.
Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South by Marie Jenkins Schwartz (2000): An examination of the everyday ways masters and slave parents negotiated for "control" over slave children. In the process she reconstructs the experiences of slaves in Virginia, South Carolina and Alabama, from birth, becoming "educated" to the world around them, reaching sexual maturity, and learning to work.
The First Passage: Blacks in the Americas, 1520-1617 by Colin A. Palmer (1995): This volume focuses on the earliest black presence in the Americas, i.e. the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America, explaining in some detail the development of the slave trade, the forced migration, and the enslavement of what is estimated to be between 10 million and 20 million people. It also examines the roles that blacks played in the New World in the16th century.
Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America by Ira Berlin (1998): Tracing the evolution of black society from the first arrivals of Africans in the early 17th century through the Revolution, this work reintegrates slaves into the history of the American working class and into the tapestry of the nation.
Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives From the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and William L. Andrews (1998): The five narratives in this collection represent the wide range of opinions and viewpoints of black thought in the 18th century.
Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Freedom edited by Ira Berlin, March Favreau and Steven F. Miller (1998): Transcripts of 124 former slaves interviewed in the 1920s and 1930s are accompanied by recently restored recorded interviews that have languished in the Library of Congress since 1941. Published in conjunction with the Library of Congress as a companion to a Smithsonian Productions' radio documentary.
The Wanderer: The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails by Erik Calonius (2006): Former Wall Street Journal reporter Calonius chronicles the illegal enterprise of slave trading, 38 years after it was outlawed, onboard a former luxury yacht, the Wanderer. In 1858 the Wanderer unloaded its illegal cargo of 400 African slaves onto Jekyll Island, Georgia . En route, 80 Africans died. The conspiracy was protected by a group of radical conspirators who wanted to expand slave territory and prompt the breakup of the Union. The author charts the subsequent media outcry and trials, and follows the Wanderer's history through the Civil War.
Books: The Underground Railroad
Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad by Ann Hagedorn (2002): The story of John Rankin and the heroes of the Ripley, Ohio line of the Underground Railroad.
Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America by Fergus M. Bordewich (2005): A compelling survey of the Underground Railroad from its earliest days in Revolution-era America through the Civil War and the extension of the vote to African Americans in 1870.
Hidden in Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard (1999): Reveals for the first time the secret codes used in slave quilt patterns that served as maps to escape on the Underground Railroad - suggesting that there was an organized African-American resistance movement that predated the Abolitionist crusade.
I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad by Karolyn Smardz Frost (2006): In this remarkable account of the Underground Railroad, the author retraces the journey of a runaway slave from the Ohio River Valley all the way to Canada, depicting a truly international antislavery movement.
Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory edited by David W. Blight (2006): How much of the Underground Railroad is real, how much legend and mythology, how much invention? This volume attempts to answer this question and place it within the context of slavery, emancipation and its aftermath.
Books: Civil Rights
American Nightmare: The History of Jim Crow by Jerrold M. Packard (2002): Details the institution of segregation and exposes a system that governed nearly every element of life for African Americans and forced them to submit to the white majority.
At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Philip Dray (2002): A hard-hitting cultural history that balances moral indignation with a sound understanding of history and politics.
Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Laws That Changed America by Nick Kotz (2005): Opposites in almost every way, and suspicious of each other at first, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. were thrust together in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Both men sensed a historic opportunity and began a delicate dance of accommodation that moved them, and the entire nation, toward the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Drawing on a wealth of newly available sources, the author provides a dramatic narrative, rich in dialogue, to present this momentous period with thrilling immediacy.
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch (1988): An unsurpassed portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s rise to greatness, illuminating the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, maneuvers, betrayals and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder. Branch continues the story of the Civil Rights movement in two successive volumes, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-1965 (1998) and At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 (2006).
Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South edited by Wiliam Chafe and others (2001): Drawing on 1,200 interviews and in-depth research conducted by the Behind the Veil project at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, tells how it was really like to live under the Jim Crow laws.
Stride toward freedom: the Montgomery story by Martin Luther King, Jr. (c1958, 2010): A chronicle of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, describing the plans and problems of a nonviolent campaign, reprisals by the white community, and the eventual attainment of desegregated city bus service. Part of the King Legacy series.
The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow by Donnie Williams and Wayne Greenhaw (2006): An examination of the depth of involvement of ordinary black folks in the Montgomery bus boycott and their brave resistance to Jim Crow. Although popular culture highlights the role of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, the authors introduce some lesser-known figures who also played crucial roles.
We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney, and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi by Seth Cagin and Philip Dray (2006): This incredible story - the basis for the movie Mississippi Burning - examines the crucial campaign for civil rights in Mississippi, which resulted in the 1964 murder of three freedom workers.
Books: Blacks in the Military
American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military From the Revolution to Desert Storm by Gail Buckley (2001): Profiles of black soldiers, from Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell, and the roles they and others have played throughout American history.
Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2004): The story of the first all-African American tank battalion to see combat in World War II, documenting how its members struggled with racial discrimination in spite of achievements that resulted in their emergence as one of the war's most highly decorated units.
Soldiers of Freedom: An Illustrated History of African Americans in the Armed Forces by Kai Wright (2002): Using primarily military photos from the National Archives and the Library of Congress, Wright depicts African Americans' range of service, from the routine to the heroic. A moving tribute to the essential and often unsung contributions of African-American soldiers through every generation.
Books: Race Relations
The birth of Black America: the first African Americans and the pursuit of freedom at Jamestown by Tim Hashaw (2007): A rich account of the first Africans who arrived in Jamestown in 1619 aboard the "Black Mayflower." Award-winning investigative reporter Hashaw digs deeply into primary sources to detail how Jamestown's first Africans were shipped from Portuguese Angola, pirated by English privateers, and transported to Jamestown to play a remarkable role in the settlement's growth.
The breakthrough: politics and race in the age of Obama by Gwen Ifill (2009): Veteran journalist Ifill sheds new light on the impact of Barack Obama's presidential victory and introduces the emerging African American politicians forging a new path to political power.
Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy by James M. Rose and Alice Eichholz (2003): Designed with both the novice and the professional researcher in mind, this text provides reference resources and introduces a methodology specific to investigating African-American genealogy. Information is organized by state. Within each state are listings for resources such as state archives, census records, military records, newspapers and manuscript collections.
Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs (2001): Written by a leading African American professional genealogist, this book explains everything you need to get started, including: where to search close to home, where to write for records, how to make the best use of libraries and the Internet, and how to organize research, analyze historical documents and write the family history.
A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage by Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom (2003): Provides a three-part approach to researching family history. Part one covers the post-Civil War era to the present, part two focuses on pre-Civil War research, and part three offers case studies of how three African American families traced their ancestry.
Books: Speeches & Essays
Classical Black Nationalism: From the American Revolution to Marcus Garvey edited by Wilson Jeremiah Moses (1996): Traces the evolution of black nationalist thought through several phases, from the late 1700s to the 1920s, incorporating a wide range of black nationalist perspectives. Included are African American capitalists Paul Cuffe and James Forten, Robert Alexander Young from his "Ethiopian Manifesto", and more well-known voices such as those of Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois.
Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900 edited by Philip S. Foner and Robert James Branham (1998): An anthology of over 150 orations of both well-known and lesser-known African Americans. Each speech is presented with an introduction that puts it into context.
Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches edited by Catherine Ellis and Stephen Drury Smith (2007): A remarkable historical record - from the back-to-Africa movement to the Civil Rights era, to the rise of black nationalism and beyond. Includes speeches by Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thurgood Marshall, Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King Jr., Shirley Chisholm, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Julian Bond.
A Wealth of Wisdom: Legendary African American Elders Speak edited by Camille O. Cosby and Renee Poussaint (2004): Highlighted by stunning portraits, this is a collection of reminscences, personal anecdotes and words of wisdom from 54 African-American leaders over the age of 70. Includes Ossie Davis, David Dinkins, Dick Gregory, Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, Gordon Parks, Katherine Dunahm, Ruby Dee and Ray Charles.
Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-Tales From the Gulf States by Zora Neale Hurston (2001): Nearly 500 African American folktales are presented that bring forth narratives focused on faith, love, family, slavery and more. A true celebration of the black oral tradition.
From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore edited by Daryl Cumber Dance (2002): Celebrates rumors, riddles, recipes, song lyrics, sermons, art objects and stories. The anthology offers a compendious assortment folklore and commentary on African-American culture.
The African-American Bookshelf: 50 Must Reads From Before the Civil War Through Today by Clifford Mason (2003): Covers everything from politics and sports to culture, military history and the arts.
Books: The Harlem Renaissance
A Beautiful Pageant: African American Theatre, Drama and Performance in the Harlem Renaissance, 1910-1927 by David Krasner (2002): The Harlem Renaissance, from 1910 to 1927, was the time when Harlem came alive with theater, drama, sports, dance and politics. Looking at events as diverse as the choreography of Aida Walker and Ethel Waters, the writing of Zora Neale Hurston and the musicals of the period, the author paints a vibrant portrait of those years.
Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America by David Driskell, David Levering Lewis and Deborah Willis Ryan (1987): An introduction to the visual artists who participated in the phenomenon of the Harlem Renaissance.
African American Masters: Highlights From the Smithsonian American Art Museum by Gwen Everett (2003): Presents works from the renowned collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation's greatest repository of African American art.
Wake Up Our Souls: A Celebration of Black American Artists by Tonya Bolden (2004): Highlights influential and important 20th century Black artists, from the early part of the century to the Harlem Renaissance to the contemporary art scene.
Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit by Suzanne E. Smith (1999): The story of Motown - as both musical style and entrepreneurial phenomenon - and of its intrinsic relationship to the politics and culture of Detroit. As the author traces the evolution of Motown from a small record company firmly rooted in Detroit's black community to an international music industry giant, she gives the reader a clear look at cultural politics at the grassroots level.
Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and the Rise and Fall of American Soul by Craig Werner (2004): In this cultural history, a critically acclaimed music writer conducts a journey through the lives of three leading musical artists and the ways they used their gospel music training and the vision it provided to transform American popular music.
Motown: Music, Money, Sex and Power by Gerald Posner (2002): A behind-the-scenes history of the legendary music label, with profiles of the artists - many from Detroit's inner-city projects - who achieved fame.
One Nation Under a Groove: Motown and American Culture by Gerald Early (1995): The story of the cultural and historical conditions that made Motown Records possible, including the dramatic shifts in American popular music of the time, changes in race relations and racial attitudes, and the rise of a black urban population.
Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry, the Untold Story of an American Legend by Scott Reynolds Nelson (2006): The ballad "John Henry" is the most recorded folk song in American history, and John Henry - the mighty railroad man who could blast through rock faster than a steam drill - is a towering figure in our culture. But for over a century, no one knew who the original John Henry was, or even if there was a real John Henry. In this work, the author tells the true story of the man behind the iconic American hero, relating the poignant tale of a young Virginia convict who died working on one of the most dangerous enterprises of the time, the first rail route through the Appalachian Mountains. He also captures the life of the ballad, tracing the song's evolution from the first printed score by blues legend W. C. Handy, to Carl Sandburg's use of the ballad to become the first "folk singer," to the more well known version by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Carrying Jackie's Torch: The Players Who Integrated Baseball - and America by Steve Jacobson (2007): The story of the African-American players who followed Jackie Robinson's lead into the major leagues. Portraits range from stars like Hank Aaron to lesser-knowns such as Mudcat Grant and Ed Charles.
Uneven Lies: The Heroic Story of African-Americans in Golf by Pete McDaniel (2000): Uncovers Black pioneers in the world of golf and shares and important chapter of Black history that has remained under wraps.
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey C. Ward (2004): Jack Johnson (1878-1946) shocked white America by becoming the first black heavyweight boxing champion - and by refusing to live by the racist social codes of American society. In this biography, Ward describes Johnson's defense of the title against the various "great white hopes" sent to challenge him, his relationships with white women that resulted in the federal government prosecuting him under the Mann act, and his exile in Europe. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.
DVDs and Videocassettes: Nonfiction
African American Lives (2006, DVD): A compelling combination of storytelling and science, this series uses genealogy, oral histories, family stories and DNA to trace roots of several accomplished African Americans down through American history and back to Africa.
Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (1993, DVD): Documentary telling of the struggle of Black visual artists in the 1920s and 1930s to show and sell their work. It describes the influence of the Harmon Foundation in creating an artistic home where Black visual artists flourished and developed a wide range of talent.
Black Indians: An American Story (2000, DVD): This film explores the issue of racial identity among Native and African Americans and examines the coalescence of these two groups in American history. Narrated by James Earl Jones.
Fatal Flood (2001, Videocassette): In the spring of 1927, after weeks of incessant rains, the Mississippi River went on a rampage from Cairo, Illinois, to New Orleans, inundating hundreds of towns, killing as many as a thousand people and leaving a million homeless. In Greenville, Mississippi, efforts to contain the river pitted the majority black population against an aristocratic plantation family, the Percys - and the Percys against themselves.
The Fight (2004, DVD): The story of the historic match fought in 1938 between African American boxer Joe Louis and his German opponent Max Schmeling.
4 Little Girls (1998, DVD): On Sunday morning, September 15, 1963, dynamite planted by the Ku Klux Klan, exploded in the building. Under the fallen debris, the bodies of four girls were found. Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley died because of the color of their skin. Features archival film footage, home photographs, comments by surviving family members, and interviews with local and national figures of the time.
A Great Day in Harlem (1995, DVD): In August, 1958, in front of a Harlem brownstone, first-time photographer Art Kane assembled 57 of the greatest jazz stars of all time and snapped a picture that would live forever. This fascinating documentary examines the lives of the musicians who showed up that day to make history. Narrated by Quincy Jones.
A History of Black Achievement in America (2005, DVD): Presented by James Avery, this original series documents Black achievement in American history, its defining role in the growth of a country, and its influence on current events.
Jazz (2000, DVD): Ten episodes tracing the history of jazz from its roots in the African-American community of New Orleans to its heights and continuing presence. Directed by Ken Burns.
King: Man of Peace in a Time of War (2007, DVD): This film features exclusive interviews with Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell and others, providing fresh insight into the life and personality of the late civil rights leader, and documenting the work King did in attempting to bring peace to people during the turmoil of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry (1991, DVD): Chronicles the history of the Boston-based Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry, comprised of African American soldiers, which fought during the Civil War. The film Glory is based on their story.
The Murder of Emmitt Till (2003, DVD): Story of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, a black boy who whistled at a white woman in a Mississippi grocery store in 1955 became a powerful catalyst for the civil rights movement. Till's killers were apprehended and quickly acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury, then proceeded to sell their story to a journalist. Three months after Till's body was recovered, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War (2004, DVD): The story of the tumultuous years after the Civil War during which America grappled with how to rebuild itself, how to successfully bring the South back into the Union and, at the same time, how former slaves could be brought into the life of the country.
Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad (1990, DVD): Using archival films, photos and recollections, this film relates the efforts made to get fugitive slaves out of the South at the time of the Civil War.
Slave Ship (1998, DVD): Dramatic re-creations and interviews are used to tell the story of a young man who, in 1839, was kidnapped in his native Africa, sold into slavery and while being transported on the merchant schooner "Amistad," led a mutiny which saved him and the other imprisoned Africans from slavery.
Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002, DVD): The story of the Funk Brothers, the group of musicians that played on every single hit Motown record from the label's beginnings to 1972.
Unchained Memories: Readings From the Slave Narratives (2003, DVD): When the Civil War ended in 1865, more than four million slaves were set free. By the late 1930's, 100,000 former slaves were still alive. In the midst of the Great Depression, journalists and writers traveled the country to record the memories of the last generation of African-Americans born into bondage. Over 2,000 interviews were transcribed as spoken, in the vernacular of the time, to form a unique historical record.
Underground Railroad (1998, DVD): This exciting documentary details the struggles of escaped slaves during the Abolitionist movement. Hosted by Alfre Woodard.
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2005, DVD): The story of Jack Johnson, who was the first African American boxer to win the most coveted title in all of sports - Heavyweight Champion of the World. A companion to the book, Unforgivable Blackness, by Geoffrey C. Ward.
Voices of Civil Rights (2006, DVD): From the fearless resolve of a single woman. to the remarkable voice of thousands marching, this documentary offers a stunning overview of one of America's greatest defining periods.
We Shall Not Be Moved (2001, DVD): Examines the American Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of African-American churches. These churches provided moral and spiritual support as well as being critical and strategic centers for the movement. Narrated by Ossie Davis.
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006, DVD): Spike Lee's "Four Acts" documents distinct perspectives on the pivotal events that preceded and followed Hurricane Katrina's passage through New Orleans in 2005 - a catastrophe during which the divide between race and class lines has never been more pronounced.
Whispers of Angels: The Story of the Underground Railroad (2004, DVD): The story of white Quaker abolitionist Thomas Garrett and William Still, a free, black anti-slavery activist, who "conducted" thousands of fugitives to freedom through the "corridor of courage," through Maryland's Eastern Shore to the streets of Philadelphia.
With All Deliberate Speed (2005, DVD): On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education that the concept of "separate but equal" school segregation was unconstitutional. This film explores the history and legacy of that legal decision. Narrated by Jeffrey Wright.
DVDs: Feature Films
Amistad (1998, DVD): Chronicles the 1839 revolt on board a slave ship bound for America. Much of the story involves the courtroom drama about the slave who led the revolt. Starring Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Djimon Hounsou.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974, DVD): Cicely Tyson ages from 19 to 110 in the role of Jane Pittman, a fictional African-American woman whose life began in slavery and ended at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Based on the book by Ernest Gaines. Starring Cicely Tyson.
Daughters of the Dust (1992, DVD): A drama about the unique Gullah community which was populated by West African slaves brought to this small island near South Carolina at the turn of the century to work in the indigo trade. Starring Cora Lee Day and Cheryl Lynn Bruce. Written and directed by Julie Dash, based on her book, Daughters of the Dust.
Do the Right Thing (1989, DVD): On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. Starring Danny Aiello and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Spike Lee.
Freedom Song (2000, DVD): In this story that focuses on the grassroots efforts of a Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to combat the entrenched racism of the segregated South, a father and son disagree on the importance of the civil rights movement. Starring Danny Glover and Vondie Curtis-Hall.
Get on the Bus (1996, DVD): Spike Lee's film follows a group of black men who take a charter bus from Los Angeles to the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Starring Ossie Davis, Andre Braugher and Charles S. Dutton.
Glory (1990, DVD): Two idealistic young Bostonians lead the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, America's first Black regiment in the Civil War. Starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman.
Glory Road (2006, DVD): Don Haskins, a future Hall of Fame coach at tiny Texas Western University, bucks convention by simply starting the best players he can find: history's first all-African American lineup. Starring Josh Lucas and Derek Luke.
Heat Wave (1991, DVD): Set during the Watts riots of the mid-60s, this film follows the story of Los Angeles Times reporter Robert Richardson who was the only journalist on staff able to cover the story, since white reporters were unable to gain access to the area and the rioters. Starring Blair Underwood, Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones.
In the Heat of the Night (1967, DVD): The winner of the 1967 Oscar for Best Picture is set in a small Mississippi town where an unusual murder has been committed. When a well-dressed northern African-American police detective from Philadelphia arrives on the scene, the town sheriff grudgingly allows him to help in the investigation. Starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger.
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999, DVD): Dramatization of the career of Dorothy Dandridge, who, against the odds, beat out many more famous rivals for the role of Carmen Jones, becoming the first black woman ever nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. Starring Halle Berry and Klaus Maria Brandauer.
A Lesson Before Dying (1999, DVD): A frustrated teacher in a southern town, whose education is being underutilized, finds his own purpose in helping bring meaning to the last days of a young man due to be executed. In teaching one person to die with dignity, he redeems himself. Based on the novel, A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines. Starring Don Cheadle and Cicely Tyson.
The Long Walk Home (1991, DVD): Whoopi Goldberg stars as Odessa Cotter, a quietly dignified woman who works as a housekeeper .When Odessa honors the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott by walking an exhausting nine miles to and from work, Miriam offers her a ride, defying her racist husband and the powerful White Citizens Council. Also stars Sissy Spacek.
Malcolm X (1992, DVD): The life of Malcolm X, who through his religious conversion to Islam, found the strength to rise up from a criminal past to become an influential civil rights leader. Starring Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett.
Miss Evers' Boys (1997, DVD): In 1932, Nurse Eunice Evers is invited to work with doctors on the "Tuskegee Experiment" to study the effects of syphilis and is faced with a terrible dilemma when she learns the patients are denied treatment that could cure them. Starring Alfre Woodard and Laurence Fishburne.
Once Upon a Time - When We Were Colored (1996, DVD): Based on the book (Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored) by Clifton Taulbert which tells the story of growing up in the segregation-era South, in a community that faced adversity and held together with amazing dignity and grace. Starring Al Freeman Jr. and Phylicia Rashad.
Race to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad (1994, DVD): Using historical fact as background for a fictional adventure tale, the film tells the story of slaves on a brutal antebellum North Carolina plantation who make a daring escape, travelling northward by means of the Underground Railroad. Starring Courtney Vance and Janet Bailey.
A Raisin in the Sun (1961, DVD): After a successful run on Broadway, Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning play came to film offering a snapshot of an urban, working-class African-American family at a turning point in their lives. Starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee.
Remember the Titans (2001, DVD): A drama of forced high school integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. Starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton.
Roots (1977, DVD): An adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots, in which he traces his family's history from the mid-18th century when one of his ancestors, Kunta Kinte, was captured and sold into slavery. Follows the struggle for freedom that began with the boy's abduction to America and continued throughout the generations that followed. Starring LeVar Burton, CIcely Tyson, John Amos and many others.
Separate But Equal (1991, DVD): Based on the ground-breaking Brown vs. the Board of Education case, this film follows a young Thurgood Marshall as a lawyer who argues the lawsuit before the Supreme Court. Starring Burt Lancaster and Sidney Poitier.
Soul of the Game (1996, DVD): The story of the rivalry between Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson to see who would be the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. Starring Delroy Lindo, Mykelti Williamson and Blair Underwood.
Sounder (1972, DVD): Set during the 1930s, this is the tale of a family of black sharecroppers struggling to survive during the Great Depression. Based on the novel, Sounder, by William Armstrong. Starring Cicley Tyson and Paul Winfield.
The Tuskegee Airmen (1995, DVD): Based on a true story, this film chronicles the experiences of the first African-American fighter pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. The movie follows the airmen from their initial training at Tuskegee, Alabama, through their combat assignments during World War II. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Courtney Vance and Andre Braugher.
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- Putumayo Presents American Blues
- Putumayo Presents Louisiana Gumbo
- Putumayo Presents Mali to Memphis: An African American Odyssey
- Roots of the Blues
- Standing in the Shadows of Motown
- Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs, 1960-1966
- Women Sing the Blues
Federal Writers' Project: Personal narratives of people who experienced slavery were collected between 1936 and 1938 as part of a Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Selective narratives are available on the following web sites:
African American History Month: This page is brought to you by the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Gallery of Art - as well as several other government bodies - and provides the history, images and many notable links related to African American History Month.
African American World: A guide to African American history and culture.
The Internet African American History Challenge: An interactive quiz that helps sharpen your knowledge of African American History. Also provides profiles of some important 19th century African Americans.
Negro Spirituals: This site is devoted to traditional African American spirituals. Also Includes information about early Gospel songs.