Since 1976 Black History Month has been nationally celebrated every February as a time to recognize the accomplishments and heritage of African Americans. Originally called Negro History Week in 1926, it was begun by historian Carter G. Woodson who wanted Black history to be studied in American schools. The month of February was chosen because it included the birthday of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, born in February 1818.
The Monrovia Public Library has a large collection of works by and about African Americans. Fiction and non-fiction, history, biography, literature, music and cultural and social history can be found. Whether looking for something specific and using the computer catalog, seeking reference help from the librarians or browsing the shelves, there are wonderful books that inform Black History Month.
A child of parents who came north during the Great Migration when African Americans escaped the toxic environment of the south, author Toni Morrison embraced careers as a college teacher and book editor before she was recognized for her majestic writing. Black characters are at the center of her many novels which have earned the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for literature. Morrison’s works are noted for their complex narratives, feminist orientation and focus on the African American experience.
Her first novel The Bluest Eye about a young girl who thinks her troubled life would be better if she had blue eyes did not gain much recognition, but her next two Sula and Song of Solomon, a drama about ordinary people, gained attention. Considered one of her best novels, Beloved is a magical and supernatural story of a slave who tries to kill her children rather than see them live in bondage. Her most recent title is God Help a Child, about a dark-skinned woman rejected by her light mother.
Find Toni Morrison’s books in print, on CD and in e-book formats at the Monrovia Public Library.