Read Thru History: Black History Timeline to 1954

Read Thru History: Black History Timeline to 1954

Sometimes history homework can be overwhelming. It’s hard to keep the people and places and dates straight. It’s also hard sometimes because history can be very sad. It is hard to learn about things like slavery or the holocaust; to know that these things happened and that large numbers of people suffered unjustly. I really liked Heart and Soul because the history unfolds like a story. In fact, the book is written like an old lady talking. It’s like listening to your Grandmother explain it. It helps to have a firm but comforting voice tell the story to help us hear the truth and talk through it. This book also
has the BEST paintings by illustrator Kadir Nelson. This book is a good place to start to begin learning about African American history. Another great one is Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives & Dreams Brought to Life. In it, author and illustrator Ashley Bryan uses original slave auction and plantation artifacts to make his fictional stories come to life. This book was named a 2017 Newbery Medal Honor Book as well a 2017 Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book for both writing and illustration.

Listed below is a timeline of important events of early African American history. For each event a few books are listed, both fiction and non-fiction. Take a book walk through history to learn about these fascinating, determined, brave people who endured horrifying hardships during their long quest for freedom.


Colonial Period & the U.S. Revolution

ChainsAnswering the Cry for Freedom Stories of African-Americans and the American RevolutionNever ForgottenMumbet's Declaration of IndependenceFort Mose

Early 1800s

Slavery & the Underground Railroad

UndergroundFreedom in Congo SquareHenry's Freedom BoxMinty: a Story of Young Harriet TubmanMoses When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to FreedomPassenger on the PearlShow WaySojourner Truth's Step Stomp StrideWords Set Me FreeMaritchaThis Our Dark CountryDave the PotterCapital DaysQuilt's of Gee's Bend

Late 1800s

U.S. Civil War & Emancipation

Elijah of BuxtonBuffalo SoldiersBlack Stars of Civil War TimesDays of JubileeEmancipation ProclamationFree at Last Stories and Songs of the EmancipationTwo Friends Susan B. Anthony and Frederick DouglassAbraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass the Story Behind an American FriendshipAfrican Americans in the Civil WarAll Different NowPhilip Reid Saves the Statue of FreedomSteamboat School

Early 1900s

World War I 1914-1918, the Great Depression & the Harlem Renaissance

Mare's WarBud Not BuddyRoll of Thunder Hear My CryStella by StarlightHarlem HellfightersOne Last WordThe Mighty Miss MaloneWe Are the ShipSchools of Hope

Late 1900s to 1954

World War II 1939-1945

The Book ItchDaring Play How a Courageous Jackie Robinson Changed BaseballThe Tuskegee AirmenThe Wind FlyersThe Port Chicago 50The Girl from the Tar Paper School

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.

WeNeedDiverseBooks LogoTo get young people engaged, one of the things they need is to see themselves in books. It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books, because that encourages us to read in a different way and encourages us to write more.” ~ Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott Founder of the African American Read-in #weneeddiversebooks

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