Tag Archives: Black History

Juneteenth

Juneteenth

June 19th is Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery. Why this day? On June 19, 1865 Union soldiers arrived in Texas and spread the word that President Lincoln had delivered his Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863…two YEARS earlier. Back in those days, it took news A LOT longer to travel! Plus, in this case, there were people who deliberately kept the news from traveling. Here is the timeline:

1. January 1, 1863 The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order made by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. It declared slaves in the Confederacy free. It affected some slaves, but not all of them.

2. June 19, 1865 Freedom Day in Texas – Texas was very remote back then and news traveled slow. It also took a long time for the Union army to makes its way to Texas. On June 19, a Union General read out loud “General Order No. 3”, announcing the total emancipation of slaves in Texas. The day became known as “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”) and is widely celebrated today in Texas and across the country, as an important day commemorating the freeing of slaves in America.

3. December 6, 1865 The Thirteenth Amendment This amendment to the Constitution completely abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as the punishment of a crime.


Books:

Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Click on a book jacket below to request a book or download it. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations, text a librarian at 317 333-6877, or leave a comment.

Abraham Lincoln the Great EmancipatorBen and the Emancipation ProclamationDays of JubileeEmancipation Proclamation Lincoln and the Dawn of LibertyEmancipation ProclamationFifty Cents and a Dream Young Booker T. WashingtonFreedom's Gifts a Juneteenth StoryHope's GiftHow Abraham Lincoln Ended SlaveryJuneteenthJuneteenthJuneteenthJuneteenthJuneteenthJuneteenth JamboreeLift Every Voice and SingThe Story of JuneteenthWhen Were the Slaves First Set Free After the Civil War
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Read Thru History: Black History Timeline 1954-1968

Read Thru History: Black History Timeline 1954-1968

To the Mountaintop was written by Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Charlayne was one of the first black students admitted to the University of Georgia in 1961. In this book, Charlayne tells her own story as well as the stories of other people, children and young adults like her, who played very important roles in the Civil Rights Movement. It is an interesting book because she was so young. We can listen to her own story in her own words. Eyewitness accounts help us experience an event firsthand. We can take a moment to walk in someone else’s shoes. By reading the accounts of people who who were alive at the time, we can empathize with their suffering and understand why the Civil Rights Movement was so important to ensure their safety and freedom.

In To the Mountaintop, one of the people Charlayne talks about is Ruby Bridges, the first black child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ruby was in elementary school, Charlayne was in college, both were brave enough to do something first. Ruby, in particular, became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. An icon is a person or Problem We All Live With painting by Norman Rockwellthing that represents something bigger. Ruby was a little girl, but became a symbol of the struggle for Civil Rights for all black people in our country. One of the things that helped make Ruby an icon is this painting by American painter Norman Rockwell. The painting shows Ruby being escorted to school by four US Marshals. Four. It took four law enforcement officers to protect her. That is really hard to understand; that a child would need escorted to school like that. The painting is called “The Problem We All Live With“. In 2011 President Barack Obama arranged to borrow the painting from the Norman Rockwell museum. He had it hung outside the Oval Office and invited Ruby to come see it. Watch this video carefully to hear President Obama say something important:

“I think it’s fair to say that if it hadn’t been for you guys, I might not be here and we wouldn’t be looking at this together.”

He said something very similar during his campaign for President in 2007.

“I’m here because somebody marched. I’m here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants.” ~Speech, Selma Voting Rights March Commemoration in Selma, Alabama, March 4, 2007

Listed below is a timeline of important events of the Civil Rights Movement. These events culminated with the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. For each event a few books are listed, both fiction and non-fiction, that bring the events and people to life. Take a book walk through history to learn about these fascinating, determined, brave people who stood together so no one stood alone.


1954: Brown Vs. Board of Education was a landmark United States Supreme Court case. The Court declared state laws allowing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. It was a major victory and important turning point for the Civil Rights Movement. The decision by the Court was unanimous (9–0). Unanimous means all of the supreme court justices agreed.


Brown v. Board of Education a Fight for Simple JusticeRemember the Journey to School Integration

1955: The Lynching of Emmett Till

Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly offending a white woman in a grocery store. His killers were acquitted. The trial and acquittal drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African-Americans in the United States. Emmett’s death became a rallying cry that helped people all over the country realize the critical importance of the Civil Rights Movement.


Midnight Without a Moon

1955-1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a protest against racially segregated seats on the public buses in Montgomery, Alabama. It sounds very strange today, but back then it was actually illegal for a black person and a white person to sit next to each other on a bus. The bus riding rules up to this point stated that African Americans could not be hired as bus drivers, had to ride in seats at the back of the bus, and had to give up their seat to a white person.The boycott began when Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person.


Rosa Parks: My StoryRosaThe Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in PhotographsClaudette Colvin Twice Toward Justice12 Incredible Facts about the Montgomery Bus BoycottBack of the Bus

1957: Little Rock Central High School Integration

The Little Rock Nine was a group of African American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court had already unanimously said in Brown v. Board of Education that all laws establishing segregated schools were unconstitutional, the students were initially prevented from entering the school. President Eisenhower then sent the 101st Airborne and the Arkansas National Guard to escort the students to school.


The Lions of Little RockThe Little Rock nine: a primary source exploration of the battle for school integrationThe story of the Little Rock Nine and school desegregation in photographsLittle Rock girl 1957 : how a photograph changed the fight for integration

1960: Greensboro, North Carolina Sit Ins

The Greensboro Sit-ins were a series of nonviolent protests against the segregated seating at lunch counters in restaurants. In Greensboro, North Carolina, four men sat down at the all-white lunch counter but no one would take their order. They sat quietly until the counter closed. The next day, joined by more people, they did the same thing. More people joined each day at more restaurants and in more cities. Sales at the boycotted stores went way down and gradually, the stores abandoned their segregation rules. Similar protests helped change segregation policies at libraries, beaches, parks, swimming pools and museums. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally passed, it ordered desegregation of all public places.


Sit-in : how four friends stood up by sitting downFreedom on the MenuMake a ChangeThese HandsSeeds of Freedom

1960: Ruby Bridges New Orleans, Louisiana

Ruby Bridges was the first black child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960. Bridges and her mother were escorted to school by four federal marshals for the entire school year.


The Story of Ruby BridgesThrough My Eyes

1961: Freedom Riders

Freedom Riders were people who rode on buses to protest segregated seating. The United States Supreme Court had already ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional, but the law was not enforced. In protest, mixed racial groups rode the buses together to challenge the rules. The riders drew attention to the states that were not following federal law.


Night on FirePreaching to the ChickensThe story of the civil rights freedom rides in photographsShe Stood for Freedom

1963: Birmingham Children’s March

Birmingham Children’s March was a march by hundreds of school children in Birmingham, Alabama, May 2–5, 1963. The children left school and walked downtown to talk to the mayor about segregation. Many children were arrested. Fire hoses and police dogs were used to stop the march. This event compelled President Kennedy to publicly support federal civil rights legislation and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.


The Youngest MarcherWe've Got a JobBirmingham 1963When the Children Marched

1963: March on Washington

The March on Washington took place in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to stand up for civil rights for African Americans. At the march, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. The march helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Voices from the March on WashingtonAs Good As AnybodyWe MarchI Have a DreamMarch On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the WorldMartin's Dream DayThe March on Washington Primary Source ExplorationThe Story of the Civil Rights March on Washington in PhotographsMarching for Freedom

1963: 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a bomb beneath the steps at the church, killing four little girls and injuring 22 others.


A Thousand Never EversThe Watsons Go to BirminghamBirmingham Sunday

1964: Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.


Glory BeThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 a Primary Source ExplorationFreedom SummerFreedom Summer

1965: Voting Marches & the Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Selma to Montgomery Voting Marches were three protest marches along the 54-mile highway from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, Alabama. The marches were organized to support African-American citizens who wanted to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The marches contributed to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.


The Story of the Selma Voting Rights Marches in PhotographsChild of the Civil Rights MovementBlood BrotherTurning 15 on the Road to FreedomRevolutionLillian's Right to VoteGranddaddy's TurnBecause They Marched

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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Black History: Scientists and Inventors

Black History: Scientists and Inventors

All About Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C. J. Walker is recognized as America’s first female self-made millionaire. Walker made her fortune inventing and selling beauty and hair products for black women through her company, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

Here are two contributions from African American inventors. Both are Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower Sarah Breedlove Walker, better known as Madam C.J. Walker, was a central figure in the development of the African-American market for commercial beauty products. She developed a formula for hair growth and a steel straightening comb and ointment. Starting with door-to-door sales of these products, she built a business empire. Not only did the business bring her personal success, but it also opened up new job opportunities for African-American women as sales agents and Beauty Culturists.

Traffic Signal – Garrett Morgan worked to bring order to busy streets. In 1922 he observed an accident. After seeing the confusion, Morgan improved the stationary Stop and Go lights by adding a warning pause so that drivers knew the light was about to change. An African American, Morgan had difficulty promoting his ideas.


Websites, Activities & Printables:

Biography in Context is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Login using your library card number. Biography in Context will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about African American scientists and inventors.


Books:

Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Click on a book jacket below to request a book or download it. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations, text a librarian at 317 333-6877, or leave a comment.

National Georgraphic Kids George Washington CarverWhat Color Is My World?Mae JemisonAfrican American InventorsBrilliant African American Scientists 9 Exceptional LivesBlack InventorsBlack Stars African American InventorsCharles DrewDaniel Hale WilliamsGarrett MorganGeorge Washington CarverInspiring African American Inventors 9 Inspiring LivesLewis LatimerMadam C.J. Walker Inventor and MillionaireTicktock Banneker's ClockUrban Biologist Danielle Lee

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black scientists and inventors, 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.

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Black History: Painters & Artists

Black History: Painters & Artists

Heart and Soul

African American artist Ashley Bryan was born in 1923 and grew up in the Bronx in New York City. When he was a little boy his parents noticed right away that he loved to draw and paint and make things. They did everything they could to make sure he had art supplies to use to create things. After he graduated from high school he wanted to go to college and study art. This would have been in the time right before World War II, well before the Civil Rights Movement. Ashley interviewed for a spot at an art institute. He says in his autobiography Ashley Bryan Words to My Life’s Song,”

The interviewer stated that mine was the best portfolio that he had seen. However, he also informed me that it would be a waste to give a scholarship to a colored person.

In his book, Ashley explains how he listened to good advice from his parents. They told him to not let anyone or anything ever stop him from doing what he loves. Ashley persevered. He attended the Cooper Union School of Art and Engineering and Columbia University. He studied art in France and Germany too.

Ashley has taught art, written and illustrated books and created countless beautiful things that you can see in this book like stained glass windows, paintings, sculptures, puppets and more. There is one picture in this book that shows Ashley at home in a room full of his creations. It’s like looking at an I Spy picture of wonderful things. I would love to wonder through his studio, pull up a stool and begin creating something. When you read this book written in his own words, you’ll realize that if you did walk into his studio, that is exactly what he would want you to do!

Listed below are books, websites & databases that will help you learn more about African American Art and African American artists.


Websites, Activities, Printables:

Biography in Context is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Biography in Context will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about African American Artists.​


Books:

Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Click on a book jacket below to request a book or download it. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations, text a librarian at 317 333-6877, or leave a comment.

A Splash of Red the Life and Art of Horace PippinEtched in ClayGordon ParksRadiant ChildIt Jes Happened When Bill Traylor Started to DrawArt from the Heart Folk Artist Clementine HunterDraw What You SeeDrawing in the Sand a Story of African American ArtFaith RinggoldGoing Back Home an Artist Returns to the SouthRomare BeardenSewing Stories Harriet Powers Journey from Slave to ArtistWake Up Our Souls a Collection of African American ArtistsWords with Wings a Collection of African American Poetry and ArtJerry PinkneyCome Look with Me the Story of African American Art for ChildrenStarting Home the Story of Horace Pippin, PainterStitching Stars the Story Quilts of Harriet PowersStory Painter the Life of Jacob LawrenceDave the PotterHenry Ossawa Tanner

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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Black History: Musicians & Singers

Black History: Musicians & Singers

Sweethearts of Rhythm

The Sweethearts of Rhythm is the story of a real all girl band that traveled around the country in the 1930s and 1940s. The band was unusual because it was all girls and because it was integrated.

One reason the girls got this chance is World War II. A lot of men were fighting in the war so it was easier for a girl band to get gigs. Sometimes the band had trouble performing because the band was integrated. When the band played in the South they had to sleep on their tour bus because it was illegal there for black and white people to be in the same restaurant or hotel. Sometimes the girls had to wear disguises to hide the fact that their skin color was not all the same.

The author tells the story of the Sweethearts in poems. She uses the rhythms of jazz music in her poetry. Read the poems, look at the great pictures and then don’t forget to read the author’s note in the back.

From the 1870s to the 1950s, Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis served as the focal point of Indianapolis’s black community. The black population in Indianapolis surged in the early 1900s as blacks migrated to the city from the South. Indiana Avenue businesses included restaurants, saloons, grocery stores, clothing stores, hair stylists, barber shops, a hotel, and more. Some of the most well known businesses on the Avenue were the Indianapolis Recorder (a black newspaper) and the Walker Building (which housed a casino and theatre, offices, a beauty college, drugstore, and restaurant.) In the 1930s, the Avenue’s businesses were focused on food and entertainment. By 1940 there were more than twenty-five jazz clubs on the Avenue where both national talent and local legends played. (from The Indiana Historical Society 2011 Indiana Black History Challenge)

I wonder if the Sweethearts of Rhythm ever played there? Here is a movie poster of a different performer from the 1950s advertising a Rhythm and Blues show in Indianapolis. The poster is an Artifact at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Lula Reed Poster – Lula Reed began to demonstrate her singing ability in church in the late 1940s. With the help of well-known gospel singer Harold Boggs, Reed débuted with the Sonny Thompson Orchestra in 1951. Achieving two hits on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues Chart, she performed for audiences throughout the country. On one of these trips, she performed for African American audiences in Naptown, a nickname for Indianapolis, at the Rhythm and Blues Show in the late 1950s.


Websites, Activities & Printables:

Biography in Context is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Biography in Context will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about The Sweethearts of Rhythm and other African American Musicians.​


Books:

Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Click on a book jacket below to request a book or download it. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations, text a librarian at 317 333-6877, or leave a comment.

A Horn for LouisBeyonceDuke EllingtonI'm Going to SingJazzJust a Lucky So and SoLil WayneRay CharlesTrombone ShortyWalk Together ChildrenA Band of AngelsAin't Nothing But a ManAwesome African American Rock and Soul MusiciansBaby FloBessie Smith and the Night RidersDuke Ellington's Nutcracker SuiteElla FitzgeraldFree at LastHarlem's Little BlackbirdHow Sweet the SoundIn the Hollow of Your Hand Slave LullabiesIncredible African American Jazz MusiciansJazz A-B-ZJazz Age JosephineJazz Day the Making of a Famous PhotographJazz on a Saturday NightJosephine's DreamLike a Bird the Art of the American Slave SongLouis Armstrong King of JazzMister and Lady Day Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved HerNobody Gonna Turn Me RoundThe Voice That Changed a NationWhat Marian Sang

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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