For Kids

Read Through History: Black History Timeline to 1954


History homework can be overwhelming. It’s difficult to keep the people, places and dates straight. It's also hard 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 unfolded like a story. In fact, the book is written like an old woman talking. It’s like listening to your Grandmother's firm but comforting voice tell the story to help you hear the truth and talk through it.

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 to 1954. 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. To learn more black history, try:

1700s: The Colonial Period & the U.S. Revolution

Early 1800s: Slavery & the Underground Railroad

Late 1800s: The U.S. Civil War & Emancipation

Early 1900s: World War I, Harlem Renaissance & the Great Depression

Late 1900s to 1954: World War II

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.

~ IndyPL_CarrieW