antique portrait of African-American woman

African-American History Month Books

February 2020

In 1986, Congress passed Public Law 99-244, which designated February as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month,” although previous presidents had issued formal messages in a similar vein.

first display case with African-American history books

Since 1996, presidents have regularly issued proclamations for what is now known as National African-American History Month.

display case of books featuring civil rights movement

Here at the New York State Library, we observe National African-American History month by featuring books and publications that recognize the myriad achievements of African Americans across a broad spectrum: the arts, science, politics, military service, and much more. 


display case with more African-American history books

In the words of a featured author, W.E.B. Du Bois: “Hear my cry, O God the Reader; vouchsafe that this my book fall not still-born into the worldwilderness.  Let there spring, Gentle One, from out its leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the harvest wonderful…”


Alridge, Derrick. The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois. New York, New York: Teachers College, 2008.
NYSL Call Number: C 370.1, A459, 208-3880.

Attie, Alice. Harlem on the Verge. New York, New York: Quantuck, 2003.
NYSL Call Number: C 99747, qA885, 204-5054.

Bell, Gregory. In the Black. New York, New York: Wiley & Sons, 2002.
NYSL Call Number: C 332.63209, B433, 202-5820.

Bennett, Lerone, Jr. Before the Mayflower. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson, 2007.
NYSL Call Number: C 301.451, B471a.

Black, Samuel (Ed). Soul Soldiers. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Heinz History Center, 2006.
NYSL Call Number: 956.7043, 207-4188.

Brown, Tamara, et al (Ed). African American Fraternities and Sororities. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2005.
NYSL Call Number: C 378.1985, A258, 205-4587.

Buster, Larry. The Art and History of Black Memorabilia. New York, New York: Clarkson Potter, 2000.
NYSL Call Number: C 973.04449, B982, 201-8614.

Carbado, Devon, et al. Time on Two Crosses. San Francisco, California; Cleis, 2003.
NYSL Call Number: C 323.1196, R971, 203-12786.

DuBois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. New York, New York: Modern Library, 1996.
NYSL Call Number: C 326.8, D81.

Esquire. Esquire’s World of Jazz. New York, New York: Esquire, 1975.
NYSL Call Number: C 781.57, qE77.

Evers, Medgar.  The Autobiography of Medgar Evers.  New York, New York: Perseus, 2005. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 323.1196, E934, 206-2557.

Holmes, Keith.  Black Inventors.  New York, New York: Global Black Inventors, 2008. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 609.2, H751, 210-1682.

Jonas, Gilbert.  Freedom’s Sword.  New York, New York: Routledge, 2005. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 323.1196, J761, 205-3867.

Joseph, Peniel.  Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour.  New York, New York: Henry Holt, 2006. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 323.1196, J835, 206-9118.

Mance, Ajuan.  Inventing Black Women.  Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 2007. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 811.50989, M268, 209-4683.

Martin, Michael, et al (Ed).  Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States.  Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2007. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 362.8496, R321, 208-2567.

Mayer, Robert.  Blacks in America.  Rochester, New York: Eastman House, 1988. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 779.9973049, qM468, 88-16787.

Norwood, Kimberly (Ed).  Ferguson’s Fault Lines.  Chicago, Illinois: ABA, 2016. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 363.23089, F353, 219-1625.

Powell, A. Clayton, Sr.  Riots and Ruins.  New York, New York: Richard Smith, 1945. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 325.26, P882.

Roach, Hildred.  Black American Music.  Malabar, Florida: Krieger, 1992. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 780.8996073, qR628, 74-10394.

Salzberger, Ronald, et al (Ed).  Reparations for Slavery.  New York, New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 323.1196, R425, 206-2666.

Stanford, Karin (Ed).  If We Must Die.  New York, New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 355.00973, I231, 209-4444.

Wexler, Sanford.  The Civil Rights Movement.  New York, New York: Facts on File, 1993. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 323.1196073, qW545, 93-42993.

Wilkerson, Isabel.  The Warmth of Other Suns.  New York, New York: Random House, 2010. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 304.873, W681, 214-2275.

Willis, Deborah.  Reflections in Black.  New York, New York: Norton, 2000. 
NYSL Call Number:  C 770.8996, qW734, 201-968.

W.E.B Du Bois book

Exhibit curated by Michael Meyer

Last Updated: February 5, 2020