February is Black History Month

February is Black History Month


February is Black History Month -- what better time to recognize some of the outstanding contributions of African-American writers, illustrators, and other artists to the world of modern literature!

Several awards for writers and illustrators of children’s books are named in honor of Coretta Scott King. These awards recognize African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding inspirational and educational books for children and young adults. Click here for a list of the 2019 award winners.

Book jacket for "Monday's Not Coming"


The Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Awards for New Talent are designed to encourage new African-American authors and illustrators to pursue a career in children’s literature. These books promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream. The Award is further designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.




book cover of "An American Marriage"

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association presents three awards for books written in the previous year – one for adult fiction, one for nonfiction, and one for a first-time novelist. These awards acknowledge outstanding achievement in the presentation of cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora. To be eligible for the awards, the books must portray some aspect of the African-American experience from the past, the present, or the future. The book must be an original work written by an African-American author and published in the United States in the year preceding presentation of the award. Click here for a list of the 2019 award winners.




cover of movie jacket for "Miss Sharon Jones!"

The University Branch Library will show a documentary about rhythm-and-blues singer Sharon Jones on Thursday, February 28, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, in Meeting Room 1 of the library. The film is not rated.

Released in 2015, this music documentary follows the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy-nominated R&B band, “Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.” Achieving breakthrough success relatively late in life, Jones released her first record in 1996 at the age of 40 while working as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and as an armored-car guard for Wells Fargo.

In 2013, Jones was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and struggled to find her health and voice again while touring to promote their last album. After facing the most challenging year of her life, she was nominated for her first Grammy Award in the category of Best R&B Album in 2014. This film intimately uncovers the mind and spirit of a powerful woman determined to regain the explosive singing career that eluded her for 50 years.