Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Black History Month 2011
Images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, Sojourner Truth, Marian Anderson and Jackie Robinson with the words Exploring Black History Month (AP Images)

Images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, Sojourner Truth, Marian Anderson and Jackie Robinson with the words Exploring Black History Month (AP Images)

Each February, Black History Month honors the struggles and triumphs of millions of African Americans over slavery, prejudice, poverty as well as their contributions to the nation’s cultural and political life. Black History Month was the inspiration of historian Carter G. Woodson who instituted Negro History Week in 1926. He chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. In 1976 on the nation’s bicentennial, the celebration was officially expanded to last a month. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”


Video Message for the International Year for People of African Descent
The United Nations and the Organization of American States have named 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. This is an opportunity for all of us around the globe to celebrate the diversity of our societies and to honor the contributions that our fellow citizens of African descent make every day to the economic, social and political fabrics of our communities.


Exploring Black History Month

Black History Month Honors Legacy of Struggle and Triumph

Beyond Dr. King: More Stories of African American Achievement

Free At Last - The U.S. Civil Rights Movement

This book recounts how African-American slaves and their descendants struggled to win — both in law and in practice — the civil rights enjoyed by other Americans. It is a story of dignified persistence and struggle, a story that produced great heroes and heroines, and one that ultimately succeeded by forcing Americans to confront squarely the shameful gap between their universal principles of equality and justice and the inequality, injustice, and oppression faced by millions of their fellow citizens

Museum Seeks to Document the African-American Experience: National Museum of African American History and Culture starts new program


African American Members of the United States Congress: 1870-2009. 
Congressional Research Service, February 2, 2010   
There are 42 African American Members serving in the 111th Congress, 41 in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate. President Barack Obama served in the Senate until he resigned on November 16, 2008. There have been 125 African American Members of Congress: 119 have been elected to the House; five have been elected to the Senate; and one has been appointed to the Senate. There have been 98 Democrats: 95 in the House, three in the Senate; and27 Republicans: 24 in the House, three in the Senate. (pdf 416kb)

February 3rd, 2010 

The site contains several categories of resources:

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. 

2010 Black History Theme: The History of Black Economic Empowerment 
Association for the Study of African American Life and History. 2010.

According to the Association, the need for economic development has been a central element of black life.  After centuries of unrequited toil as slaves, African Americans gained their freedom and found themselves in the struggle to make a living.  Black codes often prevented blacks from owning land in towns and cities, and in the countryside they were often denied the opportunity to purchase land.  To fight exclusion from the economy, they started their own unions and professional associations.  In an age in which individuals proved unable to counter industrialization alone, they preached racial or collective uplift rather than individual self-reliance. The late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed an unprecedented degree of racial solidarity and organization.

2010 National African American Read-In
National Council of Teachers of English. January 2010.

It is the Twenty-First National African American Read-In. Schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, community and professional organizations, and interested citizens are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting and coordinating Read-Ins in their communities.

African American History Month
Law Library, Library of Congress. May 27, 2009.

National African American History Month in February celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens our understanding of our Nation's history.

African American History: Prominent African Americans Past and Present 
Lakewood City Schools. 2010

The site lists prominent African Americans from the past and the present with links.

African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection 1818-1907
American Memory, Library of Congress. 2010.

The collection presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, spanning almost one hundred years from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Benjamin W. Arnett, Alexander Crummel, and Emanuel Love.

Black (African American) History Month
Smithsonian Education. January 2010

The Smithsonian Education site has many links to events, African American Virtual Tour and other resources.

African American History Virtual Tour

Celebrate Black History

The Biography Channel. January 2010.

The site includes interactive timeline, history, people, and others.

Events in African American History ,2000+
Gale Cengage Learning. 2009

The timeline for 2000+ provides up to President Obama’s cabinet selections. 1600-1699 1700-1799 1800-1849 1850-1899 1900-1949 1950-1999 2000- 

The NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom
Library of Congress. February 3, 2010

In commemoration of African American History Month, the Library of Congress on Feb. 3 will launch a new online exhibition about the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), an organization which has donated its records to the Library, where they are the most-consulted collection. The exhibit presents a retrospective of the major personalities, events, and achievements that shaped the NAACP’s history during its first 100 years.

Adobe Reader

  • Download Free
    Download Free

    All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format.  To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  You may download a free version by clicking the link above.