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Posted on: February 15, 2020

Black History Remembered at Abilene Library

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The Abilene Public Library offers a vast collection of materials on African-American history and culture.  Available in print, electronic and audio/visual formats, the majority may be found in the non-fiction area of the Main Library but also at our Mockingbird and South branch locations.  Here are a few you may not have taken a look at.

One title, Black History: More Than Just a Month by Mike Henry likely has information that you may not be aware of, since some of the most interesting people and events of the past often get bypassed in a classroom. This includes a large number of African-Americans who helped build this country. This book pays tribute to these forgotten individuals and their accomplishments.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, the famous teacher, historian & filmmaker, has a sumptuously illustrated, landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama. Life Upon These Shores is informed by sometimes provocative scholarship, and includes more than eight hundred images--ancient maps, art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters.- By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single "Black Experience." “Life Upon These Shores” is a book of major importance.

How Free is Free Book Cover ArtIn How Free is Free? The Long Death of Jim Crow Leon Litwack chronicles in a short read “an odyssey of resilience and resistance defined by day-to-day acts of protest and the fight for justice…recorded in the stories, songs, images and movements of a people trying to be heard.”

Many sources, including biographies, detail Dr. Martin Luther King’s influence in espousing non-violence.  A more radical approach by a group of activists led by Stokely Carmichael and Huey Newton was spawned in 1966 with the rallying cry of “black power.”  Ready for Revolution: the Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) by Stokely Carmichael with Ekwueme Michael Thelwell Is an ‘in his own words’ biography of the militant civil rights leader

Entire books have been written on the August, 1963 March on Washington including Let Freedom Ring: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the March on Washington which is actually a photographic essay.   An even greater collection of photographs can be found in “NAACP: Celebrating a Century: 100 Years in Pictures”. 

A little closer to home, an important part of Abilene’s history is told in books like Jewell Pritchett’s The Black Community in Abilene: Woodson High School 1953-1969,

They Remember: Recollections of Members of the Carver Community of Abilene, Texas by Susan Allen, or the recorded memories of Mr. Will Henderson and Mrs. Earsie Brown. 

The materials mentioned here are merely the tip of the iceberg on Black history, and I urge you to drop by your nearest Abilene Public Library location to dig deeper into the rich history available during Black History Month, and all year round.

Article Contributed by Janis Test, Information Services Manager, Main Library

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