Written by Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library
Throughout February, we’re joining the nation in celebrating Black History Month, starting with unique events for all ages, material lists of staff favorite books, movies, and music, and resources to help you research and celebrate Black history.
Black History Month Events
Hear renowned local photographer Melvin Grier's West End story at the West End Branch on February 10. Grier will discuss his memories of the old West End at 11 a.m. Copies of Grier's new book, “It Was Always About the Work,” will be available to purchase. Genealogy and Local History staff will be onsite from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. to help you research your family history and scan your family photos.
The Forest Park Branch Library is hosting two events in partnership with the Cincinnati Art Museum. The February 15 event is for youth, and the February 26 event is for adults. Attendees will explore works by Black artists and create their own art. No experience is necessary, and all materials will be provided. Registration is free but encouraged.
Are you a Black playwright or an aspiring Black playwright? Then drop by the Reading Branch Library from 6–7:30 p.m. on February 19 for a Meet and Greet.
Recommended Reading and Viewing
Explore these books and movies lists handpicked by Library staff that highlight the joy, resilience, and rich history of Black culture:
- Black History in Photographs
- Black History Month Documentaries
- Award-Winning Black Authors
- Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.
- MLK on Film
- Black History Month - Graphic Novels
- Black History Month - Juvenile Fiction
- Black History Month - Kids Picture Books
- Black History Month - Kids
- Martin Luther King and His Legacy
Special Selections: Each year, the MLK Coalition generously donates part of the funds raised during their annual MLK Day to the Library to purchase materials about Dr. King and the civil rights movement. The Coalition also shares a yearly list of resources for all ages.
In the late 1800s, some of Cincinnati’s newspapers began including a column featuring news and social events from the city’s Black community.
Although the columns mainly contain news about the more advantaged African Americans in terms of money and education, they are still a rare glimpse into the political, social, and cultural events of a community for which there is little other information. To our knowledge, these columns ran from 1884 to 1896 during varying time periods in the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette(later the Commercial Tribune), the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Cincinnati Times-Star.
How do you plan on celebrating Black History Month? Let us know in the comments below!