On Display: A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture

At Smith Library…


On display this month at HPU Libraries are book selections celebrating the immense role African Americans played in shaping American culture throughout the twentieth century. What would music be today without the transformative voices, musicians, and dancers of early jazz and blues? What would the literary landscape look like without the influence of poets like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou? What would sports be today had athletes like Jackie Robinson not taken a stand for equality?

Clearly, black cultural history is American cultural history, and this this is the perfect time to dive into the formative complexity of that history by discovering a new book.


Below is a sampling of titles available to check out. Visit Smith Library to see the full display!



At the School of Education Resource Center…

BHM2For a shorter read—or to find a book to educate the little ones in your life—check out our selection of juvenile and young adult books on display at the School of Education Resource Center. We offer a wide selection of beautifully illustrated biographies of key figures including (but certainly not limited to) Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Nelson Mandela. Be sure to also check out juvenile books to celebrate black cultural history—think athletes and entertainers like Willie Mays, Michael Jordan, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Marian Anderson, etc.

For those who enjoy literature, this is the perfect time to curl up with a picture book or novel by Walter Dean Myers or Jacqueline Woodson. Engaging fictional accounts of the black struggle throughout history abound in both formats, and you’ll find that these stories are particularly moving told from the perspective of a child.

Freedom on the Menu by Carole Boston Weatherford, for example, tells the story of the Greensboro sit-ins as it appeared to the 8 year old little sister of one of the four activists.

  Capture1            For something more age-appropriate for HPU students, check out Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book is the first of a trilogy which tells the story of Isabel, an adolescent girl enslaved by British Loyalists during the American Revolution, and Curzon, a slave boy who fights for the idea of freedom even amongst the blatant hypocrisy of the patriots.


As always, ask an HPU Librarian if you need help finding a book or would like further recommendations.