October is Black History Month and there have been several events in Westminster Libraries (don’t miss Dr Miranda Kaufman’s talk on ‘Africans in Tudor and Stuart London’ on 29 October!), as well as displays of key books in the libraries. But while October serves as a focus for black history, these stories are relevant and interesting throughout the year. To this end, we have compiled a set of book lists – recommended reading for Black History Month and beyond. You can find them linked from the left hand menu on the library catalogue.
Black History Month, known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora. Wikepedia states
“The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates Black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.”
In the United Kingdom it has been celebrated since 1987 and takes place throughout October.
The books listed are a selection of recent novels by contemporary Black writers for both adults and teenagers. The latter are will be found shelved in ‘The Zone’ within Westminster Libraries.
A further list is of a selection of books relating to the contribution the Black community has made to history, culture and society in the United Kingdom.
There is also a selection of biographical and autobiographical works of significant members of the Black community in Britain and elsewhere.
Details of the background to Black History Month can be found on Wikipedia. Details of events taking place nationwide can be found on the UK Black History Month website (which also provides a more extensive reading list).
Take a look at our lists and if there’s a book – or a topic – that you feel is missing, please tell us!