Black History Month began as a weeklong celebration in the 1920s and was nationally recognized as a whole month in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. We are thrilled to offer a variety of programs that will educate, entertain, and connect all ages.
Before you dive into our calendar of events, consider bringing the celebration home by checking out movies and books that honor black achievements and creativity. We recommend movies such as The Great Debaters, Fruitvale Station, Selma, and Moonlight. For reading, we suggest The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man by James Weldon Johnson, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
For kids and teens
- Wednesday, February 5, 3:30 p.m., Micanopy Branch at the Micanopy Branch Dance Hall, ages 5-18
Make a Gee's Bend quilt for display in the library and listen to a reading of Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine.
- Thursday, February 6, 3 p.m., Headquarters Branch, ages 1-11
This special story time features picture books by African American writers and a quilt square paper craft.
- Thursdays, February 6, 13, 20, & 27, 4 p.m., Cone Park Branch, ages 12-18
Delve into Black History Month through art, music, and history in the Teen Space.
- Feb. 7, 14, 21, & 28, 4:40 p.m., Headquarters Branch, ages 12-18
Discuss titles by Haitian American author Ibi Zoboi every Friday.
- Saturday, Feb. 8, 11:30 a.m., Millhopper Branch, ages 1-11
Come listen as teachers and leaders in our community read or tell a story that speaks to them about what it means to be African American. Readers will include Gainesville city commissioners Gigi Simmons and Gail Johnson, and Alachua County Public School Board member Tina Certain.
- Saturday, February 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Library Partnership Branch, ages 12 and older
Presenters and health care workers will address health concerns and treatments, including alternative and holistic health services, at this fair facilitated by Professor Padma K.A. Shakoor.
- Wednesday, February 12, 4 p.m., Waldo Branch, ages 12 and older
Saturday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m., Waldo Branch, ages 12 and older
Sew a dress (from a pillowcase pattern) for a girl or shorts for a boy for the project. Learn more at www.littledressesforafrica.org. Registration required.
For all ages
African American Genealogy Research
- Saturday, February 1, 10:30 a.m., Library Partnership Branch Large Meeting Room
Genealogy librarian Caroline Huguet will review how to navigate census, military, birth records, and other records to learn family history. Explore Ancestry’s new Africa Collections, as well as reference materials related to African Americans.
- Sunday, February 2, 2 p.m., Newberry Branch
Author and podcaster Antoinette Chanel will read from her children’s book, A Book for Black Girls. Books will be available for sale and signing.
- Sunday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m., Headquarters Branch
Watch Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, followed by a discussion of her most critically acclaimed novels.
- Tuesday, February 18, 6:30 p.m., High Springs Branch
Arts educator and Project Beautiful Executive Director 365 Shera Sherman will lead a journey through African American history with movement, drama, and words.
- Saturday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m., Hawthorne Branch
Discover a new favorite author or revisit with a familiar friend as we share works by African American authors both current and historic. We're celebrating African American literature in poetry, story, and song in conjunction with the 30th Annual National African American Read-In.
- Sunday, February 23, 2 p.m. Alachua Branch Meeting Room
This event, created by Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott, salutes black authors and black literature (old and new). Special guests include Chief of Police of the City of Alachua Chad Scott, poet and artist Jacqui Moorer, Alachua County Poet Laureate E. Stanley Richardson, and Sante Fe High School Assistant Principal Bonnie Bing.
- Sunday, February 2 and 16 1:30 p.m., Millhopper Branch Room B, ages 19 and up
Come (re)discover the beauty of Toni Morrison’s writing and storytelling with a discussion of the award-winning novel Beloved on Feb. 2. View Beloved starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Thandie Newton on Feb. 16.
Black Hair Matters
- Tuesdays, Feb. 3,10 and 24 and March 2 5:30 p.m., Cone Park Branch, ages 19 and up
A four-series of workshops focusing on the culture, history, health, and wealth of black hair.
- Saturday, Feb. 8, 2 p.m., Headquarters Branch
Discuss Anne Moody’s memoir Coming of Age in Mississippi with University of Florida’s Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere. Moody’s autobiography is a harrowing account of black life in the rural South and a powerful affirmation of one person’s ability to affect change.
- Monday, February 3, 10 & 24, 4 p.m., Tower Road Branch
Join us for film screenings throughout February with discussions celebrating the Civil Rights Movement. Viewings are free and open to the public. A short discussion will follow the film.
- Thursday, February 6, 4 p.m., Archer Branch meeting room, ages 5 and older
In honor of Black History Month, the Archer Branch Library will be presenting the movie Thunder Soul. This is an inspiring true story about a high school band leader who transforms a struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s.
- Tuesdays, Feb. 18 and 25, 10 a.m., Millhopper Branch, ages 19 and older
Come enjoy a newer movie on our big screen. This month we're playing films that show a part of the African American experience both past and present, starting with BlacKkKlansman on Feb. 18 and Blindspotting on Feb. 25.