Yesterday marked the final day of Black History Month. To celebrate, the library put together a series of displays throughout the month of February highlighting black pioneers, innovators and artists you may not know. Here is the complete list of who we highlighted, along with what they are known for. To learn more, please ask one of your librarians for more information.
- Vivien Thomas (1910-1985), pioneer in cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins University. For a great book about Vivien Thomas, check out: Breakthrough!: how three people saved “blue babies” and changed medicine forever.
- Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), educator, philanthropist and civil rights activist. Bethune also served as a policy advisor for President Roosevelt and founded Bethune-Cookman University.
- Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. For an overview of the Black Lives Matter movement, check out this book! For a great new novel, check out The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (which we will have in the library shortly).
- Kehinde Wiley (1977- ), portrait painter. Wiley is known for his large format Renaissance-inspired portraits of contemporary people of color. Check out his book here.
- Bass Reeves (1838-1910), legendary U.S. Marshal. Sometimes called “The Real Lone Ranger”, he is said to have captured over 3,000 felons during his long career. Check out a wonderful picture book of his life here.
- Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), the first professional African-American and Native American sculptor. For a wonderful novel in verse about Ms. Lewis, click here.
- Kimberlé Crenshaw (1959- ), civil rights activist and scholar, who introduced the idea of intersectionality to feminist theory in the 1980s.
- Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992), prominent transgender and AIDS activist who was one of the first to fight back in clashes with the police during the Stonewall riots. For a great article about Ms. Johnson, click here. For more information on the Stonewall Riots, check out: The Gay Revolution: the story of the struggle by Lillian Faderman.
- Gordon Parks (1912-2006), photographer, composer, author and filmmaker. Parks is best known for his photojournalism work, which focuses on poverty, civil rights, and urban life in 20th-century America. We have a number of books about Mr. Parks in the library, swing by to check one out!
- Hiram Revels (1827 – 1901), the first African American U.S. senator. Revels was elected to the Senate in 1870, and later served as a college president and a minister.
- Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), an advocate for civil rights, pacifism and gay rights. Rustin was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington and was a major influence on the civil rights movement’s policy of nonviolent protest.
- Lonnie Johnson (1949- ), inventor and engineer. He has worked for the U.S. Air Force and NASA and invented many clean energy technologies. His most famous invention, however, is the Super Soaker water gun.
- Cece McDonald (1989- ), a trans rights activist who was sentenced to prison for manslaughter after protecting herself during a hate crime. After her release she began to speak out for trans rights and against mass incarceration.
- Hattie McDaniel (1893-1952), singer, actor and radio personality. In 1938, she became the first African-American person to win an Academy Award for acting.
- Zipporah Potter Atkins (17th century), the first African-American person to own property in Boston. Atkins purchased land in the North End in 1670 using money inherited from her parents and lived on the property for almost 30 years.
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