Black History Month: Famous Faces

Go out there and swear to this world your oath, not with your words, but with what you do. Not with your hand over your heart, but with your hand outstretched to a world that desperately needs your hand, your help, your insights, your creativity, your honor, your courage. It needs you.”

— Senator Cory Booker


This month we take time to highlight the contributions and achievements of Black Individuals who have made a difference. Understanding their stories can help us see how far we have come, as well as how far we need to go. Listed below are some titles that can inspire us to do be our better selves and reach beyond.

March. Book one / written by John Lewis

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1950s comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

Seen. Edmonia Lewis / written by Jasmine Walls

The first original graphic novel in a new series spotlighting the true stories of the real groundbreakers who changed our world for the better.

“Sometimes the times were dark and the outlook was lonesome, but where there is a will, there is a way. I pitched in and dug at my work until now I am where I am.”

Meet Edmonia Lewis, the woman who changed America during the Civil War by becoming the first sculptor of African-American and Native American heritage to earn international acclaim.

Jasmine Walls & Bex Glendining present the true story of courage, determination and perseverance through one of America’s most violent eras to create true beauty that still reverberates today.

It’s about being seen. Both for who you are, and who you hope you can become. History is a mirror, and all too often, the history we’re told in school reflects only a small subset of the population. In Seen: True Stories of Marginalized Trailblazers, you’ll find the stories of the real groundbreakers who changed our world for the better. They’re the heroes: the inventors, the artists, the activists, and more whose stories you won’t want to miss. The people whose lives show us both where we are, and where we’re going. 

Mighty justice : the untold story of civil rights trailblazer Dovey Johnson Roundtree / Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe

Raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the height of Jim Crow, Dovey Johnson Roundtree felt the sting of inequality at an early age and made a point to speak up for justice. She was one of the first Black women to break the racial and gender barriers in the US Army; a fierce attorney in the segregated courtrooms of Washington, DC; and a minister in the AME church, where women had never before been ordained as clergy. In 1955, Roundtree won a landmark bus desegregation case that eventually helped end “separate but equal” and dismantle Jim Crow laws across the South.

Developed with the full support of the Dovey Johnson Roundtree Educational Trust and adapted from her memoir, this book brings her inspiring, important story and voice to life

Never Caught, the story of Ona Judge : George and Martha Washington’s courageous slave who dared to run away  by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathleen Van Cleve

In this narrative, Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons when they were the First Family—and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers.

Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington’s “favored” dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive.

From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, along with Kathleen Van Cleve, shares an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country.

All about Madame C. J. Walker / A’Lelia Bundles

The life story of Madame C. J. Walker who was born on a southern plantation; the first in her family to be born free. Her parents, former slaves, could not afford to send her to school. That didn’t stop her from becoming America’s first female self-made millionaire

Black women in science : a black history book for kids Pellum, Kimberly Brown

Bold, black women in science—where will their inspiration take you?

Throughout history, black women have blazed trails across the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Black Women in Science brings something special to black history books for kids, celebrating incredible black women in STEM who have used their brains, bravery, and ambition to beat the odds.

Black Women in Science stands out amongst other black history books for kids—featuring 15 powerful stories of fearless female scientists that advanced their STEM fields and fought to build a legacy. Through the triumphs of these amazing women, you’ll find remarkable role models.

Changing the equation : 50+ US Black women in STEM Bolden, Tonya.

A celebratory and inspiring look at some of the most important black women in STEM
 
Award-winning author Tonya Bolden explores the black women who have changed the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in America. Including groundbreaking computer scientists, doctors, inventors, physicists, pharmacists, mathematicians, aviators, and many more, this book celebrates more than 50 women who have shattered the glass ceiling, defied racial discrimination, and pioneered in their fields. In these profiles, young readers will find role models, inspirations, and maybe even reasons to be the STEM leaders of tomorrow. 


Facing Frederick : the life of Frederick Douglass, a monumental American man
Bolden, Tonya.

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) is best known for the telling of his own emancipation. But there is much more to Douglass’s story than his time spent enslaved and his famous autobiography. Facing Frederick captures the whole complicated, and at times perplexing, person that he was. Statesman, suffragist, writer, and newspaperman, this book focuses on Douglass the man rather than the historical icon.

The book of awesome black Americans : scientific pioneers, trailblazing entrepreneurs, barrier-breaking activists and Afro-futurists Jones, Monique L

We are familiar with a handful of African Americans who are mentioned in American history books, but there are also countless others who do not get recognized in mainstream media. Their actions may not have appeared to shake the world, but their contributions to shifting American culture were just as groundbreaking. African Americans have made history by challenging and changing the American landscape. This was accomplished not by shedding layers of originality, but by wearing their colors proudly and openly in the world. Growth has been made possible by a resistance to conformity and a fusing of cultures, African and American alike

Jacob Lawrence : painter Dickinson, Stephanie

Jacob Lawrence was a talented painter whose work became an important part of the Harlem Renaissance and modern art. Learn about his life, influences, and impact.


Many faces of Josephine Baker: dancer, singer, activist, spy.
Caravantes, Peggy

With determination and audacity, Josephine Baker used her comic and musical abilities to become a worldwide icon of the Jazz Age. This lively biography covers her outspoken participation in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, espionage work for the French Resistance during World War II and adoption of 12 children—her “rainbow tribe.” The lush photographs, in-depth appendix, source notes and bibliography make this is a must-have resource for any student, Baker fan or history buff.

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