By SADIE L. TROMBETTA of Bustle
This February marks the 50th celebration of Black History Month in the United States, an annual celebration of the achievements, contributions, and accomplishments of black Americans in history and culture. If you’re a parent, educator, or someone else looking to share the month-long observance with the children in your life, you’re in luck, because there is a wealth of beautiful, imaginative, and inspirational picture books for Black History Month that are perfect tools to help celebrate and educate all month long.
Black History Month started in February of 1976, but 50 years before that, a professor from Harvard, Carter G. Woodson, organized and founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) as well as Negro Week, a week-long event that recognized and celebration the history of black men and women in America. The first celebration was held in the first week February of 1926, a timing that was chosen so that the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass could be included in the celebration.
Over the next 50 years, the week-long observance began to be recognized by not only black history clubs, schools, and activists, but city town and city governments nationwide. It was President Gerald Ford who encouraged the country to expand the holiday and “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans,” and in 1976, to coincide with the country’s 200th anniversary, ASNLH held the first Black History Month, and the entire nation participated.
Now, 50 years later, Ford’s work still ring true. February is a month that is meant to celebrate and honor the contributions of black Americans, and to educate the rest of the country about those achievements that are so often overlooked. So whether you are a parent looking for bedtime stories or a teacher trying to pick out a class reading book, here are 12 picture books to help celebrate Black History Month:
1. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
2. Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford
The inspirational life and career of this opera legend is illuminated in Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century. Poetic, spirited, and beautiful, this picture book is a delight to read and even more delightful to look at.