Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. Providence Community Library is celebrating #BHM 2021 with author talks, programs and displays during February.
Kicking off the month, we have two special FUNDA FEST performances by black storytellers for library audiences of all ages, featuring Len Cabral on February 2 and April Armstrong on February 9. Get free tickets to the virtual shows here.
Author Tochi Onyebuchi joins us on Wednesday, February 10th at 6PM to discuss RIOT BABY, a companion read for the 2021 Reading Across Rhode Island selection. Onyebuchi won the 2020 New England Book Award for Fiction for this book, as well as a 2021 Alex Award, given annually to ten works written for adults which also have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The event will be co-hosted virtually by South Providence Library and Rhode Island Center for the Book and the conversation moderated by Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, the Artistic Director of Mixed Magic Theatre. Get free tickets today through Eventbrite for this special author event and to receive the Zoom link.
PCL is proud to join Providence City Council as co-host of the Black History Month Panel- Michael S. Van Leesten: Bridge Builder on Thursday, February 15. Council Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris, Council President Sabina Matos and panelists Ray Rickman, Jordan Van Leesten, Mary Harrison and Frank Santos will participate in a virtual panel discussion on the life and legacy of the civil rights activist.
On Tuesday, February 16, join Dhana and Mount Pleasant Library's Conversations Book Club to discuss Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s book Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow. Register here for free tickets. In January, Professor Gates became one of the few people to be given the Don M. Randel Award for Humanistic Studies by American Academy of Arts & Sciences, which recognizes remarkable scholars whose work shapes our inner lives and our understanding of the world around us. Conversations Book Club meets every month and features authors and characters from marginalized groups.
Many of our regular scheduled programs will highlight Black History Month through story selections and crafts. These include Washington Park's Virtual Bedtime Stories w/Ms. Eileen on Sunday nights. Check our calendar and YouTube Channel for daily program choices.
This is also a great time to watch - or watch again - our recent three-part series Power, Privilege & Social Justice A History of African American Civil Rights, presented in partnership with historian Keith Stokes and the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society. Also on our YouTube channel is a recording of the recent panel discussion, Viewing a Rhode Island Native Through Today's Len: Esek Hopkins, sponsored by the Friends of Wanskuck Library. Should we continue to regard Esek Hopkins as a revolutionary "hero," given the eighteenth-century naval commander’s connection to the slave trade? Our guest panelists examine the issue.
The Mobility Justice Discussion Group, a monthly book club we host in partnership with Providence Streets Coalition, will meet virtually to discuss Policing the Open Road by Sarah A. Seo, on Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00PM. Register here!
Check out our extensive Resources on Racial Justice page on the PCL website.
Finally, when making your brief visits to locations to check out and return materials or use computers, please enjoy the Black History Month displays created by our staff from books and other materials available year-round in the library collections. Some are pictured below.