Black History Month 2021

This February, we are celebrating Black History Month with an array of engaging events and recommendations for your reading and viewing. Black lives and Black history matter this month and every month.

When I think about Black history, I think about stories--and the memories, legacies, and traditions we preserve when we keep stories alive. 

The late civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis told his incredible story with words and illustrations in the graphic novel trilogy, March. As a young man, he was inspired by the 1958 comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, which was created to educate young people about nonviolent action against racial discrimination. The world lost John Lewis to cancer in 2020, but his story survives through the March trilogy and through the impact he made on countless lives as a civil rights giant and member of Congress. We have three events related to John Lewis:

Kids in grades 4-6 are invited to an interactive book discussion and activity celebrating the life and legacy of John Lewis on Monday, February 22. 

Those in grades 6-8 are invited to a March book discussion on Tuesday, February 23, which will focus on themes from the graphic novel trilogy and the merits of the graphic novel format in illustrating historical events.

On Wednesday, February 17, Zoom into the Movies for teens and adults will focus on the documentary film, John Lewis: Good Trouble, which is available to stream on Hoopla.

There are many other ways to observe Black History Month with the library this February.

On Tuesday, February 16, our Pages through History book club discusses Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar.

On Thursday, February 18, join an adult book discussion on Goodreads about Memorial by Bryan Washington. Memorial is a character-driven work of contemporary realistic fiction with a Black main character. That book will also be discussed on Instagram Live on Tuesday, February 23.

On Monday, February 22, our Civic Lab discussion features racial disparities in STEM fields.

On Thursday, February 25, a special edition of Teen Library Council for junior high and high school students will focus on using library online resources to research Black genealogy. Teen volunteers will have the opportunity to put what they learn into a resource guide for aspiring family history researchers in our community.

Interested in reading about Black History and digging into stories about various aspects of Black identity and community? See our staff-recommended reading and viewing:

Make sure to also take a look at eBooks and downloadable audiobooks on Hoopla, as well as movies and documentaries on Kanopy.

Also, please enjoy this stunning rendition of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, known as the Black National Anthem, sung by the Stanford Talisman Alumni Virtual Choir.

How do you plan to celebrate Black History Month? Tag @skokielibrary on social media, or send us an email at