Black History Month: Biographies for Young Readers


The story of Black History Month dates back almost a century, when African American historian Carter G. Woodson declared the second week of February to be “Negro History Week,” the date chosen to correspond to Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. In 1970, this was expanded to the Black History Month we observe during February today.

To commemorate Black History Month 2024, we have compiled a list of biographies of black heroes for younger readers. This is just a small sampling of the wide range of materials we have to offer; feel free to ask a librarian for more recommendations.

Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book

Victor Hugo Green was an African American postal worker and travel writer best known for creating "The Negro Motorist Green Book," a guidebook designed to help Black travelers find safe accommodations during an era of racial segregation in the United States.

Just Jerry: How Drawing Shaped My Life

Jerry Pinkney was a highly acclaimed African American illustrator and children's book author, recognized for his exceptional contributions to the world of children's literature, with notable works including "The Lion and the Mouse" and "John Henry."

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler

Octavia E. Butler was a groundbreaking African American science fiction writer renowned for her thought-provoking works, such as Kindred and Parable of the Sower, and became the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.

Love is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement

Diane Nash is a civil rights activist known for her pivotal role in the American civil rights movement, particularly for her leadership in nonviolent protests and her involvement in the Freedom Riders and the Selma Voting Rights Movement.

Bessie the Motorcycle Queen

Bessie Stringfield was a pioneering African American motorcyclist known as the "Motorcycle Queen of Miami," recognized for her remarkable long-distance rides and for breaking racial and gender barriers in the world of motorcycling during the mid-20th century.

Buzzing With Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner

Charles Henry Turner was an American scientist, educator, and pioneering entomologist known for his groundbreaking research on animal behavior, particularly his studies on the intelligence and learning capabilities of insects.


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