Learning Commons | Cardinal Cushing Library
Black History Month

Book Display
2019 Theme
"ASALH’s 2019 theme Black Migrations emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, this theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today. "
(Read the full summary)
Association for the Study of African American Life & History
Mapping the Great Migration
2018 Theme
"The 2018 theme, 'African Americans in Times of War,' commemorates the centennial of the end of the First World War in 1918,
and explores the complex meanings and implications of this international struggle and its aftermath"
(Read the full summary)
Association for the Study of African American Life & History
Notable Groups and Figures
Historical Resources
  • Black Veterans of America
    Black Veterans of America "advocates for veterans and helps them navigate VA Systems." They also serve as a "cultural advisor to city, county, state, and regional Veterans Service Organizations."
  • National Association for Black Veterans
    The National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS) provides "strategic advocacy on behalf of its membership with Congress and the federal administration; state administrations; county and city legislators; and other agencies and organizations."
2017 Theme
"The theme for 2017 focuses on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans."
(Read the full Executive Summary)
Association for the Study of African American Life & History
Educators & Scholars
Marva Collins (1936-2015)
Marva Collins, a former substitute teacher, gained recognition after opening the Westside Preparatory School in 1975. "Ms. Collins set high academic standards, emphasized discipline and promoted a nurturing environment. In 1980, President-elect Ronald Reagan was said to be leaning toward choosing Ms. Collins for secretary of education, but she said she would reject the job if it were offered."  (Roberts, 2015).  

Angela Y. Davis (1944- )
Davis "has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer" and is currently a Distinguished Professor Emerita at University of California Santa Cruz (University of California Santa Cruz, n.d.).  

W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963)
Du Bois "promoted education as a fundamental right and was a central figure in twentieth-century movements for world peace, civil rights, and self-determination for people of African descent" (The W.E.B. Du Bois National Historical Site: About W.E.B. Du Bois, n.d.)  

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (1950- )
Gates, an "Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder" along with an author of many books, is currently "the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University" (Harvard University, n.d.)  

Martin Luther King (1929-1968)
"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits" (Quote by King at the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Norway, 1964. See this quote and more at the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial .)  

bell hooks (1952- )
"bell hooks is an acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer. hooks has authored over three dozen books and has published works that span several genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children's books." (bell hooks Institute, 2017).
  • bell hooks
    Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Berea College
  • bell hooks Institute
    "The bell hooks Institute documents the life and work of acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer bell hooks."

Lucy Craft Laney (1854-1933)
Lucy Craft Laney is one of Georgia's "most influential educational leaders." She graduated from Atlanta University in 1873, and went on to found the first school in Augusta, Georgia for black students. She later also founded the first kindergarten for black students in Augusta, the first nursing school for black students in Augusta, and the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute.   (Lucy Craft Laney Muesum, 2016).  

Mary Jane Patterson (1840-1894)
In addition to being the first African American woman to receive a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in 1862, Patterson was the first principal of color at the "Preparatory High School for Negroes,” holding the position from 1871 to 1884 according to Fletcher (Oberlin College).  
Charles Henry Thompson (1895-1980)
Thompson spent forty years in continuous service as a faculty member of Howard University, from 1926 to 1966, and “his influence was felt throughout the University community.” Over the years he served as the “dean of the College of Liberal Arts, dean of the Graduate School, founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education,” among other positions (American Psychological Association, n.d.).  

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
"For decades, Booker T. Washington was the major African-American spokesman in the eyes of white America. Born a slave in Virginia, Washington was educated at Hampton Institute, Norfolk, Virginia. He began to work at the Tuskegee Institute in 1881 and built it into a center of learning and industrial and agricultural training." (Library of Congress, n.d.).  

Cornel West (1953- )
West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard Divinity School,  is the author of Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud (Cornel R. West, n.d.).  

Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950)
"A career educator and early advocate of the importance of researching African American history, Woodson founded and directed the first and most influential academic association devoted to the study of African American history. He also was instrumental in establishing February as Black History Month" (National Park Service, n.d.).
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
White House Initiative on HBCUs
U.S. Department of Education

Annual Reports and Information for HBCUs
Provided by the National Center for Education and Statistics, these reports compile a variety of information regarding Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Accredited HBCUs
    National Center for Educational Statistics: College Navigator
HBCU Library Alliance
"The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that supports the collaboration of information professionals dedicated to providing an array of resources designed to strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their constituents."
  • Digital Collection
    "A digital Collection Celebrating the founding of the Historically Black College and University"
Timeline of Historical Events
  • American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE)
    The AABHE “pursues the educational and professional needs of Blacks in higher education with a focus on leadership, access and vital issues impacting students, faculty, staff and administrators.”
  • Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute
    "The Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute is a dedicated to nurturing and developing new generations of socially and politically activated people by transferring knowledge, sharing wisdom, and nurturing civic engagement."
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
    Seeks “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”
  • National Black Student Union
    Seeks to “link Black Student Unions at national, regional and state forums; encourage Black Student Unions to pursue graduate and professional study; network Black Student Unions in pursuit of public, private, and non-profit employment; maximize the participation of Black Student Unions in select campus curricular and co-curricular activities ….STEM, study abroad, undergraduate research and student government/leadership.”
  • United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
    “UNCF's mission is to build a robust and nationally-recognized pipeline of under-represented students who, because of UNCF support, become highly-qualified college graduates and to ensure that our network of member institutions is a respected model of best practice in moving students to and through college.”  
2016 Theme
2016 – Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories
"The Association for the Study of African American Life & History has selected this annual theme to bring attention to the centennial celebration of the National Park Service and the more than twenty-five sites and the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom that are part of America’s hallowed grounds, including the home of the father of black history, Dr. Carter G. Woodson."
(Read the full Description)
Sites across the United States

Additionally, explore the African American Heritage (National Parks Service) site.
Local Sites
In Boston:
Additionally, explore the City of Boston, Black History Month site.

In Massachusetts: