Black History Month
To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through our OPAC. All books listed are linked to Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading. Happy Reading!
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Read biographies of famous African Americans, find information about milestones in black history, and more.
An Actor and a Gentleman by Louis Gossett Jr.
Read by Jake Williams. Reading time 9 hours 52 minutes.
Autobiography of African American stage, television, and movie actor Louis Gossett Jr. chronicles his life, beginning with his Coney Island childhood and teenage career on Broadway. Discusses dealing with racism and working alongside stars including Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Steve McQueen. Some strong language. 2010.
Download An Actor and a Gentleman, DB71356
African American Humor: The Best Black Comedy from Slavery to Today by Mel Watkins.
Read by Saidah Arrika Ekulona. Reading time 17 hours 25 minutes.
Anthology of African American humor from traditional trickster tales to twenty-first century comedy. Contains proverbs, short stories, riddles, songs, jokes, and stand-up routines as well as literary works by Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. Includes historical introductions for each chapter. Foreword by Dick Gregory. Strong language. 2002.
Download African American Humor, DB62112
The Ballad of Blind Tom by Deirdre O’Connell.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 9 hours 50 minutes.
Biography of Thomas Wiggins (1849-1908), a blind and possibly autistic musical savant known as "Blind Tom," who was born a slave in Georgia. A piano prodigy and child composer, Wiggins became a novelty act of worldwide renown, profiting his white guardian. Chronicles his achievements and later descent into obscurity. 2009.
Download The Ballad of Blind Tom, DB71033
Best African American Fiction, 2010 by Gerald Early.
Read by Mark Delgado. Reading time 12 hours 34 minutes.
Anthology of African American fiction features short stories and excerpts from adult and young adult novels in settings ranging from historical to contemporary. In "The Ariran's Last Life" a teenage girl is sold to white slavers by her tribe in Africa. Strong language and some violence.
Download Best African American Fiction, 2010, DB72555
The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 27 hours 10 minutes.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author examines President Barack Obama's life through the prism of America's racial history. Analyzes his upbringing, education, work as a community organizer, and rise in Illinois politics. Considers Obama's civil rights heroes, mentors, and campaign strategies. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2010.
Download The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, DB70901
Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anthony Walton
Read by Gregory Gorton. Reading time 10 hours 38 minutes.
Basketball great Abdul-Jabbar and journalist Walton chronicle the training, battlefield, and postwar experiences of the first African American armored unit to fight in World War II alongside white troops. Authors describe the soldiers' 183 days on the French and German fronts and their struggles with racial prejudice. 2004.
Download Brothers in Arms, DB58545
The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West by William H. Leckie.
Read by Fred Major. Reading time 11 hours 59 minutes.
Updated account of the all-African American Ninth and Tenth Cavalry during the post-Civil War Indian campaigns. Recognizes their contributions to the conquest of the West. Describes daily life, social issues, and various battles and peacekeeping missions with Native Americans, outlaws, and Mexican revolutionaries. Originally published in 1967. 2003.
Download The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West, DB68915
A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. edited by Clayborne Carson.
Read by Martin Luther King Jr. Reading time 7 hours 37 minutes.
Collection of eleven speeches made by King. Includes "The Birth of a New Nation," which helped galvanize the civil rights movement, the famous "I Have a Dream," and his final oration, "I've Been to the Mountaintop." Each speech is introduced by a well-known leader, activist, or theologian. 2001.
Download A Call to Conscience, DB62330
Chicken Soup for the African American Soul: Celebrating and Sharing Our Culture One Story at a Time edited by Jack Canfield.
Read by Saidah Arrika Ekulona. Reading time 11 hours 52 minutes.
Coauthor and radio host Tom Joyner sees this book as an extension of his "efforts to reach the souls of black folks all around the country." Collection covers African American roots, families, resilience, and religion. Includes works and quotations by Colin Powell, Rosa Parks, Reggie Jackson, and Frederick Douglass. 2004.
Download Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, DB61889
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes.
Read by Marcia Churchill. Reading time 19 hours 35 minutes.
"What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun?" asks Langston Hughes in "Harlem ," one of 860 poems presented here. Others include "Aesthete in Harlem," "Beaumont to Detroit: 1943," "Blues on a Box," "Easy Boogie," "Prayer Meeting," and "Sunset--Coney Island." Hughes often uses jazz rhythms to share the pain and joy of life in black America from the 1920s to the mid-1960s. The collection is edited by Arnold Rampersad.
Download The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, DB41265
The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou by Maya Angelou.
Read by Gail Nelson. Reading time 3 hours .
In this collection of more than 150 poems, Angelou celebrates the lives of black people, though many of her poems are universal in their appeal. She uses speech patterns of southern blacks and of the street-wise hip, the currents of blues and jazz, and the rhythm of rap. The collection includes "Still I Rise" and "On the Pulse of Morning."
Download The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, DB42918
Cuttin' Up: Wit and Wisdom from Black Barber Shops by Craig Marberry.
Read by Bill Quinn. Reading time 3 hours 20 minutes.
Journalist crisscrossed the country to collect these anecdotes and quotes from barbershops, the "nation's earliest black businesses." Barbers (including Oprah Winfrey's dad) and customers reminisce about barbershop camaraderie, African American history, women, and current events.
Download Cuttin' Up: Wit and Wisdom from Black Barber Shops, DB61709
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 15 hours 28 minutes.
Obama, his father a Kenyan student and his mother a white Kansan, struggles with issues of identity and ethnicity. A Harvard Law School graduate, community organizer, and civil rights lawyer, Obama recounts a life-changing pilgrimage to Kenya to meet relatives from his father's other marriages. Some strong language. Bestseller. 1995.
Download Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, DB43877
Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice.
Read by Mary Kane. Reading time 9 hours 19 minutes.
Autobiography of president George W. Bush's secretary of state emphasizes her upbringing in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, during the Civil Rights era. Relates the way her parents--both educators--instilled in her a love of sports, politics, and music. Discusses her path to higher education and rise in Republican politics. Bestseller. 2010.
Download Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, DB71985
Fighting for America: Black Soldiers--The Unsung Heroes of World War II by Christopher Moore.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 13 hours 20 minutes.
Author chronicles the contributions of African American WWII service members, interweaving his own family history as the son of black veterans. Describes achievements of units such as the 761st Tank Battalion and the Tuskegee Airmen. Profiles soldiers who fought two battles--one abroad and one at home for racial equality. 2005.
Download Fighting for America, DB61836
Freedom in My Heart: Voices from the United States National Slavery Museum by Cynthia Jacobs Carter.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 11 hours 27 minutes.
An exploration of the history and legacy of slavery in America based on the collection of artifacts and documents of the U.S. National Slavery Museum. Presents letters, speeches, and other primary sources that illuminate slaves' experiences, including capture, daily life, maintaining a vibrant culture, and questing for freedom. 2008.
Download Freedom in My Heart, DB71621
Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell by Michael Gray.
Read by Jake Williams. Reading time 18 hours 10 minutes.
Author Michael Gray recounts his odyssey through the Deep South to research this biography of Georgia blues singer and twelve-string guitarist William Samuel McTell (1903-1959), who was born blind. Portrays Willie's travels and performances during the segregation era and the way his reputation grew after his death. 2009.
Download Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell, DB71430
I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond by Michael Oher. Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 6 hours 7 minutes.
Professional football player and the subject of the book and the movie The Blind Side (DB/RC 63689) describes his childhood in Memphis and his climb out of homelessness. Offers suggestions to kids in poverty and suggests ways adults can reach children who need help. Bestseller. 2011.
Download I Beat the Odds, DB73109
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
Read by Andrea Frierson-Toney. Reading time 9 hours 14 minutes.
Memoir by well-known African American poet and college professor Maya Angelou. She describes her childhood and adolescent years in rural Arkansas, in St. Louis, and in San Francisco, and the racial and gender hardships she endured. 1969.
Download I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, DB57200
The Journey of T.D. Jakes: Living a Life of Faith, Blessing, and Favor by Richard Young.
Read by Alan Bomar Jones. Reading time 5 hours 59 minutes.
Biography of African American minister, songwriter, author, and performer T.D. Jakes (born 1957). Traces Jakes's life from his impoverished Appalachian upbringing to his success as founder of a Dallas megachurch called the Potter's House. Commercial audiobook. 2008.
Download The Journey of T.D. Jakes: Living a Life of Faith, Blessing, and Favor, DB69416
Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement by Patricia Sullivan.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 20 hours 52 minutes.
Chronicles the history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from its 1909 founding as a vehicle for championing the complete equality of African Americans as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Discusses the group's grassroots endeavors to fight all forms of discrimination. Some strong language. 2009.
Download Lift Every Voice, DB71032
The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations by Ira Berlin.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 9 hours 11 minutes.
Award-winning historian discusses distinct upheavals during four centuries that affected people of African descent in the United States. Examines their forced removal from Africa, movement to America's interior, and migration to the north. Also covers the twentieth-century immigration of blacks from Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. 2010.
Download The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations, DB70936
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable.
Read by Jake Williams. Reading time 28 hours 7 minutes.
Biography of orator, activist, and icon Malcolm X focuses on his lifelong self-transformations. Discusses Malcolm's active--and often controversial--engagement in the civil rights struggle, his rupture with the Nation of Islam, his evolving vision of human liberation, 1965 assassination at age thirty-nine, and enduring legacy. Some violence and some strong language. Bestseller. 2011.
Download Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, DB72930
The Measure of a Man by Martin Luther King, Jr.
King, Martin Luther Jr. Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time 38 minutes.
Two meditations by the well-known American civil rights leader: "What Is Man?" and "The Dimensions of a Complete Life," plus an excerpt from his April 3, 1968, speech. King calls upon his Christian heritage as he reflects on the nature of human existence and the moral duties of the individual.
Download The Measure of a Man, DB42398
Michelle: A Biography by Liza Mundy.
Read by Martha Harmon Pardee. Reading time 7 hours 27 minutes.
Washington Post staff writer describes Michelle Obama's life from childhood through her political journey of becoming America's first African American first lady. Discusses her being the child of a Chicago city worker; her Ivy League education and successful career; marriage to Barack, who calls her "the boss"; and motherhood. 2008.
Download Michelle: A Biography, DB67711
Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery's Frontier by Lea VanderVelde.
Read by Kerry Dukin. Reading time 30 hours 7 minutes.
Law professor portrays Harriet Scott's life and role in the landmark slavery case that was rejected in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1857 decision. Describes Harriet's children, daily living, and servitude in Sioux territory and on military outposts. Speculates on possible reasons the Scotts first filed suit in St. Louis. 2009.
Download Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery's Frontier, DB69274
On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail by Charles E. Cobb, Jr.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 13 hours 23 minutes.
Journalist and civil rights activist Cobb discusses points of interest in eight states and Washington, D.C., that were significant to the civil rights movement of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. For each site, provides detailed narratives of the historic events, such as the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. 2008.
Download On the Road to Freedom, DB67352
Oprah: A Biography by Kitty Kelley.
Read by Margaret Strom. Reading time 24 hours 29 minutes.
Unauthorized biography of talk-show host, actress, and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey examines discrepancies between Winfrey's public accounts of her upbringing and those revealed by sometimes-critical relatives and friends. Based on hundreds of interviews, Kelley covers Winfrey's bathroom humor, career, on-air flubs, paternity, relationships, wealth, and fame.
Download Oprah: A Biography, DB71399
Racing While Black: How an African American Stock Car Team Made Its Mark on NASCAR by Leonard T. Miller.
Read by Robert Sams. Reading time 10 hours 40 minutes.
History of the African American-owned Miller Racing stock car team. Recounts the efforts of the author and his father, Leonard W. Miller, to turn their love of NASCAR into a company that offered opportunities for black drivers in a sport rooted in rural southern culture. Some strong language. 2010.
Download Racing While Black, DB71670
The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America by Raymond Arsenault.
Read by Jill Ferris. Reading time 14 hours 26 minutes.
Historian examines the life of Marian Anderson (1897-1993), whose musical talent and iconic image propelled her into a political role in the American struggle for racial equality. Recognizes Anderson's 1939 Lincoln Memorial concert as a major milestone in the civil rights movement.
Download The Sound of Freedom, DB70880
Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry, the Untold Story of an American Legend by Scott Nelson.
Read by Joe Wilson. Reading time 8 hours 4 minutes.
History professor explores the truths behind the legend of railway man John Henry. Recounts his imprisonment and forced labor for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Confirms Henry's 1871 contest with a steam drill, explores his mysterious death, and traces the evolution of the folk song that immortalizes his exploits. 2006.
Download Steel Drivin' Man, DB67453
Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne by James Gavin.
Read by Ray Hagen. Reading time 23 hours 40 minutes.
Biography of African American singer/actress Lena Horne, born in 1917 Brooklyn, who first performed at Harlem's Cotton Club at age sixteen. Interprets Horne's multiracial family background in the pre-civil rights era as the reason for emotional conflicts in both her personal and professional lives. 2009.
Download Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne, DB69545
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder.
Read by David Hartley-Margolin. Reading time 10 hours 21 minutes.
Biography of medical student Deo, who fled from genocide in Burundi to New York City in 1994 and continued his studies despite homelessness and poverty. Describes Deo's eventual establishment of an African medical clinic with the help of Paul Farmer, from Kidder's Mountains beyond Mountains (RC 59188). Violence. Bestseller. 2009.
Download Strength in What Remains, DB69574
Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Read by John Stratton. Reading time 5 hours 43 minutes.
Fifteen sermons by the African American pastor who dedicated his life to civil rights. Three were written in Georgia prisons, and all express Dr. King's Christian views and his application of biblical truths to intellectual uncertainties, emotional involvements, and spiritual weaknesses.
Download Strength to Love, DB44735
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 33 hours 24 minutes.
Collects documents generally recognized as composed or presented by the 1960s American civil rights leader, who championed nonviolent tactics. Entries are grouped by genre: philosophy, sermons and public addresses, essays, interviews, and books. The table of contents gives the date of each entry. Editor James M. Washington provides a general introduction and notes.
Download A Testament of Hope, DB42395
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin D.G. Kelley.
Read by Julian Thompson. Reading time 34 hours 47 minutes.
Historian chronicles the life of jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-1982), from his poverty-stricken childhood in North Carolina to his reclusive final years in New York City. Discusses Monk's musical influences, unique playing style, artistic collaborations, eccentric behavior, and influential oeuvre--much of which became jazz standards. 2009.
Download Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, DB71039
Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington by Robert J. Norrell.
Read by Chuck Young. Reading time 17 hours 16 minutes.
Revisionist portrait of African American educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), subject of the autobiography Up from Slavery (RC 32540). Focuses on Washington's founding of the Tuskegee Institute and efforts to reduce racial tensions by practical methods that drew criticism during his lifetime and posthumously from both blacks and whites. 2009.
Download Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington, DB69894
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.
Read by Erin Jones. Reading time 19 hours 57 minutes.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist chronicles the migration of African Americans from the South during 1915-1970. Recounts experiences of sharecropper's wife Ida Mae Gladney in 1937, citrus picker George Starling in 1945, and physician Pershing Foster in 1953. Asserts that institutionalized racism spurred millions to uproot themselves. Some violence. Bestseller. 2010.
Download The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, DB71929
Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend by James S. Hirsch.
Read by Patrick Downer. Reading time 31 hours 37 minutes.
Authorized biography of baseball outfielder Willie Mays, born in 1931 Alabama. Follows Mays from the Negro Leagues to the New York Mets. Highlights Mays's best games, including his astonishing catch when playing for the Giants in the 1954 World Series. Discusses his personal life and baseball's racial integration. Bestseller. 2010.
Download Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend, DB70896