The History of Black History Month
February is Black History Month in the United States and the perfect time to learn more about the history of African Americans in Minnesota. It grew out of Negro History Week which was first celebrated in 1926,created by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization founded by historian Carter G. Woodson. It evolved into Black History Month in 1976.
Learn More About Minnesota History
A recent story from the Pioneer Press profiled 16 Trailblazing Black Minnesotans You Should Know More About, such as George Bonga, a fur trader and voyageur of African American & Ojibwe descent, Lena O. Smith, Minnesota’s first Black woman attorney, and labor leader Nellie Stone Johnson.
Want to learn more about African Americans in Minnesota? Try these resources:
- North Star: Minnesota’s Black Pioneers, a documentary film from Twin Cities PBS about twelve African American Minnesotans.
- Umbra Search from University of Minnesota Libraries helps you find online photos, texts, video, and more about African Americans from over 1000 American archives, libraries, and museums.
- The Minnesota Historical Society provides online guides to many topics including:
- MNopedia, also from the Minnesota Historical Society, also includes biographies about African American Minnesotans, plus overviews of important organizations, communities, and events, such as the passage of a bill granting Black Minnesotans suffrage in 1868.
- The African American Studies Center includes biographies, encyclopedia articles, photos, and primary sources (Metro students, staff & faculty only).
- More books, ebooks, articles, and films about African Americans in Minnesota.
Celebrating Stories from the African American Diaspora
Join us at the Metropolitan State University Library on Saturday, February 25, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, with an African American Storytelling Picnic featuring master storyteller Nothando Zulu, President of the Black Storyteller’s Alliance. Join us for this cozy, indoor, winter picnic to listen to stories from the African Diaspora. This event is co-sponsored by the Student Parent Center and Saint Paul Public Library.