African Americans

For centuries, Africans brought to America as slaves and their descendents who were born into slavery were forced to keep their stories alive by telling them aloud. If slaves were caught writing–or teaching others–they were punished by law. Going to school was illegal. This Black History Month (February), in honor of African American storytellers of the past, celebrate today’s black authors whose words create powerful and beautiful literature. At the same time, be sure to take a closer look at the work of black illustrators whose art enhances the printed page. In this column, you’ll find a selection of newly published books and old favorites, written and/or illustrated by black authors and artists. These are only a sampling of titles to share with students. Look in your library for scores of others.

Elijah of Buxton

By Christopher Paul Curtis
Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from ...
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I Have A Dream

By Martin Luther King, Jr.
After reading about black writers, spend some time talking about one of the greatest black orators of all time--Martin Luther King, Jr. With ...
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Coretta Scott

By Ntozake Shange
Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta knew, too well, the unfairness of life in the segregated south. A yearning for ...
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