Charles Person

A Seat on the Bus

June 25, 2021

“All our lives are compilations of stories,” he said. “As members of the American Library Association, you put stories into the hands of people in your community to help them learn, and grow, and expand their worlds.” At 78, Person noted, he has finally realized his decades-old dream of writing a book and telling his … Continue reading A Seat on the Bus



Historical photos of Black men participating in civic life from the Black Male Archives.

Chronicling the Black Experience

June 1, 2021

“I felt there weren’t enough stories portraying positive Black men,” says Freeman, director of Riviera Beach (Fla.) Public Library. “If people, mainly white people, saw us in a more holistic light, as fathers, husbands, and leaders, they wouldn’t automatically assume we are criminals, monsters, and demons.” To fill this need, Freeman created the Black Male … Continue reading Chronicling the Black Experience


A band celebrates Juneteenth in Austin, Texas, in 1900. Photo by Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

By the Numbers: Juneteenth

June 1, 2021

19 Date in June when Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US, is observed. The holiday is also sometimes called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. 1865 Year that US General Gordon Granger arrived with 2,000 Union troops in Galveston, Texas, on June 19 with news that the Civil … Continue reading By the Numbers: Juneteenth


Call Number Podcast: A Conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones

April 28, 2021

American Libraries senior editor and Call Number host Phil Morehart speaks with New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the 1619 Project and honorary chair of Preservation Week, about the project’s origins, her team’s research, and why community archives are vital to preserving history. If you have feedback for the podcast team, email us or … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: A Conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones


400 Years of Black American Life

January 23, 2021

Speaking January 23 at the Opening Session of ALA Midwinter Virtual 2021, the pair described both the significance of the volume and the process of compiling it. It features the work of 90 Black writers—novelists, journalists, poets, historians, and philosophers—on different eras of the Black American experience. “We brought together a community of Black writers … Continue reading 400 Years of Black American Life


Natalie Baszile

Voices from the Land

January 22, 2021

“Farming is an integral part of our national identity,” she told viewers from the Diversity In Publishing stage at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual on January 22. “Land represents freedom, independence, and self-determination.” But Baszile, herself a great-great-granddaughter of a farmer and beekeeper who lived near Tuskegee, Alabama, saw that Black … Continue reading Voices from the Land



Golden Arches, Black Franchises

June 25, 2019

“The reason I’m conversant in [race, social justice, and public policy] topics is because it all started at the library,” she told those gathered for the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services President’s Program at the American Library Association’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 24. Chatelain reminisced about being dropping off … Continue reading Golden Arches, Black Franchises


ALA logo

ALA Honors African Americans Who Fought Library Segregation

July 3, 2018

Resolution to Honor African Americans Who Fought Library Segregation Whereas the system of “Jim Crow” laws and customs officially existed into the 1960s—a century after the official end of slavery in the United States; Whereas virulent racism, disenfranchisement, Black Codes, and racial segregation laws imposed a rigid system of officially sanctioned racial segregation in virtually … Continue reading ALA Honors African Americans Who Fought Library Segregation


Members of an African drum and dance ensemble lead patrons in a performance routine as part of Richland Library's day-long Black History Month Fair on January 28, 2017. Photo: Richland Library

Every Month Is Black History Month

March 1, 2018

Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina, needed a better way to reach its African-American community. Quincy Pugh, film and sound manager, explains how the decision to celebrate black history year-round and start “I Have a Problem with That”—a series of panel discussions that address challenging social issues—has boosted program attendance and engagement among its target … Continue reading Every Month Is Black History Month


Jessie Carney Smith in 1965, her first year as a university librarian at Fisk University in Nashville.

Blazing Trails

January 2, 2018

American Libraries spoke with five leading African-American librarians about their careers, the changes they have witnessed over the decades, and the current issues in librarianship. While no two people have the same story, all five interviewees note inclusivity as an important theme. They discuss libraries as safe havens, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the … Continue reading Blazing Trails