Centering and Celebrating Black History
Posted on: February 16, 2024
February is Black History Month, an opportunity to bring intentional focus to the centering and celebrating of Black history. We’ve compiled this list of local Black history resources, books, films, and other avenues to dig deeper into our local and national history and find new ways to join the celebration.
Learn About Black History at JMU
- Black Firsts at JMU: An interactive timeline created by students in the African, African American, and Diaspora (AAAD) Studies minor program featuring the first Black students, faculty, and staff at JMU among other milestones in the university’s history. Work on the timeline was supported by the Digital Scholarship and Distinctive Collections department in the Libraries.
- Digital exhibit on race relations at JMU: An exhibit supported by Digital Scholarship and Distinctive Collections that gathers materials from JMU Special Collections that confront the painful racism of JMU’s past, as well as the efforts of students, faculty, and administrators to make JMU a more inclusive place.
- Furious Flower Poetry Center collections: JMU Libraries stewards the historical records for JMU’s Furious Flower Poetry Center, the nation’s first academic center for Black poetry.
- Renamed buildings at JMU: Learn about the people who were honored with the renaming of three buildings on JMU’s campus in 2021, thanks to the work of the Campus History committee and community members who supported the effort.
Explore Black History in Harrisonburg and nearby
- African Americans in Harrisonburg Oral History Collection: Oral histories compiled as part of JMU’s 1978 summer workshop, “Oral Tradition and Storytelling in the Black Community of Harrisonburg.”
- Augusta County African American Records: Added to the Histories along the Blue Ridge digital project in 2022.
- Celebrating Simms: The Story of the Lucy F. Simms School: Learn how JMU Libraries supports a digital project celebrating a local leader and educator: Celebrating Lucy Simms and Black History in Harrisonburg.
- Celebrating Simms: The Story of the Lucy F. Simms School: Learn how JMU Libraries supports a digital project that celebrates a local leader and educator, features oral histories of local Black community members, offers a map of Landmarks in African American History in Harrisonburg, and an provides interactive timeline of African American Life in Harrisonburg.
- Learn about Newtown: Watch a recording of a 2013 “Remembering Newtown” event (co-hosted by JMU Libraries) to learn about the urban renewal project in the 1950s and 60s that destroyed many Black homes and businesses in the northeast neighborhood of Harrisonburg.
- Local history collection: The Ruth and Lowell Toliver Collection of Newman Family Papers in JMU Special Collections offer papers related to George Ambrose Newman, who served for 33 years as a teacher and administrator in Harrisonburg’s early African American schools and is remembered as a trailblazing member of Harrisonburg’s Black community. Learn more: Documenting Black History in Harrisonburg.
Engage with Black History in the Libraries
- African, African American, and Diaspora (AAAD) Studies Research guide: Resources for AAAD Studies at JMU.
- Black comic book collection: Learn about our ongoing work to collect vintage Black comic books. This effort builds on the Bradley and Brian Flota comic book collection, which comprises more than 9,700 vintage comic books donated by a JMU librarian to JMU Special Collections.
- Black Lives Matter book displays: Explore our Understanding Black Lives Matter virtual book display and our Still I Rise: Continuing the Conversation on Black Lives Matter virtual book display.
- Black Newspaper Collection from ProQuest: A collection of prominent Black newspapers, such as the Chicago Defender, Baltimore Afro-American, New York Amsterdam News, Pittsburgh Courier, and The Norfolk Journal and Guide.
- HistoryMakers Digital Archive: A video archive of African American oral histories documenting the men and women who have made significant contributions to American life, history, and culture during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
- Juneteenth book display: Explore our virtual book display to learn more about Juneteenth, the federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States.
Digital Humanities Projects
- Mapping the Black Digital and Public Humanities: This interactive and searchable map of digital and public humanities projects related to Black history & culture was created and is maintained by faculty, library professionals, and graduate students at JMU.
- Racial Terror: Lynching in Virginia: This website focuses on telling the stories of all the known lynching victims who were killed in Virginia between 1866 and 1932, most of them African American men. It was created by JMU faculty and undergraduate students with support from the Digital Scholarship and Distinctive Collections department in the Libraries.
- Memorializing Racial Terror: Lynching Markers in the United States: This digital project digital project aims to catalog and map all the historical markers commemorating victims of lynching in the United States. It was created by JMU faculty and undergraduate students with support from the Digital Scholarship and Distinctive Collections department in the Libraries.
Black History in Film
Check out the Black History Month video collection of hundreds of streaming movies and videos in Kanopy – an award-winning video streaming service providing access to more than 30,000 independent and documentary films, available to you for free through JMU Libraries as a member of the JMU community.
Top-rated documentaries include:
- Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1954-1985
- The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords
- White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books
Check out the entire Black History Month video collection or browse all 30,000 titles in Kanopy.
Attend a JMU Event
Check out the Black History Month events hosted by JMU’s Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS).
Learn more and join the national celebration of Black History Month.
Categorised in: General Collections News, JMU Libraries News, Special Collections News