Black Voices & Experiences - Past, Present, Future

Black History Month 2021


During Black History Month, the Library highlights stories, history, resources, and more that celebrate the African American experience. Explore the collection of features below!


Reading & Viewing Recommendations 

From classic literature to contemporary cinema, the Library offers a number of ways to discover stories celebrating Black voices and perspectives. Check out a selection of recommended books and browse the collection of films available through the Library's free streaming services.



In partnership with PNC Bank, the Library is featuring a monthlong lineup of commemorative programming – from a discussion of an acclaimed film about a trailblazing high school rowing team in Chicago’s rough West Side to a conversation between Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and a singular figure in the city’s decades-long fight for civil rights, Alvin Brooks. Tune in for these events and other Black History Month activities the Library is hosting. 


Spotlight on Black History in Kansas City 

Each year, the Library partners with the Local Investment Commission (LINC) and the Black Archives of Mid-America to produce a Black History Month booklet celebrating the legacies and accomplishments of notable African Americans who blazed trails, broke barriers, led and left a mark on Kansas City history. The special 2020-21 edition, Kansas City Black History: The African American story of history and culture in our community, compiles the stories of more than 70 influential figures — with new essays from several local contemporary voices. Learn more about the project. 


Black History Live Museum

Each week in February, the Library's Kansas City Digital Media Lab is producing videos highlighting notable Black Americans and their achievements as part of their second Black History Live Museum project.  The project follows the theme “The Journey Continues,” underscoring the ever-changing impact of our collective past and today’s ongoing efforts to ensure equality, justice, opportunity, and freedom for all.


Black Thought and Culture

Black Thought and Culture is a  digital collection of approximately 100,000 pages of non-fiction writings by major American Black leaders—teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures—covering 250 years of history. In addition to the most familiar works, the resource presents a great deal of previously inaccessible material, including letters, speeches, prefatory essays, political leaflets, interviews, periodicals, and trial transcripts. The ideas of over 1,000 authors present an evolving and complex view of what it is to be Black in America. Library card required to access from home. (Need one? Get an eCard immediately!)