Black History Month

Keep the spirit alive this month and every month with books by African American authors. Source documents are essential in gaining a better understanding of history, and Dover has many affordable editions. Dover also has some great coloring and activity books to help readers get a better understanding of American society.

Black History month got its start in 1926. Historian and educator Carter G. Woodson and what is now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History chose the date because Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is February 16. The observance started as a week and expanded into a month. 
Dover has several of Woodson’s books available, including a book of African folk tales. This fun book of stores is one example of Woodson’s commitment to education and his love of fostering learning.

What better time to read (or re-read) the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass? This intensely powerful and personal memoir is the story of one American who was born in slavery and yet transcended all the evil that was done to him. Douglass is considered so important to our country’s history that the National Parks have a site dedicated to him. Mr. Douglas would have been 199 years old on February 17 of this year.

Douglass had an indomitable will. As a child, he taught himself to read; essentially stealing knowledge that had been denied to him by law. Douglass observed the connection between sounds and letters and asked his playmates in Baltimore, who were often white children, to explain letters to him. Although he was sent back to the plantation at age 15 and subjected to the discipline of a “slave-breaker,” he never lost his thirst to educate others and to fight for his own freedom. He was also a generous man, writing to his former master many years later in thoughtful and tender language. “I love you,” he wrote to Thomas Auld, “but I hate slavery.

Great Speeches by African Americans is also available from Dover, and includes the works of abolitionist Sojourner Truth, ground-breaking journalist Ida B. Wells, and former President Barak Obama. Dover also has a coloring book about our 44th president, and paper dolls of former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Make your celebration even more fun with food! Dover has two titles that will whet your appetite. A Date with a Dish is a collection of recipes by Ebony magazine food writer Freda DeKnight. And the first cook book by an African American chef, Rufus Estes’ Good Things to Eat, is a reprint from 1911. It’s interesting to read Mr. Estes’ recipes which are more narrative in style than modern cookbooks with their precise list of ingredients.

There’s no shortage of great resources at Dover to learn about African American history and culture, for this month and for all the months to come.