Black History Month 2023

Black History Month 2023

This year, the Library will be honoring Black History Month with an exploration and exaltation of Black arts.  Events will be held in the Library's Cooper Room and streamed on Zoom.  Zoom links can be found in the event on our website calendar.  Event Recordings and resource sheets are linked for each of the events below when possible. 

February 1st at 6:00pm: "Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Their Contributions to Jazz" with Dr. Yiqun Chen
This presentation will provide an overview of the development of jazz music in the United States and highlight specific contributions by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.
View Recording

February 7 at 5:30pm: "Within our Gates" film screening and "Oscar Micheaux: From Homesteading to Hollywood” presentation with Marthetta Watson
The 1920 Oscar Micheaux film, “Within Our Gates,” tells the story of an educated Black woman with a shocking past who dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished Black youths after she is abandoned by her fiancé (description adapted from IMDb). Watson’s presentation will introduce Oscar Micheaux, a Black homesteader from Gregory County, SD who became known as the first Black filmmaker. She will discuss how many of his experiences on the prairie influenced the subjects of his numerous novels and movies. Marthetta Watson's presentation is made possible through support from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
View Michaeux Film on YouTube
View Marthetta Watson Recording

February 16 at 6:30pm: “Aaron Douglas: Visual Artist of the Harlem Renaissance” with Peggy Jones
This visual presentation will introduce the artist Aaron Douglas, the “Father of Black Art.” Douglas was the first Black graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln Department of Art. His work is a celebration of Afrocentric Modernism, with which he established one of the earliest affirmative depictions of Black identity, history, and experience.
View Recording

February 23 at 6:00pm: African American Read-In
At this all-ages event, community members will read selected readings and excerpts by Black authors. This event will open with a “book tasting” where attendees will have a chance to mingle, enjoy refreshments, and browse books by Black authors from various genres. Readings will begin at 6:20pm. The National African American Read-In was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). More than 6 million people have participated in this initiative. This event is co-sponsored by the SDSU Hilton M. Briggs Library.
Book Tasting Reading List 

February 28 at 6:00pm: Black History Month Celebration
This all-ages event is a way to foster community connections and an appreciation of Black history and culture through food, fellowship, and activities. The evening will begin with a free soul food tasting from R Cross M Big Country Cooking in Sioux Falls, as well as time to browse activities and displays. The evening will continue with presentations starting at 6:30pm, including a talk by the Director and Curator of the South Dakota African American History Museum, student presentations, and introductions by community organizations.