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Black History Month 2024

Black History Month 2024: African Americans & the Arts

Join the SJSU King Library in celebrating Black History Month! February marks the beginning of this month-long celebration and acknowledges the impact of he Black community through their achievements and contributions to society. 


Historical Context

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950)
Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950)

Dr. Carter G. Woodson pioneered the first Negro History Week. It was decided that it would be celebrated during the week that held the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two influential figures in the history of Black history. Prior celebrations have been documented as far back as the early 1900s and later was extended to a month-long acknowledgment of the historical contributions of Black people. 

With the current social climate, celebrating and acknowledging these historical contributions is vital to preserving the true history of the Black culture. 

“Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it was somehow separate from our collective American history or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington or from some of our sports heroes.”
– President Barack Obama's speech at the annual reception for Black History Month at the White House on February 18, 2016

This year’s theme for Black History Month is African Americans and the Arts. “African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount. African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment.” (ASALH - Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Learn more about how we’re celebrating Black History Month through the following events and exhibitions. 


Events & Exhibits

February 1 to March 16

An African American Book Festival: Celebrating Black Bay Area Authors

Hosted by SJSU King Library's AAACNA Studies Center

February 1 - March 16, 2024

5th Floor, AAACNA Studies Center

In celebration of Black History Month, a collection of Bay Area Black Authors’ books will be on display encompassing various genres, History, Biography/Memoir, Self-Help/Self-Awareness, Novels, Children's books, Christianity, Art, and Photo books. This exhibit will highlight the importance of Black Studies, Black voices, and Black Authors who use the artform of the written word to preserve history for the empowerment of the Black community.

February 9

The Tapestry of Black History

Friday, February 9, 2024  |  12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Room 225, 2nd Floor, King Library

True historical accounts of the Black American experience told through the intricate threads of handmade quilts. Join educator and historian Khristel Johnson for a unique recounting of periods in Black American history.

February 16

An Exploration of the Music of William Grant Still

Friday, February 16, 2024  |  12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Schiro Room, 5th Floor, King Library / Zoom


Join the students of Dr. Micheal Hernandez, San José’s award winning Echo Quartet as they perform and discuss the life and music of William Grant Still in this unique recital.

February 19

A Conversation About Black Historical Relevance, Memory & Forgetting with Dr. Keenan Norris

Monday, February 19, 2024 


Who knows who David Walker was? Why has one of the central figures in the movement to abolish slavery largely been forgotten and why is knowledge of Walker's life and work so important to present day battles over book bans, critical race theory and social justice? Keenan Norris uses the digital humanities to investigate these questions and to open up a dialogue about pressing current-day concerns.

February 28

“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” Book Discussion*

Wednesday, February 28, 2024  |  12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Room 525 (AAACNA Program Room), 5th Floor, King Library

SJSU Faculty and Staff are invited to join the Black Faculty & Staff Association and the Jewish Faculty & Staff Association for a lunchtime discussion of James McBride’s award-winning book,The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. Bring your own lunch and share your thoughts. *SJSU Faculty/Staff Only



San Jose Public Library Programs

For events happening at a San José Public Library branch near you, visit

Edmonia Luis Sculptures

Edmonia Lewis Sculptures

California Room, San José Public Library

Learn More

Faricita Hall Collage

Faricita Hall (Wyatt)

Black Spartans Exhibit, SJSU King Library

Explore Now

Henrietta Harris Collage

Henrietta Harris

Black Spartans Exhibit, SJSU King Library

Discover Now

Edward Homer Soulds Collage

Edward Homer Soulds

Black Spartans Exhibit, SJSU King Library

Visit Now

In Partnership

SJSU King Library
San José Public Library
SJSU Department of English and Comparative Literature
SJSU Department of Music