Throughout the month of February, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) will commemorate the legacy and history of Black culture through a plethora of interactive, virtual programs for customers of all ages. 

In 1926, African American historian Carter G. Woodson implemented a week-long commemoration exploring the history and culture of the heritage. Over four decades later, in 1970, this event evolved into Black History Month. 

Since 2018, thousands of Somerset County residents have joined SCLSNJ in celebrating the historical month. Now, in 2021, SCLSNJ will continue fostering these important discussions and historical explorations. 

“This year SCLSNJ wanted to commemorate Black History Month by providing youth programs that come alive through virtual live theater,” said Christine Jansen, manager of youth services programming and collaborations, public services. “As children meet and hear stories from famous American groundbreakers like George Washington Carver and Thurgood Marshall, they will connect, discover, explore, and share a deeper understanding about these famous American figures and why they are an important part of American history as they talk about their achievements, integration, and equality.”

Children of all ages can virtually meet reenactors of noteworthy figures in Black history, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Madam C.J. Walker, and Jackie Robinson; discover the art of African storytelling; and learn about the American Civil Rights Movement.

Adult customers will have the opportunity to virtually connect with lectures on prominent figures including Frederick Douglass; explore virtual reenactments; and watch the documentary “Blacked Out,” with its director Professor John Hulme.

In addition to programs, SCLSNJ also offers a vast collection of media that celebrates the Black community.

“Through our diverse collections, youth and adult customers alike can discover the triumphs and stories of Black individuals throughout history,” said Yvonne Selander, collection development manager. “We hope that our customers of all ages will celebrate Black History Month with us during the month of February and beyond.”

#BeSafeAtHome and connect with virtual Black History Month programs:

Meet Dr. King (grades K-5)

A Black News Service for America – Presented by Dr. Lawrence Hogan (adults)

Fables, Folktales, and Stories – Celebration of African Storytelling (grades K-5)

Phillis Wheatley Slave Girl, Literary Genius – Portrayed by Dr. Daisy Century (adults)

Frederick Douglass’s Relevance – For the 21st Century’s Black Lives Matter Protests (adults)

Preschool Storytime – Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Books (ages 3-4)

The Civil Rights Movement and Organized Labor – Presented by The Labor Museum (adults) 

George Washington Carver and Friends (grades Pre-K to 5)

Harriet Hemmings and the Pursuit of Happiness – The Story of Thomas Jefferson’s Enslaved Daughter (adults)

Tulsa 1921 Race and Power – Destruction of America’s Black Wall Street (adults)

Explore the Documentary Movie “Blacked Out” – Questions and Answers with Director John Hulme (adults)

Let It Shine – The American Civil Rights Movement 1955-1968 (grades 3 and up)

Black Children and the Civil Rights Movement – Presented by Pr. Mekala Audain (adults)

Representative John Lewis – Joins the Pantheon of Our Strong Black Ancestors (adults)

Explore librarian-curated Black History Month media selections for youth:

Discover historical biographies and nonfiction reads for adults:

Celebrate Black History Month with your Library, everyday: