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Celebrate Black History Month with NEH

February 10, 2024

What was the Reverse Underground Railroad? Who really wrote The Bondwoman’s Narrative? What happened at the so-called “Colored Conventions”? How did Black musicians influence the Beatles? Who named themselves “The Sisterhood”?

Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917–2000), Market Scene, 1966 – Gouache on paper, Chrysler Museum of Art

The answers to these questions and many, many more can be found in books, documentaries, and other resources funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Together, they tell stories from across the country and throughout the nation’s history, providing a robust bookshelf and watchlist for Black History Month.  

One recent lecture looks back at African-American experiences in order to forge a path forward.  On September 26, 2023, Ruth J. Simmons, professor, author, and president emerita of Prairie View A&M, Brown University, and Smith College, delivered the 2023 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Her lecture “Facing History to Find a Better Future,” drew on her more than 50 years’ experience as a scholar, pioneering academic administrator, and changemaker in higher education. Stream the lecture here.

To curate your own Black History Month celebration, browse the NEH Virtual Bookshelf here.

Learn more about humanities programming in South Dakota by signing up for SDHC e-Updates