Untold American Stories: Black History Month
We are all capable of more than we do. The influence or action of Soul confers a freedom, which explains the phenomena of improvisation and the fervor of untutored lips.—Mary Baker Eddy
Join us for a fun-filled week of educational programming, as we explore true and inspiring stories of achievement. In collaboration with Sweet Blackberry® and local artists, the Library will offer morning and afternoon activities centered on aviation, invention, dance, and artmaking. These will complement short film screenings. And don’t forget to explore the Mapparium®—it’s free all day for everyone 17 and younger!
Each day will feature a morning and an afternoon interactive workshop, as well as drop-in art activities and Mapparium tours. While workshops require advance registration, art activities, film screenings, and Mapparium tours do not.
Flying Free: The Bessie Coleman Story
Hear the true story of Bessie Coleman (1892–1926), the first African American woman to obtain a pilot’s license. Bessie grew up during a time when aviation schools in the United States would not let her learn to fly because of both her gender and race. But this didn’t prevent her from accomplishing her dream. She taught herself French and moved to France, where she earned her license from the renowned Caudron Brothers’ School of Aviation. Narrated by Laurence Fishburne. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Coretta Scott King Book Award winner.
Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story
Hear the motivational story of Janet Collins (1917–2003), the first African
American prima ballerina—and learn some inspiring dance moves. When the world-renowned Ballets Russes held auditions in 1934, Janet could hardly wait for her moment to shine. But she soon learned that in order to share her gifts she would have to blaze a new path through the barriers of discrimination. Narrated by Chris Rock. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Coretta Scott King Book Award winner.
Learn about the remarkable life of Garrett Morgan (1877–1963), an African American inventor, and then create something inspired by his story. As a young boy, Garrett didn’t know what he was good at. After moving to a big city, he saw a series of collisions, which spurred him to invent the three-position traffic signal. Narrated by Queen Latifah. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Coretta Scott King Book Award winner.
The Journey of Henry Box Brown
28-minute film screenings
Be inspired by the true story of Henry “Box” Brown (1815–1889). In 1848 Henry set out on an amazing journey from slavery in Virginia to freedom in Philadelphia. With help along the way, he avoided discovery during his creative escape. Narrated by Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actress Alfre Woodard.
Bringing little known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere!
Sweet Blackberry’s stories illustrate the concept that tremendous obstacles are actually opportunities for greatness. Youth of all races and ethnicities feel a sense of shared history when they learn about the real people whose lives and work impact their everyday lives.
- To inquire about registration for groups, wait-listing, or cancellations, please contact Teddy Crecelius, the Library’s Group Tours Coordinator, at [email protected] or 617-450-7330.
- All children must be registered to participate in daily workshops.
- Although all children must be accompanied by an adult chaperone, session registration is for children only—please do not include adults in your final registration count.
- All registration is on a first-come, first served basis. Spaces fill quickly and have limited seating.
Visiting the Library
- Please plan to arrive 15 minutes early for a workshop session. This will ensure we can accommodate all our visitors.
All workshops meet in the Library’s Book Nook, near the 200 Massachusetts Avenue entrance.
- Art activities do not require registration. Please feel free to join them at your convenience. They meet in the Publishing House Lobby.
- All activities, including Mapparium tours, are free for everyone ages 17 and younger.
- We suggest that all chaperones review our Chaperone Guide. before visiting.
- We strongly suggest that groups of 10 or more (including chaperones) sign up in advance for a Mapparium.
- To register groups of 10 or more, please contact Teddy Crecelius, the Library’s Group Tour Coordinator, at [email protected] or 617-450-7330.
- Free bus parking is available for up to three hours on Huntington Avenue westbound, adjacent to the Christian Science Plaza. Drop-off is at the Library’s 200 Massachusetts Avenue entrance. Please do not idle buses on Huntington Avenue.
Directions and parking
- Find driving and public transportation directions to the Library here.
All images are used by permission of Sweet Blackberry © 2019. All rights reserved.