Celebrate Black History Month

As we welcome the first woman of color to be elected as Vice President of the United States, we want to take this time to celebrate our diverse communities as well as the Black and African American people and events in history that continue to inspire us all year-round.

Since the 1970s, Black History Month has been observed in the month of February in the United States, marking a time to recognize and celebrate the innumerable achievements, contributions, and experiences of Black and African American people. Following a year in which race and racial justice rose to the forefront of national conversations, it's clear that these celebrations and dialogues shouldn't be limited to just 28 days in February. While we have some special virtual programs this month, we're committed to incorporating voices and perspectives from our diverse communities year-round in our programs and materials.

You're invited to celebrate with us at San Mateo County Libraries as we continue to amplify the history, experiences, and voices of Black and African American people. 

Virtual Programs

Interactive Storytime With Michelle
Tuesday, Feb. 9 ∙ 3:30 PM, opens a new window
Tuesday, Feb. 23 ∙ 3:30 PM, opens a new window

Join Michelle to read books that celebrate Black life in this fun, interactive storytime for all ages.

Adult Book Club: The Underground Railroad
Wednesday, Feb. 10 ∙ 7:30 PM, opens a new window

At our monthly Adult Book Club, we will be reading and discussing The Underground Railroad, opens a new window by Colson Whitehead. This novel published in 2016 is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.

Revelations: Art From the African American South
Wednesday, Feb. 17 ∙ 7:00 PM, opens a new window

For centuries, African American artists working in the southern part of the United States had to “make do,” utilizing whatever materials they could find. But what emerged will make you reconsider what art can and should be. With the addition of 65 objects, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, opens a new window expands their collection of African American art created largely by unknown artists, until now. Join us as we take a look at the ingenuity and creativity that can be borne of oppression and sacrifice.

Tender Watch Party and Q&A With Director Daryl Jones
Tuesday, Feb. 23 ∙ 7:00 PM, opens a new window

Join us for a virtual film screening of Tender followed by a question and answer session with the director and independent filmmaker, Daryl Jones. Tender captures the color and beauty of one of San Francisco’s most maligned neighborhoods, the Tenderloin, and follows three black trans women as they describe their roots and ties to this historically transgender space in the city of San Francisco. Yet, their efforts to remain there dwindle as rents rise and gentrification encroaches.

High Low Movie Club: The Watermelon Woman
Thursday, Feb. 25 ∙ 8:00 PM, opens a new window

At our new virtual movie club, freelance writer Neyat Yohannes, opens a new window will join us for a viewing of The Watermelon Woman, opens a new window, the first feature film directed by a Black lesbian. Written, directed by, and starring Cheryl Duunye, the film is considered a landmark in New Queer Cinema.

Black History Month Celebration Storytime With Kenny and Kelly
Friday, Feb. 26 ∙ 10:30 AM, opens a new window

Join Kelly and Kenny for a live interactive storytime celebrating Black History Month with stories and songs.

Reading Lists

Children's Reads for Black History Month




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Teen Reads for Black History Month




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Adult Reads for Black History Month




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Other Online Celebrations, Exhibits, and Resources

A Conversation with Dr. Cornel West & Rick Najera - Cañada College
Thursday, Jan. 28 ∙ 4:00 PM, opens a new window

Join Cañada College for a conversation with Dr. Cornel West & Rick Najera as they speak about the shared history of African Americans & Latinx Peoples.

Community Conversation, Art and Civil Rights - The County of San Mateo
Tuesday, Feb. 23 ∙ 3:30 PM, opens a new window

In conversation with members of the wider community, arts leaders will learn about the social justice issues facing underserved and underrepresented communities in the County and begin to consider artistic responses and collaborations.

Black History Month Intergenerational Community Dinner - San Mateo County Pride Center
Thursday, Feb. 25 ∙ 6:00 PM, opens a new window

Join the San Mateo County Pride Center for a virtual Black History Month Intergenerational Dinner in partnership with the African American Community Initiative, the Pride Initiative, and the LGBT Commission.

San Mateo County's African American History - San Mateo County Historial Association
Online Exhibit, opens a new window

Explore and learn about our County's untold African American history with information spanning the County's first African American residents, to the Civil Rights movement, and to challenges and accomplishments in the present day.

Black History Month Resource Guide for Educators and Families - The Center for Racial Justice in Education
Online Resources, opens a new window

The history and voices of Black people should be heard in our schools and homes not just in February, but all year long. This expansive collection of resources from the Center for Racial Justice in Education, opens a new window will help open conversations and understand the significance of doing so.

How will you be observing Black History Month? Let us know in the comments below.

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