We Keep Moving Mountains: Some Extraordinary Black Creators
I was inspired to create this blog post because Black History Month is the perfect time to highlight some of the many extraordinary Black creative figures, from trailblazing librarians to poets and essayists. I tried to include mostly lesser-known people, but couldn’t help adding well-known figures too.
This is not a complete list, of course! There are many people I wanted to include like George Washington Carver (one of the most prominent scientists of the early 20th century), Alice Dunbar-Nelson (we recommend reading Dr. Tara T. Green’s Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson - she has an incredible seminar that started on Monday, February 13), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Harriet A. Jacobs (read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself or view her reimagined voice alongside others at our Black Literature Matters: The 1800s program).
This can never be a complete list because we have been moving mountains - we know the taste of sorrow and pain, but also joy and celebration.
“For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption we feared at its inception.”
~ Amanda Gorman
- Collected Poems by Chinua Achebe
- Books by Maya Angelou
- Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Don Tate
- This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges
- Angela Davis: An Autobiography
- On the Bus with Rosa Parks: Poems by Rita Dove
- Books by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
- Poetry by Amanda Gorman
- Books by Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin, including Read Until You Understand
- The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales told by Virginia Hamilton; illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
- Black. First.: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World by Cheryl Willis Hudson; illustrations by Erin K. Robinson
- Poetry and letters by Langston Hughes
- Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings by Zora Neale Hurston ; edited by Cheryl A. Wall
- Books by Jamaica Kincaid
- Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
- Dorothy Porter Wesley at Howard University: Building a Legacy of Black History
- by Janet Sims-Wood; foreword by Dr. Thomas C. Battle; afterword by Mr. Howard Dodson
- Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization by Neil deGrasse Tyson
- Books by Derek Walcott
- Books by Renée Watson
- Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Eric Velasquez
- When Washington was in Vogue: A Love Story (A Lost Novel of the Harlem Renaissance) by Edward Christopher Williams; with commentaries by Adam McKible and Emily Bernard
- The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi; illustrated by Loveis Wise
Want more book recommendations? Check out new Black History Month-adjacent acquisitions or look over our Black Literature Matters portal.