Plano Reads: Black History Month
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Plano Reads: Black History Month

Black History Month, also called African American History Month, has been observed in the United States since 1970. Here is a selection of nonfiction books for readers interested in exploring the remarkable accomplishments of Black Americans, past and present.

American Sirens: The Incredible Story of the Black Men Who Became America’s First Paramedics by Kevin Hazzard – Freedom House EMS in Pittsburgh was a group of Black men who became America’s first paramedics and set the gold standard for emergency medicine around the world, only to have their story and their legacy erased—until now. This is the extraordinary story of an unjustly forgotten group of Black men in Pittsburgh who became the first paramedics in America, saving lives and changing the course of emergency medicine around the world. Print |

The Black History Book by DK Publishing – With profiles of key people, movements, and events, The Black History Book brings together accounts of the most significant ideas and milestones in Black history and culture. Discover the rich and complex history of the peoples of Africa and the struggles and triumphs of Black cultures and communities around the world. Print |

Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World by Wil Haygood – This unprecedented history of Black cinema examines 100 years of Black movies—from Gone with the Wind, to Blaxploitation films, to Black Panther—using the struggles and triumphs of the artists, and the films themselves, as a prism to explore Black culture, civil rights, and racial struggle in America. Print |

The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution by Julius S. Scott – A gripping and colorful account of the intercontinental communication networks that tied together the free and enslaved peoples of the New World, from Venezuela to Virginia.  Writing a powerful “history from below,” Scott follows the spread of “rumors of emancipation” and the people behind them, bringing to life the world of those caught up in the slave revolution in the 18th Century. Print |

Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way by Caseen Gaines – For readers of Hidden Figures and Something WonderfulFootnotes is the story of New York in the Roaring Twenties and the very first Broadway show with an all-Black cast and creative team. It was a resounding success and left an indelible mark on our popular culture. Print |

Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and the Unseen by George McCalman – Art director and graphic designer McCalman’s illustrated guide to Black pioneers began as a Black History Month challenge: to research, write, and paint a portrait of one important figure from Black history per day. His project now includes 145 portraits that reflect in color and style the unique lives of their subjects. Booklist calls this book “an engaging entry point into Black history” for all readers.  Print |

Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books by Ken Quattro – Stories of Black artists who drew, mostly covertly behind-the-scenes, superhero, horror, and romance comics in the early years of the industry. The life stories of each man’s personal struggles and triumphs are represented as they broke through into a world formerly occupied only by whites. Includes examples of each artist’s work, plus unpublished artist’s photos. Print |

My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi – One of America’s most innovative young chefs presents classic recipes from Africa, and Black communities in the Caribbean, New York and the American South, all reflecting the history of African and American foods—and showcasing his remarkable professional skills. Print |

Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America by Jason Reid – This book chronicles the shameful history of the treatment of Black players in the NFL, as well as the breakout careers of a new generation of Black quarterbacks, including Colin Kaepernick, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray. Print |

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson – Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of Black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America, and its effects are still visible today. Print |eBook |CD/Play |

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