Black History and Cultural Heritage


Black History and Cultural Heritage

Black History Month began as a week-long celebration in 1926 during the second week of February, created by historian Carter G. Woodson and the newly-named Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Since 1976, Black History Month has been celebrated nationally and recognized by every United States president during the month of February. This celebration inspired many communities to host their own celebrations, and encouraged teachers to demand for more Black history-related educational materials for their students. (source:

Past Black History Month Themes, as created by ASAHL:

2026: A Century of Black History Commemorations
2025: African Americans and Labor
2024: African Americans and the Arts
2023: Black Resistance
2022: Black Health and Wellness
2021: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity
2020: African Americans and the Vote
2019: Black Migrations

2023 Events

Equity in Libraries, 2023 and Beyond

A Celebration of Black History Month: Equity in Libraries, 2023 and Beyond
Thursday, February 23, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pacific Time

The SJSU iSchool hosted a Black History Month symposium titled, “A Celebration of Black History Month: Equity in Libraries, 2023 and Beyond” (Transcript: PDF, DOC). Keynote speaker Elaina Norlin opened up the event with her presentation titled, “Inclusive Workspaces?” This symposium was moderated by Past ALA President Wanda Brown, who introduced each presenter’s chosen topic related to how young professionals can make a successful entry into the field.

Transcript here (PDF, DOC).

Elaina Norlin Dominique Dozier
Michael A. Crumpton Binnie Tate Wilkin
Kelvin Watson Stephanie Brasley
Wanda Brown

Past Symposia

In February 2022, the SJSU iSchool hosted a symposium in honor of Black History Month titled, “Shaping the Future Together: How Libraries Can Support Communities of Color.” The symposium featured two keynote speakers, 2020-2021 ALA President Julius Jefferson and CLA President Jené Brown, as well as several panelists who shared their experiences advocating for diverse information needs.

Library and Information Science Best Practices

Best Practices from “A Celebration of Black History Month: Equity in Libraries, 2023 and Beyond”: 

Please check out Elaina Norlin’s presentation on “Inclusive Workspaces??” for more information.  

  • Always do research before an interview so that you can make an informed decision. 
  • Trust your gut instinct and know that “true inclusiveness” will always impact the work culture. 
  • Think about these questions throughout the interview process:
    • How do they resolve disagreements in conflict? 
    • Does the workplace instill more of a scarcity or an abundance mindset?
    • Do they encourage creative thinking? How comfortable is the workplace with challenging the status quo?
    • What kind of career progression is available? 
    • How do you talk to the person that you are directly reporting to? Are performance evaluations only annual, biannual, etc?
    • Is this company retaining employees? How does the company value in the people who work for them?

Best Practices from “Shaping the Future Together: How Libraries Can Support Communities of Color”:

  • Serve as a mentor for up-and-coming librarians.
  • Create more library decision-making seats at the table for BIPOC folks.
  • Amplify the voices and perspectives of communities of color. 
  • Seek out partnerships with organizations that are already supporting BIPOC folks.

Community Profiles

Marissa Arterberry

Jessica Pryde

Professional Associations

Black Caucus ALA