Black History Month:
Truly, we are blessed by the diverse gifts of God’s many people. In February, we are especially grateful for the resilient and hopeful faith of people of African Descent.
Our Ascension Librarian, Dolores Ledbetter, invites you to browse the library and the new Section 19: Strategic Authentic Diversity: Race, Religion and Working for Justice, every Sunday in February from 8:30-9:00 a.m. Books are available to check out for both children and adults.
…who made your skin white? Was it not God? Who made mine black? Was it not the same God? Am I to blame, therefore, because my skin is black? Sojourner Truth
Black History in the Visual Arts
We encourage you to check out these movies, videos, and visual experiences.
For your meditation, listen to Mahalia Jackson singing “Come Sunday”, by Duke Ellington.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing“ Alicia Keys performance w/ narration by Anthony Mackie
This song is considered the Black National anthem and was commissioned by the NFL for Super Bowl Sunday, 2020. It was written by James Weldon Johnson (lyrics) and J. Rosamond Johnson (music) Read what the Smithsonian said about Lift Every Voice and Sing here.
On Super Bowl Sunday 2022, the National Anthem was performed by Mickey Guyton. Guyton was the first black female artist ever to be nominated for a Grammy award in country music category (2020) for “BLACK LIKE ME” which was written in her response to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
OTHER MOVIES TO CONSIDER DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Many are available on streaming.
HARRIET (2019) A fictionalized biography of Harriet Tubman who liberated hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad.
THE GREEN BOOK (2018) Inspired by the true story of jazz pianist Don Shirley and bodyguard,
Frank Vallelonga, set in 1962. Imagine your family using The Green Book and mapping out a
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (2018) Set in the 1970’s in Harlem this drama was directed by
Barry Jenkins, adapted from a 1974 novel written by James Baldwin.
SELF MADE: Inspired by the Life of Madam C J Walker. (2020) Based on the biography, ON HER
OWN GROUND, by A’Leila Bundles (her adoptive great-great-grandmother) tells the story of
Madam C J Walker who was the first African American self-made millionaire.
PASSING (2021) Based on 1929 novel by Nella Larsen and set in the 1920’s in Harlem, tells the
story of two African American childhood friends who meet as adults. One friend is “passing” as
white due to being light skinned. (Also, a recent fictional book on this theme , THE VANISHING
HALF, by Brit Bennett, is in the ALC Library.)
THE BUTLER (2013) Historical fiction about Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House for
34 years serving 8 presidents, starring Forest Whitaker. Explores questions of race in the
1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. Directed by Lee Daniels.
RISE AGAIN: Tulsa and the Red Summer (2021) A documentary distributed by National
Geographic that investigates the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in Tulsa, OK.
GLORY(1989) This is the historical drama of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw as he leads the 54th
Massachusetts all black volunteer regiment in the American Civil War.
JOHN LEWIS:GOOD TROUBLE (2020) The documentary is about U S Representative John Lewis
and his 60 plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights.
JUST MERCY (2019) The film s based on the powerful and thought-provoking true story of young
lawyer Bryan Stevenson and history-making battle for justice.
LOVING (2016) A biographical drama which tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the
plaintiffs in the 1967 U S Supreme Court decision Loving vs Virginia, which invalidated state laws
prohibiting interracial marriage.
TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE (2013) A biographical drama based on the 1853 slave memoir about a
New York State born free African American man who was kidnapped in Washington, DC and sold
THE HELP (2011) A fictional account about a black housekeeper Jackson, Mississippi in the
EMANUEL (2019) Documentary about the 2015 shooting at African Methodist Episcopal Church in
Charleston. A 21-year-old young man who grew up in an ELCA congregation in Charleston and
who claimed to be a white supremacist, killed nine African Americans during a prayer service. Hear
what the families of the Emanuel Nine say 48 hours after the shooting to the shooter, words of
forgiveness. The themes of the film are justice, faith, peace and forgiveness.
FILMS about BLACK MUSICIANS:
RAY (2004) A biographical musical drama focusing on 30 years in the life of Ray Charles.
RESPECT (2021) A biographical musical drama of Aretha Franklin.
GET ON UP (2014) A biographical musical drama of James Brown.
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT (1993) A biographical musical drama of Tina Turner.
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (2020) A biographical drama on influential blues singer, Ma
Rainey, in the 1920’s.
THE UNITED STATES vs BILLIE HOLIDAY (2021) A biographical drama about singer Billie Holiday
including her version of STRANGE FRUIT, Holiday’s activism statement