Boston Public Library Celebrates Black History Month with Annual “Black Is…” Booklist & Special Events

Amanda Gorman, Stacey Abrams, Ibram X. Kendi among Featured Authors; Philonise Floyd to Speak on Activism and Late Brother George Floyd, and more

BOSTON, January 25, 2021 – The Boston Public Library honors Black History Month with its annual “Black Is…" Booklist of 70 recent works that examine the Black experience. Copies of the booklist will be available at all library locations on February 1st, and it appears on the BPL website at 

This year’s list was created by staff librarians from the Central Library at Copley Square, and the Lower Mills and Fields Corner branches. It features books for adults, teens, and children by authors such as Amanda Gorman, Stacey Abrams, Meena Harris, Ibram X. Kendi, and more. The BPL has also created expanded Black Is... Booklists for adultsteens, and children. Patrons can explore previous Black Is… Booklists at 

On the event side, the BPL is holding several events that offer a range of perspectives on the Black experience in honor of Black History Month. NotablyPhilonise Floyd, activist and brother to the late George Floyd, will join the BPL for a virtual discussion around social transformation through community organizing. This event will take place on February 2nd and is a part of the 2022 Lowell Lecture Series, sponsored by the Lowell Institute. 

Other events include “The Color of Abolition: How a Printer, a Prophet, and a Contessa Moved a Nation,” which will be held virtually on February 28th. At this author talk, Linda Hirshman will discuss her latest work about social movements, and the social spirit, people, and political alliances that changed American history. This event is presented in collaboration with American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society and will be moderated by L’Merchie Frazier. 

On February 1st, the BPL will virtually present “The North End: Boston's Overlooked 19th Century Black Community.” This event, presented in partnership with the National Park Service, will explore the lesser-known stories of the once large Black community that resided in Boston’s North End neighborhood.   

The BPL’s Nutrition Lab, located at the Roxbury Branch, is also collaborating with Stop & Shop for a two-part event, “Plant-Based Eating in the African Diaspora.” These events will be held on February 3 and February 7, and will be a virtual celebration of eating across the African Diaspora and the contribution of these cultural foods to health and wellness. Part I will be a webinar talk, and part II will be a cook along.  

Other events include the Mattapan Branch’s Documentary Club, which will discuss Through a Lens Darkly (2014) on February 1st; and the February 2nd meeting of the Virtual Graphic Novel Club, which features Black graphic novel authors and illustrators this month. For a complete list of events happening at the BPL visit 

The Boston Public Library also produces curated booklists and holds educational and celebratory events for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June, Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15), and Native American Heritage Month in November.