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

Colin Kaepernick, Viola Davis, Alice Walker, and Terry Crews among featured booklist authors

BOSTON, January 26, 2023 – The Boston Public Library is proud to contribute to the celebration of Black History Month with its annual “Black Is…" booklist, opens a new window. The booklist aims to commemorate the achievements, complexities, struggles, and culture of the Black experience. The BPL will also host a variety of events for all ages across the library system to honor and explore the influence and legacy of Black Americans. 

The “Black Is…" booklist is compiled by Boston Public Library staff from the Central Library in Copley Square, East Boston Branch, Fields Corner Branch, and Lower Mills Branch, and features selected books written either by Black authors or about Black history and culture. “Black Is…” includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults, teenagers, and children by authors such as Colin Kaepernick, Viola Davis, Alice Walker, Terry Crews, and more. For each of the 75 listed books, the list contains a synopsis and is accompanied by the book cover artwork as well as classification information. In addition to print books, select titles are available as eBooks and audiobooks. 

Along with the “Black Is…” booklist, the Boston Public Library will also celebrate Black History Month by hosting author talks, performing arts events, film screenings, book group discussions, lectures, craft workshops, and more. Some of the programs include an author talk with Matthew F. Delmont, opens a new window as he discusses his latest book, Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad; the screening of the film The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, opens a new window, a documentary film directed by Göran Olsson that examines the evolution of the Black Power movement in American society; a panel conversation on Black Boston Stories: Growing Up, opens a new window, where long-time Boston residents will reflect on growing up in the city; youth poetry workshops, opens a new window with Boston Youth Poet Laureate Finalist Yolanda Oliveira; youth drumming workshops, opens a new window with percussionist Cornell Coley; and more, opens a new window.  

For a full list of events, please visit, opens a new window. In addition, during the month of February, BPL will use its social channels to highlight notable items from BPL’s Special Collections and its other collections depicting Black history and culture (Twitter, opens a new window, Facebook, opens a new window & Instagram, opens a new window). 

Printed copies of “Black Is…” will be available at all open BPL locations on February 1. The booklist, opens a new window and information about other programs also appear on the BPL website, opens a new window

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 September 15 – October 15, and Native American Heritage Month in November. BPL also maintains an online archive, opens a new window of prior affinity booklists.