Black History month has its roots in the founding of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in 1915 . By 1926, National Negro Week was established and interest in African American History grew along with the Civil Rights movement. In 1976 , President Ford announced that February was Black History Month. Ten years later, “National Black (Afro-American) History Month” was codified with the passing of P.L. 99- 244. Now, 35 years after the 1986 law, NYLI can help you celebrate African American History with its eBook collection .

The famous Harry S. Truman quote, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know” , could easily describe the experience of reading African American Lives. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbottam, this compendium of biographies is an excellent introduction to the great breadth of African American History. Every entry ends with a list of “further reading”; these fact-driven yet very human portraits made this reader long to engage in further research!

As a native New Yorker, one biography that certainly caught my attention was Barbara Winslow‘s Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change. Brooklyn’s own, Ms. Chisholm was a true political pioneer — the first African-American woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first African-American presidential candidate for a major party’s nomination for President.

For a detailed examination of a seminal Civil Rights case, check out our eBook version of Michael J. Klarman‘s prize winning Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement. And for more on the man behind this important landmark in educational rights, NYLI has more than one biography of Thurgood Marshall. Each out these eBook selections has a different perspective on this legal giant: Thurgood Marshall: The First African-American Supreme Court Justice by Rebecca Carey Rohan, Thurgood Marshall: Race, Rights and the Struggle for a More Perfect Union by Charles Zelden and Thurgood Marshall and Brown v. Board of Education by Zachary Deibel.

And, of course, NYLI is the go to place for many primary resources ! Our historical state statute collection allows lawyers and scholars to explore how education, election , and civil rights laws changed from colonial times through pre & post Civil War, and from the Jim Crow Era to the Civil Rights movement and beyond…

This February, begin learning more about African American History… and begin your research at The New York Law Institute !!