10 Picture Book Biographies to Commemorate Black History Month
It’s Black History Month in February. Here are ten picture books biographies of lesser-known black historical figures to inspire your students and help you celebrate. These significant individuals, from innovators to field pioneers, excelled in their respective fields despite not being well-known for it. These works on black history can be assigned readings in class or used in conjunction with biographies or history lessons. Each book conveys significant lessons about tenacity, advocacy, and creativity. These outstanding picture books are perfect for Black History Month or any other time of the year, and students in grades K–4 will adore reading them.
Black people and women had trouble getting medical jobs when Dr. Bath graduated from medical school. She overcame bigotry but didn’t allow that or anything else to stop her. She then became a fervent supporter of eye health and helped develop new ophthalmology procedures.
Charlie Sifford was there before Tiger Woods. Throughout his career, Sifford dealt with racism in the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA). He persisted; in the end, he became the first black golfer to win a PGA event and place among white golfers.
Afro-Latino from Puerto Rico and collector of books and artifacts about Africa and African Americans, Arturo Schomburg worked as a law clerk. He created the Negro Division of the New York Public Library to house his library of books. The division was given a new name in his honor many years later. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is now a valuable academic tool and a vital component of the Harlem community.
The Newark Eagles were owned by Effa Manley, who was also the first woman to be admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Manley was a steadfast supporter of black athletes and was successful despite the prejudice and sexism she encountered.
When medical schools were still segregated, Vivien Thomas accepted a position as a research assistant in the hopes that working there would help him achieve his goal of becoming a doctor. He took advantage of opportunities to engage in research and practice, but racism kept his inventions from receiving recognition. He invented a method for performing open heart surgery on newborns that is still employed.
Elizabeth Freeman, often known as Mumbet, was an enslaved woman in Massachusetts who successfully contested the legitimacy of slavery. She and 5,000 other enslaved persons were released in 1783 due to her deeds.
One of the oldest snacks in food history, the potato chip, is claimed by African American chef George Crum as being created accidentally or out of spite.
Before it was known as the farm-to-table movement, Edna Lewis was a steadfast advocate for organic food and a healthful diet. When few women and blacks entered the field of professional cuisine, she became an award-winning chef.
- Molly, by Golly!: The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter by Diane Ochiltree
Molly Williams, who is regarded as the first female firefighter in the United States, started off working as a cook for the New York City fire department. One winter, when the fire service was short on firefighters owing to a flu outbreak, she jumped in to help put out a fire. Williams joined the volunteer team as a result of her assistance.
Howard Thurman was born in a segregated Florida, yet he overcame the prejudice of the time to pursue a good education. Thurman, who was driven, completed high school and enrolled at Morehouse College. He became a preacher, an author, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mentor, and one among the numerous figures who helped the Civil Rights Movement develop.