365 Books to Celebrate Black History Month Year-Round

October is Black History Month and Black history happens every day. To celebrate this, the library has put together a list of 365 books by authors of colour from our catalogue and e-book collections.  The list was inspired by the website Black History 365 and the list of 365 Books By Women put together for International Women’s Day by the New York Public Library. It has been assembled through searches inspired by the Black British Writers wikipedia category page, as well as the African-American writers catalogue page. It also draws lists of books by Black and BAME writers published online, such as this one from Stylist. We hope you find it interesting!

Our More Books service is open for students and staff to request the purchase of items we do not have in our collections, so please do get in touch if you notice any errors or omissions.

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Black History in Lincolnshire

This is the fourth and final in series of four posts about using library collections for the study of black history, literature and culture, in Britain and abroad. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post. 

We hope you have had a wonderful, inspiring, and educational Black History Month! Our final post in this series will offer some suggestions for online databases and library resources for researching Black history in the county of Lincolnshire. This post will come in two parts: in the first part, I will discuss researching Black history in Lincolnshire. In the second part of the post, I will point you towards local collections, archives, and online projects which may help in your investigation of local Black history.

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Black History in Early Printed Books, Part 2

This is part two of the second in a series of four posts about using library collections for the study of black history, literature and culture, in Britain and abroad. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

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Black History and the Early Days of Printing, Part 1

This is part one of the second in a series of four posts about using library collections for the study of black history, literature and culture, in Britain and abroad. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

Evidence of the lives of black people in Renaissance and early modern Europe appears in almost all kinds of texts, documents, and images surviving from these periods. For political, racial, and historical reasons this material has often been overlooked or treated as atypical and isolated.[1] This pair of post will focus on one kind of material: early printed books, by which I mean books printed between around 1450 and 1700.[2]  The first part of this post will give a brief overview of our databases of early printed books and how to search them. In the second part, I’ll discuss some of the authors and issues in black history that these databases can be used to investigate.

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Black Musicians in the John Johnson Collection: the Bohee Brothers by Hope Williard (Part 3: the Bohee Brothers)

The Nineteenth Century Entertainment section of the John Johnson collection is a rich resource for examining the history and cultures of all different kinds of performance in nineteenth-century Britain. One of the types of performance feature in this collection is the minstrel show. These performances, in which white performers blackened their faces and sang British audiences ‘a distorted and appropriated form of black music’, had been popular in Britain since the 1830s.[1] The blackface minstrel appeared on Victorian Christmas cards, and music from minstrel shows was regularly performed in Victorian drawing rooms—examples of both can be found in the John Johnson collection.

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Black Musicians in the John Johnson Collection: the Bohee Brothers by Hope Williard (Part 2: How to Search the John Johnson Collection)

In using the John Johnson collection to put together this post, I found it fascinating to use the ‘Browse’ function.  Upon clicking that tab at the top of the page, you are taken to an expandable menu featuring the five main collections:

    1. Nineteenth century entertainment: This includes both theatrical and non-theatrical performance. It can be used to study both the history and development of different forms of entertainment, as well as high and popular culture
    2. The Booktrade: Bookplates and publishing materials, useful to those studying the publishing trade as well as trying to look at the dissemination of different kinds of information during these periods
    3. Popular prints: This includes landscapes, topography and artistic works.
    4. Crime, murder, and executions: This includes broadsheets and pamphlets. It is useful for historians who study crime and punishment and well as historians of certain kinds of printing (such as woodcuts)
    5. Advertising: This section of the collection contains a wide variety of advertisements and can be used to study economic and social history as well as consumerism.

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Black Musicians in the John Johnson Collection: the Bohee Brothers by Hope Williard (Part 1: What is the John Johnson Collection?)

This is the first in a series of four posts about using library collections for the study of black history, literature and culture, in Britain and abroad. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us at (main library twitter), email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

James Douglass Bohee (1844-1897) and his brother George (1857-1930) were among the earliest black musicians to record their music. Even though these recordings are seemingly lost today, we can use the John Johnson Collection, a digitised archival collections to learn more about their performances and careers. Part 1 of this post explains what the John Johnson Collection is and part 2 explains how to use it. In part 3, I explore the evidence of the Bohee Brothers’ lives and careers found in the John Johnson Collection.

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Celebrating Black History Month

October is Black History Month! Our Students’ Union is running many wonderful events and the University Library will be celebrating with a number of events and activities throughout the month. Grains of Knowledge will be hosting a weekly series of posts about using the library to study Black history, culture, and literature. We hope that these will serve as a resource you will enjoy not just during October but throughout your studies and research with us.

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