Celebrate African American History Month with CPL

Join the celebration of African American History Month in February at CPL. 

Featuring film screenings and book clubs for adults, interactive events for teens, story times and hands-on activities for kids, and music and crafts for the whole family, African American History Month is a celebration and a time for learning. This year's events highlight the theme "Celebrating African Americans in Music, the Arts and Literature."

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of CPL's African American Services Committee.


Our African American History Month keynote events are:

  • Letters from Langston by Evelyn Crawford and Dr. MaryLouise Patterson at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 7 at South Chicago Branch. Crawford and Patterson will present a discussion of their book about the relationship between their parents and literary great Langston Hughes.
  • An Evening with Blues Legend Holle Thee Maxwell at 6:30 p.m.Wednesday, February 28 at Woodson Regional Library. Maxwell will do an interview and performance, and discuss her new book, Freebase Ain't Free.

Other event highlights include:

  • African American LitFest: Meet local African American fiction, nonfiction and children's authors. Engage in panel discussions and how-to programs on topics ranging from how to write, to branding and marketing, to getting published and getting your book on the shelves of Chicago Public Library. In partnership with the Soulful Chicago Book Fair. Tuesdays, February 6 and 20, and 24 and Saturdays, February 3, 10, 17 and 24 at Harold Washington Library Center, 3rd floor exhibit hall.
  • Walk Together Children: Storyteller extraordinaire Oba King presents African American songs, music, African drums, and loads of learning and fun. Monday, February 26 at Archer Heights Branch and Wednesday, February 28 at Douglass Branch.
  • Chasing Light: Amanda Lucidon, official White House photographer for former first lady Michelle Obama discusses her book, Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer. Thursday, February 15 at Harold Washington Library Center.
  • From Lionel Hampton to Thaddeus Tukes: The Story of Vibes in Chicago: Musical demonstrations of the vibraphone by Thaddeus Tukes as he discusses working with Chance the Rapper and explores the pivotal role the vibraphone has had in Chicago's African American jazz community. Saturday, February 3 at McKinley Park Branch and Saturday, February 17 at Jeffery Manor Branch.

Complete list of African American History Month events

Recommended Reads

  • Books for Adults: Explore family, music, art and literature.
  • Books for Teens: Read about African American youth overcoming barriers with their talents and strengths.
  • Books for Children: Inspire kids to be themselves and to learn about other cultures.


Local artists display works at Harold Washington Library Center and West Chicago Avenue Branch during African American History Month.