Celebrate Black History Month with the University Libraries

February 1, 2024

This collection of resources was first published in February of 2023. It was updated in February 2024.

Celebrate Black history at UNC-Chapel Hill and beyond with lists, recommendations and exhibits from the University Libraries. Whether you want to learn about African American artists through e-books and audiobooks or explore rare materials unique to Carolina’s libraries, there’s a way for you to engage.

OverDrive Collections

Carolina’s OverDrive collections provide access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks, no matter where you are. The OverDrive team has put together a collection of e-books and audiobooks on this year’s Black History Month theme: African Americans and the Arts. While you’re at it, check out the AfroLatinx Authors and Stories list.


You can also explore films by and about Black Americans, ranging from If Beale Street Could Talk to Malcom X to Us. The team at the Media & Design Center has compiled a list of more than 90 films accessible through the University Libraries, so you can find the perfect film no matter what kind of story you’re looking for.

Black History in the Wilson Special Collections Library

The Wilson Special Collections Library is home to rare and unique materials that provide deeper insight into Black history at Carolina and across the American South.

See the documents and photographs of Omar ibn Said. Said was an Islamic scholar kidnapped from present-day Senegal in 1807 and sold into slavery in the United States. He is one of the few enslaved Muslims to leave documents, and his writings demonstrate the presence of Islam as a religion and Arabic as a language in the American South during the earliest parts of American history. Said’s life is the inspiration for Rhiannon Gidden’s opera, “Omar.”

Learn about the life and work of poet George Moses Horton through original copies of his poems and letters and a transcription of his address to The University of North Carolina. Horton was enslaved in North Carolina from his birth in 1798 through the Civil War; he taught himself to read and, in addition to poetry, wrote on freedom and the abolition of slavery. In 2007, UNC-Chapel Hill named George Moses Horton Residence Hall in his honor.

African American Newspapers at the NC Digital Heritage Center

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s African American Newspapers exhibit contains digitized copies of more than three dozen Black newspapers from throughout North Carolina’s history. The exhibit highlights newspapers edited and/or published by African Americans for an African American audience.

Enriching Voices: African American Contributions to North Carolina Literature

For almost two centuries, African Americans have enriched the literature of North Carolina. From Chatham County “slave poet” George Moses Horton with his “The Hope of Liberty” to countless poets, novelists, children’s literature authors, historians, and others writing today, African Americans have deepened our understanding and appreciation of the human condition.

The digital exhibit “Enriching Voices” highlights just a few of the talented Black essayists, historians, novelists, poets, and children’s authors whose work is held by Wilson Library.

On the Books: Jim Crow and the Algorithms of Resistance

On the Books: Jim Crow and the Algorithms of Resistance is a project of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries that used text mining and machine learning to discover Jim Crow and racially-based legislation signed into law in North Carolina between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. The site includes a database of Jim Crow laws identified by machine learning, lesson plans for educators, and an interactive timeline of historical events relevant to segregation.