In honor of Black History Month, here are some early works in our collection by African American artists.

Squirrel,” date unknown, by William Edmondson

Tall Case Clock,” 1801–5, movement made by Peter Hill, case possibly by George Deacon

Charles Willson Peale (1741–827),” after 1802, by Moses Williams

Storage Jar,” 1859, made by David Drake (Dave the Potter)

The Annunciation,” 1898, by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Birds in Flight,” 1927, by Aaron Douglas

Blind Singer,” c. 1939–40, by William Henry Johnson

More Art Monday is brought to you by Art 24/7.

Holt Collier, one of the few African Americans who served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.

Believe it or not, he escaped his master in order to join the Confederate Army, where he served with Company I of the 9th Texas Cavalry. After the Civil War he became a professional bear hunter, killing over 3,000 bears throughout his career.  He often hunted with President Theodore Roosevelt.  He died in 1936.  The photo above was taken shortly before his death.


“I believe that when you wrestle with your demons in public, they cease to haunt you in private,” says Kenyan born writer, producer and director Peres Owino well known for the documentary Bound: Africans vs. African Americans, Indeed, It would be ridiculous and ignorant to say that there exists no chasm or rift between Africans, African-Americans, Afro-Latinos, Afro-Caribbeans and Afro-Europeans. The conversation about the state of the black race within the context of the larger human family is one that is very necessary to have.

Why do Africans and people of African descent hailing from elsewhere appear to hate each other? Good question. There are several reasons why. The following will provide a good summary.

·         Misconceptions among African Diaspora that Africans are tree climbing, starving naked monkeys that can be saved by donating one dollar a month.

·         Misconceptions among African Diaspora that Africans did not contribute to the overall struggle for the race and that they somehow ‘suffered less’.

·         Belief that Africans cruelly sold the African Diaspora as slaves.

·         Belief that Africans are arrogant and disrespectful to African Diaspora.

·         Belief that Africans just love licking the white man’s foot.

·         Misconceptions among Africans that African Diaspora are uncultured and not purely African

·         Belief among Africans that African Diaspora are lazy and useless to the economies of the countries they reside in.

·         Belief among Africans that African Diaspora are unconcerned about Africa’s future and therefore irrelevant to the African story.

Now onto my favorite part of this article where we debunk all this crazy and childish (If I may say) myths that so effortlessly make a fool out of the hope of total Pan-African unity. Firstly, it is ludicrous for anyone let alone people of African descent to be in the 21st century and still believe that Africans are primitive nude apes dying of Aids and Ebola. Anybody that still holds on to that belief should do some research and stop leisurely displaying their ignorance and gobbling down what the media shows them and taking it as gospel truth. I even once read a comment on snap chat from an American shocked beyond measure by the site of thousands of snaps from Nairobi (the Kenyan capital) while he thought there were only three phones in the whole country. Another posted that he couldn’t believe the people “whose drinking water he was paying for” had smart phones. The reason all this is laughable is because Nairobi is just one city in a country that has several and there are 54 independent states in Africa and years of information, cultural exchange and knowledge about the state of Africa. Talk about ignorance by choice.

Keep reading

In the #GrowingUpHabesha tag. One of the tweets said something like “GrowingUpBlack tag doesn’t compare to the GrowingUpHabesha tag.” 

This is the shit I’m talking bout. 

African Americans started the #GrowingUpBlack tag. Not only was the movement co-opted by so many other people without any type of acknowledgement, but this kid even went as far as to make a comparison where black (read: African American) art/effort is dismissed even when its the original…even when its better. 


Historic Photo Identification Project

Can you help us to identify these photographs? The Hennepin County Library recently received a large collection of photographs by the Minneapolis photographer John Glanton. These photographs of people, places and events in Minneapolis and St. Paul–primarily of the African American community–date from the late 1940s. Most are not identified.

We will be presenting a few hundred of these photographs as a “slide show” at the Hosmer Library for everyone to see and – hopefully – help us to identify. Anthony Scott, the donor of the collection and the nephew of John Glanton, along with his sister, Dr. Chaunda L. Scott, will be assisting us.

Historic Photo Identification of the Glanton Collection

Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-noon

Hosmer Library Meeting Room, 347 E 36th St., Minneapolis

Do you think you can help us? Please come to this event and help us to identify this fascinating and historic collection of photographs from Twin Cities history.

For more information, please call 612-543-8203 or email

Can’t make it to the event? You can view and identify the photographs online (

For the history lovers…. amazing book about the thriving black business in Tulsa in the 1920s .

Sad this is barely talked about in history there were black pharmacies, movie theaters, lawyers, doctors, restaurants , grocery stores etc

Land and the roots of African-American poverty

Shortly after emancipation in 1865, African Americans began fighting for the rights to the lands they had long worked – cultivated by their hands, fed by their sweat, and stained by their blood.

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The Travelers’ Green Book: “Assured Protection for the Negro Traveler“

The Negro Motorist Green Book was an invaluable travel guide for African-Americans traveling in the era before the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights act. Published from 1936 to 1966, it provided listings of hotels and restaurants that could be relied on to provide food and lodgings without discrimination. It was written and published by Victor H. Green, a postal worker who loved to travel and saw a need for a guide for African-Americans. He used information provided by his friends, contacts in the post office, and from other black travelers to compile his lists of friendly businesses. Green retired from the postal service and ended up becoming a travel agent and writer, continuing to work on the guide until his death in 1960.

The Travelers’ Green Book also provided listings of gas stations, beauty salons and other amenities. Many of the business were owned and managed by African-Americans, and the ones that were not had been patronized and vouched for by black travelers.

It is quite a slim volume in comparison to the American Hotel and Motel official Red Book for a comparable year, even more so considering that the Green Book listed restaurants in addition to hotels. 

The Green book listings for Minnesota fill just over a page (top double-page spread pictured below). The list includes all of the hotels and restaurants which had been vetted and guaranteed to not refuse service to African-Americans, who had to plan their trips quite carefully to avoid being stuck sleeping in their car or going hungry because no restaurant would serve them. The Hotel Red Book, by comparison, contains twenty pages of Minnesota hotels (sample of listings in the bottom double-page spread pictured below).

Thankfully, the passage of the Civil Rights act of 1964 made the Green Book effectively obsolete and it ceased publication in 1966 after 30 years of helping African-Americans to enjoy (relatively) safe travel. These days the various editions of the book provide valuable historical information about the experience of African-Americans vacationing during the 40s 50s and 60s. The New York Public Library has digitized many volumes of the guide and made them available on their website. And the University of South Carolina has created an interactive map using information from the 1956 edition.

Further reading on the discrimination faced by African-Americans traveling in the pre-civil rights era can be found in books such as Sundown towns : a hidden dimension of American racism. For children, check out Ruth and the Green Book, a picture book which tells the story of a child traveling with her parents. Find more African American adult nonfiction at the Hennepin County Library.

City Pages wrote an article highlighting this blog post and looking a some of the local hotels mentioned above.


This post was researched and written by Josh, a staff member in Minneapolis Central Library Support Services. Josh discovered the Travelers’ Green Book in the Dewey Stacks at the Central Library.