Black History at the Newberry | Newberry

Black History at the Newberry

Revisit "Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots"

In 2019, the Newberry, along with 13 organizational partners, held a series of community conversations reflecting on the Chicago race riots of 1919 and the many ways they’ve shaped the city over the course of a century. Recordings of these conversations are available on the Newberry’s YouTube channel.  

Read Up on Dancer and Choreographer Katherine Dunham

According to the Newberry’s Director of Chicago Studies Liesl Olson, Katherine Dunham “challenged the assumption that ballet was a ‘high art’ achieved only by white dancers.” La Guiablesse, a ballet originally performed in 1933, embodies Dunham’s approach to performance and choreography. It is also part of a complicated story about race and cultural appropriation.  

Explore Digital Collections for the Classroom

Featuring high-res digital images, contextual essays, and content-based questions, the Newberry’s Digital Collections for the Classroom make primary sources from the library’s collection accessible, useful, and fun for educators, researchers, students, and families. 

These learning modules explore several topics related to Black history, including:

Chicago and the Great Migration

The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Urban North

African American Women’s Clubs in Progressive Era Chicago

Slavery, Civil War, and the “New Birth of Freedom”

Listen to Tony Burroughs on African American Genealogy

In an episode of our Shelf Life podcast, genealogist Tony Burroughs explains how researchers must navigate the legacies of slavery, segregation, and discrimination to find their African American ancestors.