The Woodson Project: Empowering Black Families

By Nicole Brown, Children's Librarian
February 1, 2021
Baychester Library

This blog post is part of the Woodson Project—a series of events, posts, and book lists on subjects including empowering Black families, amplifying Black voices, exploring Black identity and intersectionality, and discovering Black influencers in STEAM. The project was created by branch staff from across NYPL to honor Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who in 1926 created Negro History Week—the precursor to Black History Month.

Empowering Black Families aims to create and promote programs, services, collections, and resources that are responsive to the needs and experiences of the Black community. From caregiver conversations about the importance of reading for early development to informational discussions about college pathways, join the Library for a range of programs and content aimed at enabling Black families to make informed decisions about education, literacy, and more. You'll also find booklists and other resources about mental health care, empowering kids, and career development.

Contributors: Nicole Brown, Jenny Chisnell, Gerritt Reeves, Richard Jones, Anisha Huffman, Daria Lindsay, Joy  Hariprasad and Katrina Ortega. 

Virtual Events

Looking Forward: A Discussion of College and Black Futures 
Wednesday, February 17 | 5-6 PMP

Join us for a conversation about the Black student experience in college. Collegewise college counselor Christopher Logan will discuss the benefits and challenges of being a Black student at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), debunk common myths about HBCUs (Historically Black College and Universities), and share tips on how best to navigate the process of choosing the right campus and prepare to begin the college experience.

The Woodson Project Presents...George Crum and the Saratoga Chip
Friday, February 19 | 12-12:45 PM

An interactive storytelling session of the book George Crum and the Saratoga Chip by Gaylia Taylor with songwriting activities. Join a teaching artist as they go through the story of the inventor of the potato chip, George Crum! Presented by New York City Children's Theater.

George Crum and the Saratoga Chip with NYC Children's Theater from The New York Public Library on Vimeo.

A Caregivers Conversation... Motivating Reluctant Readers
Tuesday, February 23 | 11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

There may be many reasons why children are reluctant to read and having a better understanding of why they are reluctant may help you provide them with greater support. Join us in a lively chat.  Learn about NYPL resources and tips that you can use to help motivate your reader. For Families with children (PreK- 6)

Transcribing the Freedmen's Papers with NYPL
Wednesday, February 24 | 3-4 PM

Join us for an hour-long workshop where we will introduce you to The Freedman’s Bureau Transcription Project. The Freedmen’s Bureau, created in 1865, was responsible for providing assistance to freed slaves after the Civil War. The Bureau, which ran from 1865-1872, was short-lived but helped hundreds of thousands of black Americans transition from slavery to freedom and citizenship. During this session, you will learn more about the history of the Freedmen’s Bureau and receive introductory training on the transcription project that shares its name.

The Woodson Project Presents: Intergenerational Storytime: Black Elders Speak
Thursday, February 25 | 2-3 PM

DOROT's "Pearls of Wisdom" program brings elder adult storytellers to a community audience to share their stories and engage in intergenerational conversation by answering your questions. On February 25th at 2 PM, NYPL will partner with the Pearls of Wisdom to present a virtual program with the 1960s civil rights era at the center. Bring yourself and your children for a family-friendly event. If we forget our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Tune in to learn real history from a real person and ask them about their lived experiences. At times like this, it is more important than to know where we've been so we know where to go from here. We want to encourage these intergenerational conversations to better help youths learn from the wisdom of earlier generations. Open to children, teens, and adults. 

The Woodson Project Presents...KidsLIVE! with Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Friday, February 26 | 4-5 PM

Join us for a special program with Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, author of Your Name is a Song! Jamilah will present her book and invite NYPL librarians for a Q&A to discuss her inspirations for the book and what it’s like to be an author! 

KidsLIVE! with Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow from The New York Public Library on Vimeo.


Empowering Black Families: A Reading List

Empowering Picture Books With Black Characters

Black Mental Health: A Mini Booklist For Adults


Community Support Resources: During these challenging times, the Library is here to help our communities find the resources they need. NYPL has collected a selection of links to help our patrons find important information. Explore these categories to find tips for economic resources, health and wellness services, housing information, and more.

Jobs and Careers: Services and Resources: Whether you’re looking for tips on how to search for a job and format your resume, or career advice and resilience coaching, the Library has a range of resources to assist you.

NYC Small Business Resource Center: The NYC Small Business Resource Center at the Business Library offers myriad resources to help you start and grow your small business. 

Online Learning Skill Training for Adults: The Library has a wide range of resources to help you learn new skills, explore our collections, and stay connected—all from home.

Remote Learning Support: Kids, Teens & Educators: For 125 years, the New York Public Library has been an essential provider of educational programs and resources. From English language classes and technology training to storytimes, we give New Yorkers the tools they need to succeed.