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Celebrating African American History Month

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African American History Month: this month we honor and celebrate our country’s African American heritage.

Wedding photo of Charlotte Hawkins Brown, 1912.

Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown on her wedding day, 1912. From the North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

African American History Month first began by Presidential Proclamation of Gerald Ford in 1976.  The year 1976 was also the 50th anniversary of the celebration of Negro History Week which began in 1926 by the efforts of Carter G. WoodsonNegro History week emerged from the founding of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in Chicago in 1915. An historian, journalist, and advocate for systematic research into the neglected and buried history of African Americans, Woodson was one of the first scholars to study African American history, and he had put the event in motion in 1924 by urging members of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to organize Negro History and Literature Week. This later became Negro Achievement Week.

In 1925, the 50th anniversary of Emancipation, the ASNLH organized the national celebration to take place the following year in February. The organizers chose February for two birthdays historically celebrated in Black Communities: Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14.  The event quickly spurred the growth of organizations and community groups who responded with annual celebrations. By the 1950s, Negro History Week was celebrated in cities and communities across the country.  And building on the heels of the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement, and the 50 year history of Negro History Week, President Gerald Ford made the first federal proclamation of African American History Month in 1976.  Since that time, all of the country’s presidents have issued the February proclamation.

This month we’ll feature the history and achievements of Black and African Americans. We’ll begin today by sharing a few super useful resources to get you started exploring African American history and to help you follow the celebration throughout the month. Some of these resources are based in North Carolina and feature North Carolina’s history. Others connect to the national celebration. Please check them out to learn more!

From NCpedia, North Carolina’s online encylopedia:

Exploring North Carolina: African American Historyhttps://www.ncpedia.org/exploring-north-carolina-african-american-history. This collection brings together numerous topics, with links to encyclopedia articles. Some of the topics include: biographies, history of African American Education and the state’s HBCUs, organizations (civic, business, political and religious), culture and the arts, law, segregation, politics, civil rights, and historic places.  The collection also includes an extensive list of links to local and primary source collections online, as well as an extensive print bibliography.  Educator resources and lesson plans are also included.

From the National African American History Month commemoration website:

African American History Monthhttps://africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/. This site is a joint initiative by a number of federal institutions — the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  It’s a fabulous compendium of information and access points to biographies, historical essays, historical collections and documents, audio and video materials, legislative materials, and more. They have included a special resource page for teachers.  And the site also includes a calendar of live events throughout the month, some available by live-streaming.

From Blackpast.org — the online reference guide to African American History:

With more than 13,000 articles, Blackpast.org provides comprehensive access to the history of African Americans in the United States and around the world. The online resources includes access to speeches, photographs, and primary sources and has many special features including support for genealogy research.

From the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources:

Celebrations, exhibits and educational events around the state for African American history monthhttps://www.ncdcr.gov/news/press-releases/2018/01/18/black-history-month-programs-nc-department-natural-and-cultural. Whether you find yourself on the Coast, in the Piedmont, or the Mountains, visit this calendar for happenings and learning opportunities near you.

And we’re social!  Please follow us on social media to tune in to the conversation!  Use the hashtag #everythingnc

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ncghl/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ncpedia

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/everything_nc/

 

— Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

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End of year gift for fans of North Carolina history, heritage and culture: NCpedia’s new website goes live today!

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End of year gift for fans of North Carolina history, heritage and culture: NCpedia’s new website goes live today!

Greetings old friends of North Carolina’s online encyclopedia, the NCpedia — and new and future friends too!

The new and improved NCpedia! December 2016.

The new and improved NCpedia! December 2016.

After several months of planning, design, programming and testing, NCpedia now has a brand new and updated user interface as of this morning. Same great content — no change there — but with an entirely new look and feel and user experience.

The site traces its history back before the dawn of the web, to frequently asked questions and then brochures created by librarians at the State Library to answer those questions.

Eventually those questions found their way into HTML pages in the 1990s, and then they coalesced into an encyclopedic collection called the eNCyclopedia.  By 2009, the content had grown to several hundred pages — and the site needed to find a new home in a content management system that allowed for expansion, search and a better user experience. The encyclopedia got a new home in Drupal and a new name — and NCpedia was launched.

NCpedia before the reno!

NCpedia before the reno!

Since that time, the content has expanded by more than 26,000 entries, including more than 6,500 encyclopedia articles and the more than 20,000 record volume of the North Carolina Gazetteer (an annotated index of North Carolina place names).  And more than 7,400 images have been incorporated along with maps and interactive features like timelines.  By 2015, it was time for the home to get a reno!

NCpedia is still in Drupal — but the site has received an entire remodel to improve usability, search and find features, and the overall user experience.  We hope you like it!

And if you would like more information about the history of NCpedia, please visit the “About NCpedia” page on the website: http://www.ncpedia.org/about.  We’ve even included some snapshots of the early days and how far the digital encyclopedia has come.  Today the site includes more than 7,000 articles and more than 7,400 images and receives more than 4 million visits per year.

Check it out!

Kelly Agan, Digital Projects Librarian

Tip of the week: finding places in North Carolina

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genealogy_tip_week-300x217This week’s tip is about finding places in North Carolina. North Carolina has an excellent resource called The North Carolina Gazetteer. This is book that lists place names and water ways located in the state. There are nearly 20,000 entries!

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NC County of the Week: Carteret County

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This week’s NC County of the week is Carteret County, North Carolina! Named for Lord Proprietor John Carteret, it was then formed in 1722 from Craven County.

Carteret County, NC

This week (August 17-23) we’ll highlight the people, history, geography, and natural heritage of this county located in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and join in the conversation by using the hashtag #nccotw. Also, visit our pinterest board about Carteret County!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ncghl

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ncghl/carteret-county-nc/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ncpedia

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.