Black Health and Wellness Focus of Library’s Black History Month Celebration

Man, woman, and child sitting and meditating

Art by Tiffany Conway-Cornelius,

For Immediate Release: January 4, 2022

Media Contact: Jaime Wong
415-557-4295 | 

SAN FRANCISCO – Encompassing Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday weekend and all throughout February, San Francisco Public Library champions Black history, culture and heritage in its More Than a Month free programming series. This year, in concert with Black History Month’s national theme of the importance of Black Health and Wellness, the Library offers free meditation, yoga and craft programs with local creators and businesses, as well as art programs in partnership with the Museum of the African Diaspora.

New and Free This Year

Did you know that the automatic doors of the elevator were invented by a Black inventor? Alexander Miles patented his design for automatic elevator doors in 1887. Be sure to pick up a Black Inventors bookmark, created by Rev. Dr. Carolyn Ransom-Scott, to celebrate the Black innovators who had a part in designing and improving many of the things we use today, from light bulbs, to elevators, to air conditioners and tricycle. A highlight of our More Than a Month celebration, the bookmark will be available in all branches of the library with an accompanying opening event, exhibit and public program documenting Black innovation in the past, present and future.


Programs for Youth and Families

Youth and families! Get inspired by Black women role models who are on the cutting edge of their fields. In this partnership with local nonprofit Career Girls, founder Linda Calhoun hosts three engineers: Ifueko Nosakhare Igbinedion, whose doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focuses on building fast computer vision algorithms to efficiently coordinate groups of drones; Cadence Payne, an MIT graduate student who works on small satellite projects as an assistant engineer and Elizabeth Smith, engineer and Assistant Manager for the Space Station Program at NASA Johnson Space Center.

In a book and music celebration, listen as the beloved Grammy-nominated Alphabet Rockers read You Are Not Alone, a debut picture book that empowers kids to love their beautiful selves, celebrate their identities, stand up to hate and have each other's backs no matter what. Then, move the furniture to create a dance floor or bring your device outside to continue the celebration with movement.

Experience Black joy with San Francisco Public Library and San Francisco Unified School District youth librarians. Join BIPOC librarians Rachel Fiege, Jason Hill and Ayana Thompson for a virtual conversation about Black joy in schools, youth literature, librarianship and beyond. They discuss how Black youth should have access to positive stories about their heritage that aren’t rooted in stereotypes or sidekick roles by sharing their personal insights about working with Black youth, and how they spread Black Joy to their young patrons, students and families.


Programs for Adults

San Francisco Public Library’s More Than a Month adult programs focus on nurturing our whole selves. Andrea Stern, founder of Satori Yoga Studio, discusses her small business journey and leads two short accessible yoga sessions with an emphasis on mindfulness, stress reduction and relaxation. Plus, build a meditation practice of wakefulness and tranquility with disability rights activist Dennis Billups. Billups, a blind disability rights activist, was Chief Morale Officer in the 504 Sit-in disability rights protest and contributed to the Netflix documentary, Crip Camp, co-produced by Barack Obama. This workshop series takes place every Wednesday in February and is offered as a partnership between the African American Center and the Talking Books and Braille Center at the Main Library. 

Hungry for powerful nonfiction? Hear a scholar’s story about unearthing Black women warriors. As a lawyer representing low-income and homeless families for eight years, Dr. Rebecca Hall noticed a “distorted justice” in a legal system based on racism and sexism. Wake: The Hidden History of Women-led Slave Revolts details her search for a deeper understanding of these racist structures in a very personal story, describing how she uncovered the stories of these warriors who have been left out of the historical record.

Said Shaiye reads from his debut work, Are You Borg Now?. This striking, experimental memoir is described by author Douglas Kearney as a book that “cyphers with trauma through a poetics of refusal via hard and beautiful language...[Shaiye] shifts achingly between memory and improvisation.” Shaiye is an Autistic Somali writer and an MFA candidate and graduate instructor at the University of Minnesota. He has published poetry and prose in 580 Split, Entropy, Diagram, Rigorous and elsewhere.

The upcoming On the Same Page citywide book club’s selection, Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance, is aimed at giving every reader permission and acceptance to take up space and to find the authentic spirit of “yoke”—linking the good and the bad, the light and the dark. In a series of personal essays about yoga and wellness, author Jessamyn Stanley explores her relationship (and ours) to yoga (including why we practice, rather than how); takes on issues of cultural appropriation, materialism and racism; and explores the ways we can all use yoga as a tool for self-love. Stanley is an internationally acclaimed voice in wellness. Her first book, Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body, has inspired audiences to discover the power of yoga and set forth on a path for personal development. Catch Stanley in conversation with Tamika Caston-Miller on February 22.



Muhammad Ali is one of the most remarkable personalities of our time and the greatest sportsman ever to walk the earth. To honor Ali, publishing house TASCHEN created a work epic in scale and as unique and vibrant as Ali himself. Titled GOAT – Greatest of All Time, this monumental work is something you have to see for yourself. Throughout Black History Month, come view SFPL’s collector’s edition, signed by Ali himself and Jeff Koons. Over 3,000 images, some published for the first time; original essays, interviews and writing on Ali are featured.

If you haven’t yet gotten a chance to see the exhibit An Ode to Us: A Celebration of Black Hair, good news. The exhibit has been extended through January 27, 2022. An Ode to Us is created for Black folk to honor the loveliness and diversity of Black hair. This interactive exhibit includes a selfie wall with images of popular hairstyles, hairstyle tutorials, personal narratives, poetry, objects for the hairstyles and tools.



Every Thursday in February, come on a food adventure with us in the comfort of the Koret Auditorium. High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America takes viewers on a culinary journey that ventures from Africa to the deep south. Adapted from food historian Jessica B. Harris’ book of the same name, the immersive four episode docuseries — part culinary show, part travelogue — follows food writer Stephen Satterfield as he meets the chefs, historians and activists who are keeping centuries-old traditions alive.

Lastly, the Library has curated book and film lists that feature Black voices. See our recommendations.


Youth Programs

Black Inventors and Innovators Making Their Mark – Feb. 9, 10 a.m.

Black Joy Books and Resources – Feb. 16, 3 p.m.

Alphabet Rockers, You Are Not Alone – Feb. 26, 11 a.m.


Adult Programs

Dr. Rebecca Hall in Conversation, Wake: The Hidden History of Women-led Slave Revolts – Jan. 19, 6 p.m. Register:

Said Shaiye in Conversation – Jan. 22, 2 p.m., Zoom, Virtual Library. Register:

Panel: Black Health in San Francisco – Feb. 2, 10 a.m., Koret Auditorium

Meditation in the African American Center with Dennis Billups – Every Wednesday, Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23, 12 p.m., African American Center, 3rd Floor, Main Library

Thursday at Noon Film Series: High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America – Every Thursday, Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24, 12 p.m., Koret Auditorium

Book Club: World Literature, Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift – Feb. 3, 6 p.m., Virtual Library

Demonstration: Vegan Hood Chefs – Feb. 4, 12 p.m., Virtual Library

No Glue Collaging – Feb. 7, 7 p.m., Virtual Library

Celebration: Black Excellence, Black Invention - Feb. 13, 2:30 p.m., Koret Auditorium

Satori Yoga Studio – Jan. 14 and Feb. 11, 1 p.m.

On the Same Page Book Club: Jessamyn Stanley, Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance – Feb. 14, 7 p.m., Virtual Library

Midnight Hour Anthology Panel – Feb. 16, 6 p.m., Virtual Library

Jessamyn Stanley and Tamika Caston-Miller in Conversation – Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Virtual Library 


Films—Double Feature with the Hormel LGBTQIA+ Center

Sunday, Jan. 30, 1–4 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium, Lower Level

Tongues Untied – 1 p.m. The seminal documentary on Black gay life, director Marlon T. Riggs’ film uses poetry, personal testimony, rap and performance, to describe the homophobia and racism that confront Black gay men. (55 mins., 1989.)

The Watermelon Woman – 2:30 p.m. Director Cheryl Dunye uses mockumentary storytelling to reveal Cheryl, a young Black lesbian trying to make a film about a Black actress from the 1930s known for playing the stereotypical “mammy” roles. (90 mins., 1996)



GOAT – Greatest of All Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali – Jan. 15 – March 3, Atrium, Main Library

An Ode to Us: A Celebration of Black Hair – Through Jan. 27, African American Center, 3rd Floor, Main Library

Black Excellence, Black Invention – Feb. 5 – May 7, African American Center, Third Floor, Main Library and Branches 


About More Than a Month:

The Library’s celebration is titled More Than a Month in an effort to emphasize that reflection, open dialogue, interdisciplinary education and shared advocacy needs to take place in our communities during Black History Month, as well as all year round.


About San Francisco Public Library:

San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center and four bookmobiles.

January 4, 2022