The Many Forms of Black Resistance On Offer During Library’s More Than a Month Celebration
For Immediate Release: January 12, 2023
Media Contact: Jaime Wong
(415) 557-4295 | Jaime.Wong@sfpl.org
SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Public Library is bringing vibrant authors, book clubs, films, exhibits and music, dance and performance programs to the City. This exciting roster of free events celebrates the 2023 national Black History Month theme, Black resistance, in its many forms, from activism to Black joy to wellness practices. The Library champions Black history, culture and heritage in its More Than a Month free programming series—formally launching on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday weekend and extending through the rest of the year.
Highlights for All Ages
Who can resist love and music? Our top picks for More Than a Month include a love letter-writing session and a brass line band. Be inspired by the sultry music of blues and jazz legends and craft a love letter to a spouse, family member, friend or yourself. And bring the strut in your step and join us for a second line procession down City Hall Plaza as we usher in Black History Month with jubilant dancing and music by MJ’s Brass Boppers.
MJ's Brass Boppers – Feb. 3, 1:15 p.m., City Hall Plaza to Larkin Street Steps
Love Letters – Feb. 12, Main Library, African American Center, 3rd Floor
Programs for Youth and Families
Music, storytelling, movement headline the Library’s youth events. Listen to Asheba, a musical storyteller who specializes in calypso, the musical and folkloric oral tradition of Trinidad. Local musician Keenan Webster teaches and demonstrates the kora (West African Mandinka harp), the Kamele Ngoni (West African Mande harp) and the Balaphone (Mandinka xylophone) in a dynamic performance of West African music. Get drawn in by award-winning storyteller Kirk Waller, who shares African and African American folktales, legends and history. Experience a blend of history and harmony combining the Caribbean steelpan with the sounds made famous in America like Jazz music with Fauna Solomon. And for those interested in art, learn about Kente cloth and weave similar geometric patterns out of paper.
Asheba plays Caribbean Music for Children – Jan. 21, 1 p.m., Excelsior Branch; Feb. 18, 11 a.m., Richmond Branch, 2 p.m., Ingleside Branch
African and African American Stories and Songs with Kirk Waller – Jan. 26, 5 p.m., Western Addition Branch
West African Music by Keenan D. Webster – Feb. 4, 11 a.m.
Six Roses – Feb. 11, 3 p.m., Ingleside Branch; Feb. 18, 3 p.m., Visitacion Valley Branch
Paper Kente Cloth Patterns – Feb. 15, 2 p.m., Portola Branch
West African Drum and Dance with Maria Young – Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m., Ingleside Branch
The American Songbook on Steelpan with Fauna Solomon – Feb. 18, 2 p.m., Ocean View Branch
Unique Derique presents Hambone, The Body Drum and Rhythm Connection – Feb. 25, 12 p.m., Bayview Branch
Storytelling with Clara Kamunde – Feb. 27, 2:30 p.m., Portola Branch
Storytelling with Muriel Johnson – Feb. 27, 3:30 p.m., Bernal Heights Branch
In keeping with the national Black History Month theme, Black resistance, the Library’s events showcase the significant contributions of Black people to our country through film, book discussions, music and storytelling. The Library’s programs also focus on wellness, love and Black joy as a type of resistance, imagining dazzling Black futures for our community.
In the Black, a Black-led Marketplace -- Jan. 19, 12 p.m., Virtual Library
Learn about “In The Black,” a Black-led marketplace in the Fillmore/Western Addition. Presented by the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation which fosters community revitalization through economic empowerment and housing stability.
Meditation in the African American Center – Wednesdays in February, 12 p.m., Main Library, African American Center, 3rd Floor
Take a break and build a practice of wakefulness and tranquility led by the African American Center Librarian. This is a secular approach to an old tradition, appropriate for people of all faiths including atheists.
Afrofuturism and Tochi Onyebuchi – Feb. 11, 4 p.m., Bernal Heights Branch
Part presentation, part book club discussion, we will offer a lecture on Afrofuturism and follow with a group discussion of Tochi Onyebuchi's Goliath as an example.
Celebrating Nina Simone – Feb. 14, 12 p.m., Virtual Library
Author and music historian Richie Unterberger celebrates singer, songwriter and pianist, Nina Simone.
Fighting for Survival, Fighting on Arrival: The Buffalo Soldiers in the West – Feb. 21, 7 p.m., Virtual Library
In the face of injustice, African Americans in the United States have continually resisted racial discrimination in several fields including the military. Join Golden Gate National Recreation Area Park Rangers Adrian, Cristina and Sherry as they explore the history of the Buffalo Soldiers.
Trauma, Tresses and Truth—Writing Our Hair – Feb. 25, 12 p.m., Main Library, Computer Training Center, 5th Floor
This interactive session is a nurturing, intentional space to write and share your natural hair stories led by Lyzette Wanzer the author of Trauma, Tresses, & Truth: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narrative.
Thea Matthews, Unearth [The Flowers] – Feb. 25, 3 p.m., Virtual Library
Thea Matthews reads from her book of poetry, Unearth [The Flowers]. Thea Matthews is a poet, author and educator originally from San Francisco, California.
Panel: Reparations Now! – Feb. 28, 4 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium
As the movement for African American reparations builds across the nation, we discuss the history of reparations movements and hear from local leaders on how they are working toward solutions to repair the harm done to our Black communities.
Book Clubs & Author Talks
Don’t miss out! Linda Jackson, San Francisco writer and historian, leads a deep reading of Just as I Am by iconic cultural figure Cicely Tyson. Our popular On the Same Page book club reads Alyssa Cole’s Black Brooklyn thriller When No One Is Watching—Cole will speak at a hybrid in-person/virtual author program come February. And if you’re looking for a way to integrate your reading into your wellness practice, try out an experiential book club for Tricia Hersey’s book, Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto, an hourlong event that is part discussion, part reading, part gentle movement and part restorative yoga. These are just a few of the great book clubs at our many locations to discuss Black literature and writing, both contemporary and classic.
Deep Read with Linda Jackson—Just as I Am by Cicely Tyson – Part 1, Jan. 28, 1 p.m.; Part 2, Feb. 18, 1 p.m., Main Library, African American Center, 3rd FloorRest Is Resistance: A partnership with TendWell Collective – Jan. 31, 7 p.m.; Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Virtual Library
Eureka Valley Reads Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other – Feb. 5, 3:30 p.m., Eureka Valley Branch
Golden Gate Valley Reading Circle—Zone One by Colson Whitehead – Feb. 22, 3 p.m., Golden Gate Valley Branch
On the Same Page Book Club: When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole – Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Virtual Library
On the Same Page Author: Alyssa Cole and Rachel Fiege in Conversation, When No One Is Watching – Feb. 23, 7 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium/Streaming
The Main Library and branch locations screen films that feature the Black experience ongoing through the next few months. All films are free.
In Remembrance of Martin – Jan. 18, 3 p.m., Richmond Branch Library
Personal comments from family, friends and advisors fill this remarkable documentary honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Selma, Lord, Selma – Jan. 19, 4 p.m., Richmond Branch Library
Jurnee Smollett stars as 11-year-old Sheyann Webb in this dramatization of two young black schoolgirls’ recollections of a violent civil rights event in 1965 Alabama, based on Sheyann Webb and Rachel West Nelson’s memoir Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days.
In the Heat of the Night – Feb. 2, 12 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs forms an uneasy alliance with the police chief, who faces mounting pressure from Sparta’s hostile citizens to catch the killer and run an interloper out of town.
Malcolm X – Feb. 2, 4 p.m., Richmond Branch Library
An enlightening documentary portrait of the African American militant leader (1925-65), including his spiritual transformation through the discovery of the Muslim religion and newsreels of his speeches.
Rebirth of a Nation – Feb. 4, 3 p.m., Richmond Branch Library
Experimental hip-hop musician and multimedia artist DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) created this “cinematic remix” that analyzes and deconstructs D.W. Griffith’s 1915 classic-but-racist epic film, The Birth of a Nation.
With Drawn Arms – Feb. 9, 12 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Tommie Smith, the gold medalist who is known for raising his fist after accepting a medal at the ‘68 Olympic games in protest of racial inequality, looks back 50 years to the moment that helped define a movement and changed the course of his life forever.
Blindspotting – Feb. 9, 5 p.m., Western Addition Branch Library
Collin must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning.
Akeelah and the Bee – Feb. 11, 10:30 a.m., Mission Bay Branch Library
Eleven-year-old Akeelah Anderson’s life is not easy. She decides to participate in a spelling bee to avoid detention for her many absences. As the possibility of making it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee looms, Akeelah could provide her community with someone to rally around.
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 one has to see for oneself. 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.
An Ode to Us: A Celebration of Black Hair is now on view at Excelsior Branch. This exhibit 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.
Black Excellence, Black Invention explores the legacy of the thousands of Black innovators who have made life easier for individuals, businesses and communities through meaningful contributions and inventions.
GOAT – Greatest of All Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali – Jan. 14 – March 6, Atrium, Main Library
An Ode to Us: A Celebration of Black Hair – Through March 12, Excelsior Branch Library
Black Excellence, Black Invention – Through March 2, Bayview Branch Library
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.