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From Slavery to Freedom

February marks the beginning of African American History Month, an annual celebration that has existed since 1926. Much of the credit can go to historian and Harvard scholar Carter G. Woodson, who, in 1926, organized the first annual Negro History Week, which took place during the second week of February. He chose this date to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two men who had greatly impacted the black population. Over time, Negro History Week evolved into today's African American History Month.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. 1963 Rosa Parks, three-quarter length portrait, seated toward front of bus, facing right, Montgomery, Ala. 1956

Woodson's research has influenced others to carry on his work, including 2006 Kluge Medal recipient John Hope Franklin, whose 1947 landmark survey of black history, "From Slavery to Freedom," is this year's theme. Franklin joins the ranks of many notable Americans who, with the grandest of gestures or the simplest of principles, have done their part in promoting African-American equality in the United States.

One such individual is Rosa Parks, whose determination to stay seated ultimately ignited the spark of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. The Library has put together a comprehensive guide to materials on Rosa Parks, offering links to the various collections that highlight Parks' contribution to African-American civil rights.

Another great resource documenting notable moments in the Civil Rights Movement is an image guide put together by the Prints and Photographs Division. Gleaned from the "U.S. News & World Report Photographs Collection," highlights include the images of the Civil Rights March on Washington and of President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

The Library debuts a new Web site topic page in honor of its celebration of African American History Month. Featured are spotlights on celebrated figures such as Harriet Tubman and milestone legislation like the Emancipation Proclamation, along with resources for teachers and much more.

A. Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. 1963. Prints and Photographs Division. SUMMARY: Photograph shows a crowd of African-Americans and whites surrounding the Reflecting Pool and continuing to the Washington Monument. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-U9-10363-5 (b&w film neg.), LC-DIG-ppmsca-03130 (digital file from original). No known restrictions on publication; Call No.: USN&WR COLL - Job no. 10363, frame 5 [P&P]

B. Rosa Parks, three-quarter length portrait, seated toward front of bus, facing right, Montgomery, Ala. 1956. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-111235 (b&w film copy neg.). Publication may be restricted. For information see "New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection," []; Call No.: NYWTS - SUBJ/GEOG--Racism <item> [P&P]