February is Black History Month, with roots in Negro History Week, founded in 1926 by Harvard-educated Carter G. Woodson. It’s a time to honor the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans. In recognition of that, here’s a sampler:
▪ The annual Sacramento Black Book Fair will be June 5-7 in the city’s Oak Park neighborhood, but meanwhile it’s introducing “literary community participatory projects” to ask schools, churches, libraries, bookstores and organizations to sponsor read-ins and discussions of books by and about African Americans. (916) 484-3749; www.sacramentoblackbookfair.com, www.ncte.org/aari.
Books with a timely connection to Black History Month include:
▪ Sacramento writer-educators Constance Gipson and Hazel Mahone collaborated on “Legacies,” the ultimate historic/how-to guide for “young black women in planning their future” (Vision 2000, $45, 295 pages). It’s a history/heritage lesson and a practical guide interspersed with “the voices of 16 African queens and nearly 40 successful contemporary black women.” Visit www.legaciesforyoungwomen.org.
▪ Caroline Clarke was an adopted child who in adulthood went on a quest to discover her biological family. To her shock, she learned her grandfather was singer Nat “King” Cole. The singer’s daughter, Cookie Cole, had give up baby Caroline “because of the embarrassment Nat’s wife felt an out-of-wedlock birth would bring the family.” “Postcards From Cookie” is Clarke’s memoir about connecting with her mother (Harper, $15, 320 pages).
▪ Freelance writer Marci Seither delved into the history of Coloma to discover the true story of an African American family that was among the area’s first pioneers during the Gold Rush. Her fictionalized account of their dramatic story is “The Adventures of Pearley Monroe” (Sawmill Press, $8, 146 pages).
▪ The compelling Dr. Cecelia Arrington of Sacramento recounts “the road I have traveled from completely segregated” Alabama to her years at Merritt College in Oakland in “The Life and Confessions of a Black Studies Teacher” (Bye, 350 pages, $16).
Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.