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Understanding Black history is integral to understanding the history, issues, and the future of our country. One of the founding documents of this country, the United States Declaration of Independence, held that "all men are created equal." However, the long history and the impacts of enslavement, segregation, and redlining are still felt today. Each February, San Diego Public Library honors Black history, celebrates culture and community, and recognizes the achievements as well as the ongoing struggles of Black Americans.

In celebration of Black History Month, the Library hosts various thought provoking programs and provides an opportunity for students to participate in a creative works contest.


Black History Month Contest

Black History Month Contest 2023 - student writing in notebook with a pensive expression


Black History Month Contest

Showcase your talents and creativity by submitting an essay, poem, visual artwork, song, rap, or other creative work that represents a Black American historical figure or an event in Black American history that has shaped the world.

All participants receive a free gift! Contest prizes include $150 for 1st place, $100 for 2nd place and $50 for 3rd place. This opportunity is sponsored by the Friends of the Malcolm X Library.

Click here for contest details and submission form.

Contest is open to students in 4th – 12th grade.

  1. One entry per person.
  2. All content must be original work.
  3. Make it colorful, be creative and have fun!
  4. All entries must be submitted by February 10th, 2023.

Featured Programs

Black Human Book Experience image

Black LGBTQ+ Human Book Experience
Saturday, February 11, 2023 | 3:00 - 5:30 p.m. | Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library

The San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition is hosting an event uplifting Black poetic and expressive art including a poetry slam, raffles, music and prizes and the human book experience.

Adapted from the Human Library, this event is an interactive learning experience where readers "borrow" our human books and ask difficult questions that are expected, appreciated and answered. This is a safe space for dialogue to build trust, mutual understanding, and connections with each other.

Registration is recommended.

Red Lip Theology Cover and Author Candice Marie Benbow


Red Lip Theology with Candice Marie
Monday, February 27, 2023 | 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. | Central Library

Blurring the boundaries of righteous and irreverent, Red Lip Theology invites us to discover freedom in a progressive Christian faith that incorporates activism, feminism, and radical authenticity. Essayist and theologian Candice Marie Benbow’s essays explore universal themes like heartache, loss, forgiveness, and sexuality, and she unflinchingly empowers women who struggle with feeling loved and nurtured by church culture. Join us for an author presentation from Candice Marie Benbow followed by a book signing.

Story Times & Crafts

Lecture & Discussion

Black History Month Lectures


In honor of Black History Month join us for thought provoking lectures and discussions on topics from Black voices in art and equity to Afro-Descendants in Nazi Germany. Click on each event to learn more.

Film Screening

General Interest

Art & Display

  • Black Writers & Poets in Rare Book Room
  • Black Writers & Poets in Rare Book Room


Black Writers & Poets in Rare Book Room
Central Library | Rare Book Room, 9th Floor

In honor of Black History Month, the Rare Book Room celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Black writers and poets featuring rare edition of works by Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Harriet Jacobs.

  • Artwork by I.K. Chukwu
  • Artwork by I.K. Chukwu


On View Local Artist - I.K. Chukwu
Central Library | 5th Floor | Feb. 1 - Feb. 28, 2023

Personal reflections on African American heroes will be presented on the 5th floor of the Central Library by local artist I.K. Chukwu.


Have you ever wondered how Black History Month came into being and why February was chosen? This brief video on the evolution of Black History Month will give you a better understanding of the progression of events that led us to the celebration of the contributions Black Americans have made to the United States.