The 2013 Black History Month theme is "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington," in observation of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (issued on January 1, 1863) and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (which took place on August 28, 1963). In celebration of Black History Month this year, our Now @ MPL blog will focus on these pivotal events in American history, exploring their contexts and consequences with topical entries throughout the month.
To explore the history of emancipation on your own, take a look at the Chronology of Emancipation during the Civil War, which was adapted from the book Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War.
Or for an overview of key events in the struggle for civil rights during the 20th century, check out Pulitzer Prize winning author Taylor Branch's newest book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement. This new book provides a brief look at 18 turning points drawn from Branch's more extensive, award-winning, three-volume history of the period: Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (1988), Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65 (1998), and At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 (2006).