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Black History Month: Athletes

Provides information about Black History Month and some notable African Americans from throughout history.

Jackie Robinson

Photograph of Jackie Robinson holding a baseball bat ready to swing

This photograph of Jackie Robinson is an official portrait from when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and is maintained by the Library of Congress.

Photograph of Jackie Robinson sitting behind a microphone with the ABC logo on it

This photograph is a promotional photo from when Jackie Robinson served as a broadcaster for ABC during "Major League Championship Baseball" in 1965. 

Photograph of the cover of the comic book Jackie Robinson #5 featuring a drawing of Jackie Robinson with an inset photograph of Robinson covering 2nd base as another player slides in

This photograph shows the cover of Jackie Robinson #5, a comic book about the life of Jackie Robinson. Originally created circa 1951, the comic is now maintained by the Library of Congress.

Why are they important?

Jackie Robinson was the first African American baseball player to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the twentieth century. His position on the Brooklyn Dodgers is considered to have broken the color line in baseball and brought in a new age of acceptance in the sport. Robinson was also an activist for civil rights and adopted Martin Luther King, Jr.'s nonviolent approach to protesting.

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch this speech by Jackie Robinson on civil rights

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information on Jackie Robinson:

  • National Archives
    Read documents written by Jackie Robinson, including letters to three different presidents.
  • Jackie Robinson
    Visit the official licensing website for Jackie Robinson to read a biography, view his stats and achievements, and read some of his words of wisdom.
  • Biography
    Presents an overview of Jackie Robinson's life and accomplishments and includes quick facts, famous quotes, photos, and videos.

Muhammad Ali

Photograph of Muhammad Ali

This photograph depicts Muhammad Ali in 1967 and is maintained by the Library of Congress.

Color Photograph of Muhammad Ali

This photograph shows Muhammad Ali at an event in New York City in 1997.

Painting of Muhammad Ali with boxing gloves posing in front of the American Flag

This painting is an interpretation of boxer Muhammad Ali by John Stango.

Why are they important?

Muhammad Ali is widely considered the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. In addition to his talent in the boxing ring, Ali was known for his activism when it came to civil rights and America's involvement in the Vietnam War. 

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch Muhammad Ali share his views on education

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about Muhammad Ali:

  • Biography
    Presents an overview of Muhammad Ali's life and accomplishments and includes quick facts, famous quotes, photos, and videos.
  • Scholastic Kids Press
    An article about "The Legacy of Muhammad Ali" written by a kid reporter.
  • Britannica Kids
    Biographical information about Muhammad Ali written for various age levels.

Venus and Serena Williams

Photograph of young Venus and Serena Williams in tennis outfits on a tennis court

This photograph shows Venus and Serena Williams at a tennis event in 1993.

Photograph of Serena Williams jumping into the air with her arms held high in celebration

This photograph shows Serena Williams celebrating after defeating Maria Sharapova at the 2012 Olympic Games to win the gold medal.

Photograph of Venus Williams about to hit a tennis ball that is flying toward her

This photograph show Venus Williams in action during the 2016 Wimbledon Championships.

Why are they important?

Trained from a very young age by their father, Venus and Serena Williams have grown to become two of the greatest tennis players in modern history. Playing individually or as a team, Venus and Serena have won many awards, including Olympic medals and Grand Slam titles.

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch this promotional video from the sisters' 2018 US Open match

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about Venus and Serena Williams:

  • Twitter
    Connect with Venus Williams on social media. Learn about what she is currently doing and her plans for the future.
  • Twitter
    Connect with Serena Williams on social media. Learn about what she is currently doing and her plans for the future.
  • Biography
    Presents an overview of Venus Williams's life and accomplishments thus far.
  • Biography
    Presents an overview of Serena Williams's life and accomplishments thus far.