Libraries Plan Programs, Presentations to Celebrate Black Brilliance

From a presentation on the forgotten history of Raleigh’s Fourth Ward to a special storytime with the sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Wake County Public Libraries has numerous ways for the whole family to “Celebrate Black Brilliance” during Black History Month.

“This is a great chance for Wake County residents of all ages to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the contributions of the Black community here in Wake County and beyond,” said Wake County Commissioner Tara Waters. “I encourage people to sign up for a program or two – there is something for everyone to participate in, learn from and enjoy.”

Events are a mix of in-person and virtual. All are free, but some require advance registration, so please read the descriptions carefully when you’re making your plans. View the complete list of events here or visit

Featured events include:

Historical Black Communities of NC Series

Raleigh's Fourth Ward
Southeast Regional Library
Jan. 27 | 2 p.m.
Community activist Octavia Rainey will discuss the forgotten history of the Fourth Ward, a predominantly Black area in downtown Raleigh, and how the legacy of this historical neighborhood that was lost to the urbanization of the city can be honored. Registration is required.

Wilmington's Lie: Author Talk with David Zucchino
Feb. 6 | 6:30 p.m.
Virtual Event
Pulitzer Prize-winner David Zucchino will discuss the dark, and often forgotten, story of political and racial tensions in Wilmington that led to the overthrow of the elected government of this Black-majority North Carolina city. Register to receive a Zoom link.

Desegregation in Wake County: A Retrospective
Feb. 22 | 6:30 p.m.
Virtual Event
Join us for a conversation with Joseph Holt Jr., the first Black student to challenge Raleigh's school system following the passing of Brown v. Board of Education, and Dr. Dudley E. Flood, a retired educator and state-level administrator who was instrumental in leading the desegregation efforts in North Carolina schools. Register to receive a Zoom link.

Apex Black History: Stories Still With Us Today
Feb. 27 | 6:30 p.m.
Eva Perry Regional Library
In the years before the Civil War, half of the inhabitants of southwestern Wake County were enslaved Africans or Free Persons of Color. Get a window into their world when local actors present snippets from Warren Holleman’s new play, “Forged in Fire: The Story of Apex,” and students from Middle Creek High School retell these stories through art, poetry and music.

Raleigh’s Historic Turner House
March 2
Oberlin Regional Library
Join Cheryl Crooms Williams of the Historic Turner House Foundation for a presentation that brings together genealogical research and local history. Williams will discuss her journey in researching her ancestors and the role they played in Raleigh’s history, along with resources to help you uncover more about your own family tree. Registration is requested.

Family-friendly Events

Meet The Artist: Quilters Sharon Barrow and Cynthia Jordan
Feb. 10 | 11 a.m.
North Regional Library
Local quilters Sharon Barrow and Cynthia Jordan will have their work on display and answer questions about the art of quilting.

Family Storytime with Alpha Kappa Alpha
Feb. 17 | 10 a.m.
Leesville Community Library
Join us for a Family Storytime that will feature the sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., as special guest readers.

Storytelling and Drumming with Shenette Swann
Feb. 21 | 4:30 p.m.
Southgate Community Library
Singer and drum circle facilitator Shenette Swann brings family and community together through storytelling and drumming. With a message of inclusion, Swann performs freedom songs as the audience interactively joins with drumming and movement!

e-Book Lists

Can’t make it out to a program? Librarians have put together special e-book lists for adults, teens and children.

Learn more about Celebrate Black Brilliance at

Press Release