Black History Month: Black Joy and the Arts

Your library is thrilled to be collaborating with the Black Empowerment and Excellence at SAIT (BEES) Committee to bring you a hand-picked online list of books in celebration of Black History Month.

This year's theme is "Black Joy and the Arts" and we invite you to explore a collection that celebrates Black lives, Black resilience, Black excellence, and Black Joy. For print books, check out our displays at the front of the library.

Happy reading!

Book cover for the black joy project. 

The Black Joy Project: A Literary and Visual Love Letter to How We Thrive

Black Joy is everywhere. From the bustling streets of Lagos to hip-hop blasting through apartment windows in the Bronx. From the wide-open coastal desert of Namibia to the lush slopes of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. From the thriving tradition of Candomblé in Bahia to the innovative and trendsetting styles of Soweto, and beyond, Black Joy is present in every place that Black people exist. The Black Joy Project is a one-of-a-kind celebration of this truth and a life-giving testament to one of the most essential forces that fuels Black life.

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Book cover for Go to School - you're a little black boy. with a photo of Lincoln M Alexnder on the front. 

"Go to school, you're a little black boy": The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir

Among the important stories that need to be told about noteworthy Canadians, Lincoln Alexander’s sits at the top of the list. Born in Toronto in 1922, the son of a maid and a railway porter, Alexander embarked on an exemplary life path that has involved military service for his country, a successful political career, a thriving law career, and vocal advocacy on subjects ranging from antiracism to the importance of education.

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Book cover for self-care for black women. 

Self-Care for Black Women: 150 Ways to Radically Accept & Prioritize Your Mind, Body & Soul

Prioritize your wellbeing with these 150 self-care exercises designed specifically to help Black women revitalize their outlook on life, improve their mental health, eliminate stress, and self-advocate. It’s tough to prioritize physical and mental wellness as a Black woman. Whether you need a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day, you’re working through feelings of burnout, or you need to process a microaggression, this book has everything you need to feel more at peace.

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Book cover for black joy: stories of resistance, resilience and restoration.

Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration

When Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts wrote an essay on Black joy for The Washington Post, she had no idea just how deeply it would resonate. But the outpouring of positive responses affirmed her own lived experience: that Black joy is not just a weapon of resistance, it is a tool for resilience.With this book, Tracey aims to gift her community with a collection of lyrical essays about the way joy has evolved, even in the midst of trauma, in her own life. Detailing these instances of joy in the context of Black culture allows us to recognize the power of Black joy as a resource to draw upon, and to challenge the one-note narratives of Black life as solely comprised of trauma and hardship.

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Book cover for High Rider, with a sepia photo of John Ware on the front. 

High Rider

High Rider is the historical novel based on the life of John Ware (1845–1905). Born a slave on a rice plantation in South Carolina, John Ware became one of the most successful independent ranchers in southern Alberta through the sheer force of his will and through his incredible skill at the cowboy trade.

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Book cover for settling down and settling up. 

Settling Down and Settling Up: The Second Generation in Black Canadian and Black British Women's Writing

Book cover for the skin we're in.

The Skin We're In: A Year Of Black Resistance And Power

Chronicling just one year in the struggle against racism in this country, The Skin We're In reveals in stark detail the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis: the devastating effects of racist policing, the hopelessness produced by an education system that fails Black children, the heartbreak of those separated from their families by discriminatory immigration laws, and more. Cole draws on his own experiences as a Black man in Canada, and locates the deep cultural, historical, and political roots of each event. What emerges is a personal, painful, and comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality.

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Book cover for emotional self-care for black women.

Emotional Self-Care for Black Women: Discover How to Raise Your Self-Esteem, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Heal from Past Traumas Even if Your Life is Chaotic Right Now

Discover how you can take control of your happiness and inner peace despite all the obstacles you have to face. Being a black woman today comes with unique struggles that others don't even know about.  While the obstacles you face are out of your control, how you respond to them is within it. By understanding the triggers and emotions you have inside, and using them to address your needs, you'll be better equipped to tackle any challenge in front of you.

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Book cover for black excellence: 20 stories about rising from ordinary to extraordinary.

Black Excellence: 20 Stories about Rising from Ordinary to Extraordinary

How often do you wake up and ask yourself “How can I be better today than I was yesterday?” Black Excellence: 20 Stories about Rising from Ordinary to Extraordinary will inspire you to expand and broaden the range of phenomenal goals you want to achieve in life. L. Jeff Shafer II celebrates Black culture through interviews, research, and his personal journey to show there are endless examples of Black Excellence today in many different industries.This book will challenge readers who think that money is synonymous with happiness or success and dare them to ask more from themselves.

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Book cover for the politics of black joy.

The Politics of Black Joy

During the antebellum period, slave owners weaponized southern Black joy to argue for enslavement, propagating images of “happy darkies.” In contrast, abolitionists wielded sorrow by emphasizing racial oppression. Both arguments were so effective that a political uneasiness on the subject still lingers. Stewart draws upon Zora Neale Hurston’s essays, Beyoncé’s Lemonade, and figures across several disciplines including Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Saidiya Hartman, Imani Perry, Eddie Glaude, and Audra Simpson. The politics of joy offers insights that are crucial for forming needed new paths in our current moment.

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📅 Temporary Library Closure

We will be closed on Feb 21, 2024, from 11:30 am to 3 pm to allow for professional development of staff. Sorry for the inconvenience.

🧔 Meet your librarian

Have you met your librarian yet?

Your librarian is a specialist in offering you personalized research and citation support. Each school at SAIT has its own librarian with subject-specific expertise. Schedule an appointment to Meet Your Librarian in person or online for help with your assignments and projects.

💻 Online research tutorials

If you haven’t had a chance to meet your librarian or do an in-class library research session, check out our online research tutorial. A series of short videos and worksheets help guide you through the research process. These tutorials are also great as a refresher and will help you to:

  • Develop an effective research strategy.
  • Find a variety of information sources in the library.
  • Evaluate information using RADAR.
  • Locate information required to cite a source.

📚 Free Interlibrary Loans

Can’t find the book, article, or resource you need in our collections?

Our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service can help! We can search other libraries around Alberta or even further afield to find the item you need. If you request a journal article, it can be delivered directly to your email. We received a total of 434 requests last year!

ILL’s are available for free for SAIT’s students, faculty and staff. Simply fill out the ILL Form to make a request.

Freedom to Read Week, Feb 18-24

Celebrate your freedom to read!

Book covers of 3 banned books: Harry Potter, the handmaid's tale andpersepolis.

These books and many more from our collection have at some point been the subject of challenges or bans in Canada or around the world. Freedom to read week celebrates the rights of Canadians to freedom of expression. Find out more about individual books that have faced censorship at Freedom to Read.

Celebrate your freedom to read by checking out one of these books from your library!

Some famous banned books