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Musical score: Stormy Wether

Black History Month: Notable New Yorkers

February 2019

The New York State Library's seventh floor exhibit for February celebrated Black History Month with an exhibit focusing on some notable New Yorkers, featuring information by and/or about Kenneth B. Clark, Duke Ellington, and Sojourner Truth.


Black History Month 2019 - left case - Kenneth B. Clark

Dr. Kenneth B. Clark was elected to the Board of Regents by the NYS Legislature to serve a five-year term in 1966. In 1971, he was re-elected to serve a 15-year term. One of Regent Clark's responsibilities included the chairmanship of the Regents Committee on Cultural Education. In 1986, the auditorium in this building (the Cultural Education Center), was named "The Kenneth B. Clark Regents Auditorium." On October 21, 1987, the auditorium was dedicated "to honor all who have served on the Board of Regents – whose vision and leadership form the cornerstone of educational policy in New York State."


Black History Month 2019 - center case - Kenneth B. Clark

Items on display include:

  • Clark, Kenneth B. "The Role Libraries Can Play in the Development of Individuals." The Bookmark, Spring 1984, page 139-140. Albany, N.Y.: New York State Library, 1984.
  • "Legislature Elects Regents." Bulletin to the Schools, February 1966, page 3. Albany, N.Y.: University of the State of New York, 1966.
  • "Biographies of Regents of the University." The New York State Red Book, Eighty-eighth edition, 1985-86, page 697. Albany, New York: Williams Press, Inc., 1985-1986.


Black History Month 2019 - right case - Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington was born in Washington D.C. in 1899 and relocated to New York City in the early 1920s. It was in Harlem where he would become a legendary Jazz composer, pianist, jazz orchestra leader, and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance. The contents of this exhibit case are a celebration of his illustrious and immeasurable contributions to American music and culture.
Items in this case include book covers, quotations, and photographs contained within the following books:

  • Gammond, Peter, ed. Duke Ellington: His Life and Music. New York: Roy Publishers, c1958.
  • Montgomery, Elizabeth Rider. Duke Ellington: King of Jazz. Champaign, Ill.: Garrard Pub. Co., 1972.
  • Dance, Stanley. The World of Duke Ellington. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1970.
  • Kane, Henry. How to Write a Song, as Told to Henry Kane by Duke Ellington. New York: Macmillan, 1962.

Also included is a musical score for piano and voice with diagrams for ukulele titled Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time), and a reproduction of the original theatre program and concert ticket from a concert performed at the Lincoln Auditorium in Syracuse, N.Y. on November 30, 1946 by Duke Ellington and his orchestra, with Django Reinhardt.

endpages featuring a reproduction of a broadside for a lecture by Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was born in 1797 to enslaved people in Ulster County, NY. She was an evangelist and advocate for the abolitionist and women's rights movements. She lived in New York for much of her life, and since 1843, she presented lectures around the United States to support abolitionism. In the 1850s, she settled in Battle Creek, Michigan and continued her lifelong activism in the women's rights and suffrage movements.
The following items about Sojourner Truth are on display:

  • "Journey to Freedom." New York State Bicentennial Commission and the New York State Division for Women. [No Date].
  • Washington, Margaret. Sojourner Truth's America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.
  • Gilbert, Olive. Narrative of Sojourner Truth. New York: Arno Press, 1968.
  • Lutz, Norma Jean. Sojourner Truth: abolitionist, suffragist, and preacher. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000.
  • Bernard, Jacqueline. Journey toward freedom: the story of Sojourner Truth. New York: Norton, 1967.
  • Ortiz, Victoria. Sojourner Truth, a self-made woman. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1974.
  • Stetson, Erlene. Glorying in tribulation: the lifework of Sojourner Truth. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1994.
  • Mabee, Carleton. Sojourner Truth--slave, prophet, legend. New York: New York University Press, 1993.
  • Fauset, Arthur Huff. Sojourner Truth; God's faithful pilgrim. New York: Russell & Russell, 1971.

You can learn more about Kenneth B. Clark, Duke Ellington, and Sojourner Truth from the NYS Library's NOVELny resources such as Britannica.

Exhibit curated by Amy Peker, Matthew Laudicina and Cara Janowsky.

Last Updated: January 31, 2023