African American History Month. African Americans and the Right to Vote. Image: Evelynn Butts

African American History Month

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

February 2020

Theme: African Americans and the Right to Vote

African American History Month is celebrated each February since 1926 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson sought to commemorate the contributions of people of African descent in the United States. The national 2020 theme is African Americans and the Right to Vote.

"The year 2020 marks the centennial [100th anniversary] of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement.  The year 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial [150th anniversary] of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War." (Association for the Study of African American Life and History)

Join us throughout the month of February for celebratory and educational programs and events, including concerts, theatrical and dance performances, speakers, crafts and more.

2020 Evelyn Butts Voting Rights Art & Essay Contest

  • Date: -  (all day)

February is African American History Month, and what better way to celebrate than learning about important figures who have impacted history.  This year, the Norfolk Public Library, the City of Norfolk, and Norfolk Public Schools want every student from pre-K to 12th grade to reflect on the 2020 theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” by participating in the city-wide “Voting Rights” art and essay contest. 

 The contest is also a way to honor local civil rights activist Evelyn Butts, who is best known for challenging the poll tax in the 1960s and taking her case before the United States Supreme Court. Butts eventually won her case to get the poll tax eliminated with the help of Joseph A. Jordan Jr., a civil rights attorney who later became the first African American member of the Norfolk City Council since Reconstruction. Jordan was also the first African American judge for the Norfolk General District Court.

Students are encouraged to read about Jordan, Butts and other trailblazers, and create an expression of what they learned through an original artwork or essay.

Entries may be dropped off at all Norfolk Public Library branches by the deadline, Saturday, March 7, 2020, before 5 PM.  Entries may also be dropped off at the Pretlow Anchor Branch, Jordan-Newby Anchor Branch or Slover Library on Sunday, March 8, by 5 PM.

 All entries must be accompanied by an entry form. To download the entry form and get a complete explanation of contest guidelines, visit the Library’s website at   

(Preschool, School Age, Teens)

Return to full list >>