University book collection honors Black History Month

February 24, 2018

BROWNSVILLE — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stood over a gigantic table in his home and told his guest there should be more books written about the Buffalo Soldiers.

The towering center who dominated the NBA for decades with his signature sky hook drilled the journalist about the American military successes of the Buffalo Soldiers for hours.

Then he allowed the journalist to interview him to write his story.

Jabbar’s story and many others of African Americans are being showcased at the UTRGV University Library in Brownsville to honor Black History Month.

More than 100 books about prominent figures in black history — including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Maya Angelou and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — will be available for checkout and on display.

The books are part of a display during the month of February featuring a special collection of books and other media focused on Black History Month.

The showcase of books was created by the Special Collections and Archives department of the library.

The department organizes literature exhibits throughout the year to promote awareness of a wide range of causes, including Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and the history of Día de los Muertos.

The black history books on display are located on the third floor until the end of the month.

Millie Hernandez, University Library special collections manager, said learning the history of a topic is the first step to becoming enlightened by the African-American experience.

“It’s important to have a remembrance of things that shaped our history,” she said. “Before we can do that, we have to educate ourselves.”

Hernandez said they want their students to be aware of the rich cultures surrounding them and inform themselves by reading.