My N.C. from A to Z, a New Children’s Book from the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the N.C. Office of Archives and History

Monday, February 17, 2020

Cover of My N.C. from A to ZThe North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and the North Carolina Office of Archives and History have recently published a new book—and for the first time, a children’s book—titled My N.C. from A to Z. Children, parents, and caregivers will love learning about North Carolina through this beautifully illustrated board book. It is a great book for baby or toddler, but the amazing illustrations and important contemporary and historical topics make it enjoyable for all ages.

A celebration of North Carolina African Americans from A - Z

Each of the 26 letters in the A to Z book celebrates African American people or places from North Carolina that have positively impacted the arts, culture, medicine, or social justice worldwide. For example: B is for Durham’s Black Wall Street, the center of African American business in the early 20th century; R is for Rosenwald Schools, schools that were built in African American communities in the 1910s-1930s; and T is for Thomas Day, the African American cabinet and furniture maker whose work can be seen in the North Carolina Museum of History and the Greensboro Historical Museum.

Both the writer, Michelle Lanier, and the illustrator, Dare Coulter, are North Carolinians.

Author Michelle Lanier

Michelle Lanier served as the first executive director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission (AAHC), which strives to preserve, promote, and protect the state’s African American history, arts, and culture for all people. She is currently director of the North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites. She also serves on the NC Arts Council, where the AAHC is based. In addition to My N.C. from A to Z, Michelle helped write African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina, a book about the deep ties between community and music in Eastern North Carolina. Michelle also helped to establish the Freedom Roads trail system that recognizes the roads, rivers, and ports in North Carolina that were crucial to enslaved African Americans seeking freedom.

Illustrator Dare Coulter

Dare Coulter is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Art + Design. Though Dare’s passion is sculpture, she works in a variety of media, including drawings, paintings, and murals. At age 26, Dare has already illustrated 4 children’s books, including My N.C. from A to Z.

Available at the N.C. Government and Heritage Library

Both My N.C. from A to Z and African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina are available at the Government and Heritage Library (GHL). They can also be purchased from UNC Press.

The GHL has also created a My N.C. from A to Z Companion Guide for readers who desire to learn more about the topics found in the book. The resources in this research guide include print books available at the GHL and at other institutions, resources from N.C. state agency websites, and links to online resources and repositories that can provide context and further related information about the A to Z entries in the book.

More available from the GHL

In addition to the two books above, the GHL has many other books on North Carolina African Americans and African American history and culture, such as:


Denise Jones, State Publications Clearinghouse Liaison