BEYOND 28 DAYS: HOW TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Protesters march to support the Black Lives Matter movement in New York City. Photo by The Untitled Magazine.

In the United States, 2020 brought racial injustice and inequality to the forefront of the public eye, first with nationwide protests against police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd, and then when findings revealed the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately affecting Black communities.

After a year marked by such Black trauma and pain, this year’s Black History Month is a reminder that Black history is American history and that it deserves to be celebrated year-round – not just during the 28 days of February.

Here are some media recommendations to further ongoing conversations around race beyond this month.

LITERATURE

  • How to Be an Antiracist by American author and historian Ibram X. Kendi. The New York Times Bestseller introduces the concept of antiracism to reshape the conversation around race in America.  How to Be An Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society,” Kendi’s website states.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. Courtesy of Ibram X. Kendi.
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Alexander tells the story of mass incarceration in the United States and how it resulted in millions of African Americans behind bars denied rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. In Alexander words, “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, originally published in 1963 amid the Civil Rights Movement, still provides incredible insight into how we can understand race in America today.
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper. Cooper argues that Black women’s anger often caricatured and demonized by our society is a powerful force. “This book argues that ultimately feminism, friendship, and faith in one’s own superpowers are all we really need to turn things right side up again,” Goodreads writes.
  • Poems about the Black experience by classic and contemporary poets.

FILMS & TV

  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, a documentary by Göran Olsson, examines the evolution of the Black Power movement in the U.S. through the eyes of outsiders attempting to show “the country as it really is.”
  • When They See Us by Ava DuVernay is a mini-series telling the true story of the wrongful conviction of adolescent boys from Harlem in the rape and assault of Trisha Meili on April 19, 1989.
  • Freedom Riders by Stanley Nelson chronicles the story of civil rights activists fight against segregation on buses and trains in the 1960s.
  • Eyes on the Prize, produced by Blackside, is a documentary series telling the story of the civil rights movement in America from the point of view of the men and women who launched it.
  • 13th by Ava DuVernay is a documentary exploring the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the U.S.

PODCASTS

  • Reid This, Reid That is a podcast by journalists Jacque Reid and Joy-Ann Reid. They cover topics in pop culture, politics, and Black girl magic.
  • 1619 by The New York Times is an audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones that examines how slavery has shaped America.
  • Intersectionality Matters‪!‬ is a podcast hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate and a leading scholar of critical race theory.
  • NPR’s Code Switch playlist groups podcast episodes telling the hidden history of Black America – from sports activism, feminism, or first enslaved Americans.
  • Anthems for the Black Lives Matter Movement, written and performed by Black artists, that bring awareness to systemic barriers that Black people face.
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