Black History Month 2021

For Black History Month this year, I wanted to share some book recommendations I’ve seen on my feeds. I haven’t read any of the books yet but will definitely be adding them to my TBR (To Be Read) list and spending some $$ on books! 😀

I also gave reparations today via Kinfolk Kollective, and Portland’s Black Resilience Fund, and donated to Black Mamas Matter Alliance. I invite you to join me in ways that work for you. I’d also love to hear about where you give.

At the bottom of the page I also share a couple of web resources. This is not intended to be comprehensive, but is a reflection of what I am adding to my own homework today.

Do you have books or resources to share? What is on your Black History & Black Experience TBR (to be read)?


Books
(click the cover to go to an external page)
Publisher Comments from Indiebound.org
The Three Mothers
How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

by
Anna Malaika Tubbs
Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin’s son James, about Alberta King’s son Martin Luther, and Louise Little’s son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them.
In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America’s most pivotal heroes.
One of Fortune Magazine’s 21 Books to Look Foward to in 2021
Badass Women’s Bookclub pick for “Badass Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021!”
Magical Negro
Poems
by
Morgan Parker
Magical Negro is an archive of black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics — of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present — timeless black melancholies and triumphs.
Real American
A Memoir

by
Julie Lythcott-Haims

and check out the podcast interview on
Finding Fertile Ground Podcast
Bringing a poetic sensibility to her prose to stunning effect, Lythcott-Haims briskly and stirringly evokes her personal battle with the low self-esteem that American racism routinely inflicts on people of color. The only child of a marriage between an African-American father and a white British mother, she shows indelibly how so-called “micro” aggressions in addition to blunt force insults can puncture a person’s inner life with a thousand sharp cuts. Real American expresses also, through Lythcott-Haims’s path to self-acceptance, the healing power of community in overcoming the hurtful isolation of being incessantly considered “the other.”
The Hill We Climb And Other Poems
by
Amanda Gorman
A collection of poetry by presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman
Including The Hill We Climb, the stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, this collection of the same name reveals an energizing and unforgettable new voice in America poetry.
Reading While Black
African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope

by
Esau McCaulley
Growing up in the American South, Esau McCaulley knew firsthand the ongoing struggle between despair and hope that marks the lives of some in the African American context. A key element in the fight for hope, he discovered, has long been the practice of Bible reading and interpretation that comes out of traditional Black churches. This ecclesial tradition is often disregarded or viewed with suspicion by much of the wider church and academy, but it has something vital to say. Reading While Black is a personal and scholarly testament to the power and hope of Black biblical interpretation. At a time in which some within the African American community are questioning the place of the Christian faith in the struggle for justice, New Testament scholar McCaulley argues that reading Scripture from the perspective of Black church tradition is invaluable for connecting with a rich faith history and addressing the urgent issues of our times….
United States Of Grace
A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope

by
Lenny Duncan
from unitedstatesofgrace.com
“I propose to you that grace is the only export and commodity that this country has left that isn’t tainted by a history of systemic oppression that has gripped this nation by its throat.“
-Lenny Duncan, excerpt “United States of Grace”

Web resources
Here is a lecture at the Oregon Historical Society – ‘Oregon’s Enigmatic Black History‘ presented by James Stanley Harrison, professor emeritus at Portland Community College and historian of record for the annual Vanport Mosaic Festival. At the bottom of the page are also links to other resources.
I also recommend the PBS YouTube series Say It Loud. I hope they are able to make more episodes!
Today, February 1st, we also remember the start of the Greensboro Sit-In at Woolworths in Greensboro, NC, in 1960.
We celebrate Langston Hughes birthday, today in 1902. Here’s some of his poetry. Tonight I am struck by Remember and My People.

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