February is Black History Month. A time dedicated to the recognition of the sacrifices, triumphs, and adversities that have shaped American history. While February may be a designated time to acknowledge and remember Black history, there is always the opportunity to learn year-round. NPR has created a brief reading list to help you start your educational journey. Don’t have time to finish a book this month? We’ve got you covered with a handful of podcast options, including an episode to get you started.
Books you can read this month, or next month…or any day of the year.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.
From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
A powerful and practical guide to help you navigate racism, challenge privilege, manage stress and trauma, and begin to heal.
Healing from racism is a journey that often involves reliving trauma and experiencing feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. This journey can be a bumpy ride, and before we begin healing, we need to gain an understanding of the role history plays in racial/ethnic myths and stereotypes. In so many ways, to heal from racism, you must re-educate yourself and unlearn the processes of racism. This book can help guide you.
The Racial Healing Handbook offers practical tools to help you navigate daily and past experiences of racism, challenge internalized negative messages and privileges, and handle feelings of stress and shame. You’ll also learn to develop a profound racial consciousness and conscientiousness, and heal from grief and trauma. Most importantly, you’ll discover the building blocks to creating a community of healing in a world still filled with racial microaggressions and discrimination.
This book is not just about ending racial harm—it is about racial liberation. This journey is one that we must take together. It promises the possibility of moving through this pain and grief to experience the hope, resilience, and freedom that helps you not only self-actualize, but also makes the world a better place.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Want more books to choose from? Visit Good Reads’ full list here!
Podcasts you can listen to on the commute to work, while you’re cooking, taking a walk, or any time throughout your day:
The Humanity Archive
Podcast #29: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
How do we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Did you know that his holiday faced almost 15 years of rigid opposition? In this episode, Jermaine looks beyond the acclaimed I have a dream speech to explore what King really stood for. And how his message is still painfully relevant today.
Episode: Onward and Upward: Reflecting on 2021
Dear Culture is a weekly podcast keeping us informed on politics, entertainment, and social justice through the lens of culture with a healthy dose of shady social commentary. Hosted by Gerren Keith Gaynor, the Grio’s Managing Editor, and Social Media Director, Shana Pinnock.
Dear Culture, We Made It! A brand new year is just ahead and this week on the Dear Culture Podcast our hosts, Gerren Keith Gaynor and Shana Pinnock, reflect on all the ups and downs that shaped and shook the culture in 2021 and look ahead to 2022.
Episode: Lesser Known Creeps
Resistance is a show about refusing to accept things as they are. Stories from the front lines of the movement for Black lives, told by the generation fighting for change. Hosted by Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr.
We all know about the campaigns to tear down statues of Columbus and Lee, but what about the remnants of slavery we walk past every day and don’t even realize are there?
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