Educate Yourself This Black History Month

Education is a vital part of change and growth. We need to learn about the past in order to create a more inclusive, diverse and equal future. I think it’s important to do this from a range of mediums and perspectives to get a more in-depth understanding.

This Black History Month I wanted to write a post that can be used as a source of information but that also celebrates some incredible stories and creations by and/or about BIPOC.

I’ve put together a list of books, films, documentaries, articles and podcasts that cover a broad range of both fictional and non-fictional content. Some tell a story of a journey or experience while others are more scientific and factual.

Books

The following books vary from novels to historical educational resources:

  • The Hate U Give – a novel written by Angie Thomas which tells the story of an African-American teenager who tries to stand up for what’s right after witnessing the shooting of her best friend by the police.
  • Superior: The Return of Race Science – a non-fiction book built around interviews with experts and science. Written by Angela Saini, the consensus argues that some fields of biology are still influenced by various discredited scientific racism theories of the 19th century.
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – British writer Reni Eddo-Lodge writes about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it.
  • The Colour Purple – written by Alice Walker, this novel focuses on the life of African-American women in the Southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture.
  • Don’t Touch My Hair – Emma Dabiri shares the weight of racism and discrimination she has experienced but also the pride in her African ancestry and her resistance to oppressive ideas about race and gender.
  • Home Going – a sweeping account of two half-sisters in 18th-century Ghana and the lives of their many generations of descendants in America, written by Yaa Gyasi.
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – this 1969 autobiography describes the early years of American poet Maya Angelou. It is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma.
  • Black and British: A Forgotten History – Historian David Olusoga explores the enduring relationship between Britain and people whose origins lie in Africa.
  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire is a 2019 British book by musician Akala. Part memoir, the book provides race and class analysis of a variety of historical eras, in addition to contemporary British society.
  • Me and White Supremacy – this 28-day guide by Laya F Saad is targeted at white readers and aims to help them in identifying the impact of white privilege on theirs and others lives.
  • Home Coming: Voices of the Windrush Generation draws on a plethora of first-hand interviews, archival recordings and memoirs by the women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and the early 1960s – written by Colin Grant.

Podcasts

Articles

The following articles are a must read – covering a range of topics from the science behind modern racism, slavery, to celebrating those who played a central role in British Black history.

Black Lives Matter protests took place across the UK this summer – source: The Guardian

Movies & Documentaries

Hidden figures (2016) tells the story of three female African-American mathematicians who play a pivotal role in astronaut John Glenn’s launch into orbit – but racial and gender discrimination keep getting in the way of their work. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.
Belle (2013) is a movie inspired by the 1779 painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle beside her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, at Kenwood House.
42: The late Chadwick Boseman plays Jackie Robinson – the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball during the modern era

There are many more books, podcasts, articles, films, and documentaries that I could have included in this blog but these are a good place to start. I’d be happy to provide more recommendations, and can do so if you drop me an email, but I encourage you to do your own research too.

I really hope this post will provide some useful resources, no matter what your preference of media. The key to change is education, challenging the societies we live in and encouraging others to do the same. We can’t expect change if nothing changes.