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Recommended reading, podcast and watch list for Black History Month

Environment, General Foundation News

In honor of Black History Month, Kresge’s Shamar Bibbins, senior program officer of the Environment Program, has curated a reading, podcast and watch list that highlights Black authors, reflects on history and provides inspiration during these uncertain times. Here are her recommendations:

  1. I love the rich discussions with my family during our quarterly book club gatherings. One of our recent reads, The Personal Librarian, is the fascinating story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian – who became one of the most powerful people in the art and book world despite going through extraordinary lengths to hide her true idenLet's stay in touch Sign up for our newsletters Subscribetity for the protection of her family and her legacy. I’m currently reading, Never Caught, for our March book club. It’s a powerful story of Ona Judge who risked it all to reach freedom and a startling look into America’s First Family. There is also a Young Readers version of Never Caught.
  1. GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp: A Walking Podcast was an absolute savior for me during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. This 21-day walking meditation series celebrates Black stories and the lessons of our ancestors to provide guidance and inspiration during these uncertain and dynamic times. There are currently five seasons where you will hear about both well-known and lesser-known stories honoring Black history. And it’s a great excuse to get your heart pumping with a daily walk!
  1. A more heavy but equally powerful offering that I recently watched is, Race, the second episode in Hulu’s six-part docu-series, which is an expansion of “The 1619 Project” created by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine. “Race” examines the construct of race as a political invention created to justify the economic exploitation of African people during slavery and promote white supremacy, while tracing the impact this has had on Black women’s bodies and reproductive lives.
  1. Zora Neale Hurston is one of my favorite authors whose writing I find beautifully tantalizing. Mules and Men and Their Eyes Were Watching God are my top recommendations, although I don’t think you can go wrong with anything in Zora Neale Hurston’s collection.
  1. I’m excited to dive into a new book that recently arrived, Afrikan Wisdom: New Voices Talk Black Liberation, Buddhism, and Beyond. This is a collection of 34 essays written by an eclectic and inspirational group of Black thought leaders and teachers who reflect on the unique and multilayered experience of being Black in the world today.