Just like that I got another list of literary goodies waiting for you to add to you bookshelves. As always I have a nice mix for you, everything ranging from fantasy fiction to LGBTQ stories to illustrated history, and much more! And as you peruse the list make sure you also support your local bookstores!
Check out February’s List below:
Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People ~Kekla Magoon
Stone and Steel ~Eboni Dunbar
Rootless ~Krystle Zara Appiah
The Trayvon Generation ~Elizabeth Alexander
Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen ~George McCalman
Decent People ~De’Shawn Charles Winslow
A Ruin of Shadows ~L.D. Lewis
Trouble the Saints ~Alaya Dawn Johnson
And remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s list and past recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~Harriet Tubman
February 6th, 2023– “Expanding the Archive & Classroom: Channeling Blackness, Comics and the Speculative”, UVA Wise-Black History Month Lecture Series (Register to Watch Here)
February 7th, 2023- Suffolk Discovers + Black and Super Live Talks: Afrofuturism with Dr. Grace Gipson [IN-PERSON + LIVE] (Register Here for Zoom)
*March 17-18, 2023-The Past Into The Future: Afrofuturism & Ancient Egypt [Featured Speaker], Berkeley Center for New Media [BCNM]-UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA), Free to Attend, For More Info
March 25th, 2023- “Imagining a World of Possibilities Through Comics and Graphic Novels” [Keynote Speaker], Friends of the Library Presents-CulpeperCon 2023– Culpeper County Library (Culpeper, VA), Free to Attend
Today marks the first day of Black History Month 2023!!
This year’s theme as designed by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is “Black Resistance”! Oh how appropriate!! As noted on the ASALH website:
African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings since our arrival upon these shores. These efforts have been to advocate for a dignified self-determined life in a just democratic society in the United States and beyond the United States political jurisdiction. The 1950s and 1970s in the United States was defined by actions such as sit-ins, boycotts, walk outs, strikes by Black people and white allies in the fight for justice against discrimination in all sectors of society from employment to education to housing. Black people have had to consistently push the United States to live up to its ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Systematic oppression has sought to negate much of the dreams of our griots, like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and our freedom fighters, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Septima Clark, and Fannie Lou Hamer fought to realize. Black people have sought ways to nurture and protect Black lives, and for autonomy of their physical and intellectual bodies through armed resistance, voluntary emigration, nonviolence, education, literature, sports, media, and legislation/politics. Black led institutions and affiliations have lobbied, litigated, legislated, protested, and achieved success.
And to get your month started check out these few facts about the annual celebration of Black History Month!!
Black History Month recognizes All African American Experiences!!
Check out this video of the man behind this annual celebration, Carter G. Woodson:
Black History Month became nationally recognized officially in 1976
The United States and Canada celebrate Black history in February, while the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands honor it during the month of October.
Before it was established as a month long celebration, Black History Month Began as Negro History Week!
You know me I love an opportunity to spotlight actions, programs, and moments of significance, especially those of the Black experience. So I wanted to share something that came across my “virtual” desk on yesterday, Disney Parks celebrating Black History Month with a new campaign…Reimagine Tomorrow !
Reimagine Tomorrow is meant to showcase Disney Black cast members and other workers for their role in making the parks run. First up is Lanny Smoot, Research Fellow at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) Research & Development who helped bring “The Haunted Mansion” attraction to life. Throughout his career he has obtained more than 100 patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office associated with his work (which is the most of anyone in the Walt Disney Company). Talk about a wealth of innovation!!
Check him out below as he talks about his experiences:
According to Smoot he explains, “My mindset is to create things that are fun, entertaining, often surprising and, hopefully, a bit ahead of their time.” He further notes, “At Disney, I can work on cutting edge technologies that are designed to make people happy. What’s not to like?!”
Another thing that really stuck out for me was how he continues to think about the future. Smoot shares, “We need to give young students – especially Black students and people of color – experience in these fields. The Walt Disney Company is digging deeply into this by making sure that we mentor diverse young people, and I’ve done that many times myself.”
Nothing like seeing one’s imagination play out LIVE and in LIVING COLOR!!
It is that time of the year!! And while I personally see Black History Month as an everyday conversation, I understand that for some this is not the case. With that being said, Happy Black History Month to you all!!
The celebration of Black History Month is a great time for the nation and the world to expand on the many contributions of the Black/African American experience. Established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson as “Negro History” week , Woodson wanted to make sure people understood not only the experiences but also provide an opportunity to focus on particular themes. The legacy of Negro History week, according to Woodson, was never meant “to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.” Thus, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) an organization created by Woodson would begin to explore Black History through a yearly theme. The first theme came about in 1928 and it centered around the idea of “Civilization: A World Achievement.” This year’s theme is the importance of “Black Health and Wellness”!
This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.
With this year’s theme centered on “Black Health and Wellness” (For more information about this click here!) I wanted to provide some tips and resources on making sure you are taking care of the best YOU!!
Be Kind To Yourself
Exercise…Get an accountability partner or even join a group
Keep your body hydrated
Incorporate smoothies into your diet
Take in nature…It is a great remedy for alleviating stress
Start a gratitude journal
Make sure to plenty of sleep…To go back to those naps that we took during kindergarten
Meditate…whether its 5 minutes or 30 minutes, make sure to give your brain a break
Nothing like keeping busy and enjoying it all at the same time!! And why not share with you!! Check out some of my upcoming events!! Mark your calendars!!
*February 7th, 2022 (1 pm/ET)- “Black History Month in the Workplace”, Having Tough Conversation Series-Monthly Series (Virtual Lecture) [OCOO-Office of The Chief Operating Officer]…(Washington, DC/Richmond, VA)
*February 15th, 2022 (4 pm/ET)-“The Art of Storytelling: Black Imagining of Politics and Pop Culture”, [Featured Series Speaker], Berglund Seminar Series-Virginia Commonwealth University-Honors College (Richmond, VA)…Registration TBA
*February 19th, 2022 (12:30-2 pm/ET)-“Black Women and Theories of the Future” (virtual) [Invited Panelist], Schomburg Center-Black Feminist Future series, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture-The New York Public Library (Harlem, NY)…Register Here
Join us for Black Woman and Theories of the Future, a virtual conversation detailing and discussing Black women’s cultural and academic contributions to Afrofuturism past, present, and future. The program features Dr. Susana Morris (Georgia Institute of Technology), Dr. Kinitra Brooks (Michigan State University), Dr. Esther Jones (Clark University), Dr. Tiffany Barber (University of Delaware), and Dr. Grace Gipson (Virginia Commonwealth University).
*February 23-26, 2022-
“The Future is in Her Hands: Rewriting Black Girlhood Narratives and Experiences in Comics,” 43rd Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) Conference, [Conference Presenter], (Albuquerque, NM)
“Teaching & Research with Critical Race Theory” 43rd Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) Conference [Invited Panelist], (Albuquerque, NM)
Despite the fact that Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been around for over 40 years, it appears that a lot of folks – especially those who have little understanding of what it is, its history, and how it is used (and not used) – have recently discovered it exists and have formed ill-informed opinions as to its appropriateness in education. CRT originated among diverse legal scholars and led to the development of other “branches” of CRT such as LatCrit, TribalCrit, and Asian CRT. According to the American Bar Association, “CRT challenges white privilege and exposes deficit-informed research that ignores, and often omits, the scholarship of people of color.” Parents and politicians in the United States have come out in force, disrupting school board meetings, proposing legislation, and even calling for a ban on the teaching of CRT at all levels of education, calling it “indoctrination” and divisive. This roundtable attempts to do a number of things: provide historical background regarding the development of CRT, provide context for the recent public outcry regarding its supposed use in the classroom, share ideas and resources regarding CRT in the classroom and research, and discuss attempts to impose bans or legislation that misunderstand and seek to limit the use of CRT in education and how one can respond. Participants also welcome additional experiences, ideas, resources, and strategies from folks in the audience.
“Sit back and wait to hear a slammin track…Rockin jams by popular demand, I’m back” ~Rakim, ‘Guess Who’s Back’
WE ARE BACK for another season of “Conversations with Beloved and Kindred!” And we are hyped and excited to get back to it!! Did you miss us?!! Well we missed you!!
Kicking off Black History Month, in this second season Dr. Robinson and I are looking forward to bringing you more intellectual commentary as we dive into the Horror and Thriller film genre!
In the past five years since Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out debut on Hollywood screens the genre horror has really picked up steam and garnered new audiences. But what about Black horror and thrillers specifically?? Although not a new genre it has not received the same amount of attention as other horror films. So Dr. Robinson and I want to shed light on some seminal, classic Black horror and thriller films as well as some newcomers that are worthy of your viewing!!
As noted by horror writer and educator Tananarive Due “We’ve always loved horror, it’s just that, unfortunately, horror has not always loved us”. Well we hope that with each episode we can bring to you this season we share some love and appreciation to the Blackness in horror!!
And just in case you need a little refresher or you are new to the series, Conversations with Beloved & Kindred is a web series in collaboration with the Program & Outreach Division at Auburn Avenue Research Library (Atlanta, GA) hosted by two Black feminist creatives myself Dr. Grace D. Gipson (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Dr. Kaniqua Robinson (Furman University). Through each episode, we talk about creative works (i.e. literature, film, television, and art) that are grounded in the Black experience. Following in the footsteps of two legendary women Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler, Gipson and Robinson seek to fill in the gaps of Black history by reimagining a supernatural Black past and present, while giving voice to the silenced narratives.
So stay tuned!! Mark your calendars and save the date, February 10th will be here before you know it!!