For this year’s Black History Month feature, the Loeb D&I Academy would like to spotlight literature, music, documentaries and artists chosen by our Black@Loeb and ACED partners.
- Black Futures by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham is an anthology of what it looks like to be Black and alive right now. Drew and Wortham have brought together this collection of work—images, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry and more—to tell the story of the radical, imaginative, provocative and gorgeous world that Black creators are bringing forth today. Readers will go from conversations with activists and academics to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful essays to dazzling paintings and insightful infographics. You can find the book available for purchase here.
- The Black Book is a celebration of Black culture. Since its original printing in 1974, The Black Book remains a breathtaking testament to the legendary wisdom, strength and perseverance of Black men and women intent on freedom. The Black Book features transcripts from fugitive slaves’ trials and proclamations by Frederick Douglass and celebrated abolitionists, as well as chilling images of cross burnings and lynchings, patents registered by Black inventors throughout the early 20th century and vibrant posters from “Black Hollywood” films of the 1930s and 1940s. The Black Book honors the past, reminding us where our nation has been, and gives flight to our hopes for what is yet to come. The anniversary edition is available here.
- In Search of The Color Purple by Salamishah Tillet is a new release published in January 2021. Alice Walker made history in 1982 when she became the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Color Purple. Published in the Reagan era amid a backlash to civil rights, the Jazz Age novel tells the story of racial and gender inequality through the life of a 14-year-old girl from Georgia who is haunted by domestic and sexual violence. Prominent academic and activist Salamishah Tillet combines cultural criticism, history and memoir to explore Walker’s novel and shows how it has influenced and been informed by the zeitgeist. The Color Purple received both praise and criticism upon publication, and the conversation it sparked around race and gender still continues today. In Search of The Color Purple is a bold work from an important public intellectual and captures Alice Walker’s seminal role in rethinking sexuality, intersectional feminism, and racial and gender politics. The book is available here and here.
- Acclaimed novelist, essayist and playwright James Baldwin was one of the more influential voices of the 20th century. His 1953 semiautobiographical novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, helped establish Baldwin as a provocative figure in topics ranging from civil rights to sexual identity. To get a feel for what moved Baldwin musically, a Spotify playlist of 484 songs has been curated from the vinyl records found at Baldwin’s home after his death in 1987. Featuring Nina Simone, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and others, the playlist can be found here.
- The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 is a 2011 documentary film that maps interviews of the people and music of the Black Power movement in American society as viewed through Swedish journalists and filmmakers. It features footage of the movement in America between 1967 and 1975, with appearances by Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, and other activists, artists and leaders central to the movement. You can find the documentary here.
- I Am Not Your Negro is a 2016 documentary film based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards and won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary. It is available on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
We encourage you to explore the works of Black artists, including:
- Romare Bearden, a prominent artist of the 20th century who depicted aspects of Black culture in a Cubist style.
- Jacob Lawrence, whose highly acclaimed series The Migration of the Negro portrays the migration of more than a million African Americans from the South to industrial cities in the North.
- Faith Ringgold, a painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, writer, teacher and lecturer known for innovative quilted narrations that communicate her political beliefs.
- Kerry James Marshall, artist and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient whose work explores the modern Black existence.
- Howardena Pindell, a painter and mixed media artist whose political message expressed in her art addresses the intersecting issues of racism, feminism, violence, slavery and exploitation.