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Educate Yourself: A guide to literature for the #BLM era

If you’ve always been on board with the #BLM movement, or you’re new to the fight, you’re probably becoming familiar with a set of academic ideas.

While getting snippets of info from twitter about the history of civil disobedience, you may be wondering where to get all this knowledge.

You’re learning here and there that riots have always been a part of American history when it comes to civil rights and you wonder why you never realized that before.

There have been amazing threads of info on Twitter, and links to literature to help those looking to deepen their education on the issues that are at hand.

If you’re white you should know by now that it’s not your Black coworker, friend or acquaintance’s job or any Black person’s job to educate you on Black issues and history. If you’re Black and looking to get to some knowledge but don’t seem to know where to start we understand.  And wherever you fall in between that construct of a binary we got you too.

Here’s your guide of #BLM era resources for you to educate yourself.

Black History Month Library

via Charles Preston

Journalist and Activist Charles Preston keeps this link to resources open for the public. The resources include specific folders for different topics like Black Music and Black sports. The Black History Month Library dedicates Other folders to iconic and legendary leaders and individuals such as Bell Hooks, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglas, and James Baldwin. There are fun interactive resources like the Black Panther Study Guide which explores the very real research and considerations taken from history to put together the world of Wakanda.

The particularly helpful folders currently may be the Police/Prisons/Mass Incarceration folder, and the Black Communism/Marxism as well as Black Feminism/Womanism.

It might be useful to choose a folder or 2 you’d like to focus on alone or with friends. The goal is to try to not only obtain general knowledge about these important topics but also to foster discussion.

Black Women’s Resistance Toolkit in the Era of Trump

Crowdsourced by a Community of Survivors

If you’re looking for a set of resources that center Black women specifically then look no further than the ones shared by Black Women’s Blueprint.

This living document has 181 resources that look to promote healing as well as resistance with relevant literature.

Among the list of sources you’ll find academic staples in race and feminist theory. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color” by Kimberle Crenshaw is a good one.


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You’ll also be directed to contemporary literature in the form of novels, poetry, and blogposts like Memoirs Of A Black Queer Revolutionary Mother.

Anything James Baldwin

If you’ve seen the film I am Not Your Negro and felt inspired to pick up Baldwin’s literature get ready to be flooded with beautiful prose and biting historical commentary.

Baldwin’s works are essential when learning about the civil rights movement. They’re also extremely useful in understanding the systemic issues that are ongoing. Many of his essays are a necessary first-person account of life as a Black man during that time. It may come to a surprise to you (or not) that much of what he speaks of has not changed in our current world.

Some recommendations are “The Fire Next Time” to get a good understanding of who Baldwin was. And “Go Tell It on a Mountain” is a fictional novel but very much a commentary on race, sex, class, identity, and the American ghetto.

Some Ta-Nehisi Coates

To bring in a contemporary perspective, we’d recommend checking out writer, journalist, and activist Ta-Nehisi Coates. The Case for Reparations published in the Atlantic in June 2014 is a well researched and organized explanation of Black U.S. history, Black struggle and you guessed it the case for reparations.

For a personal story on being a Black man in America read or listen to Between the World and Me. Coates is also the latest writer for the Black Panther comics.

All of Angela Davis  

Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, philosopher, academic, and author. The academic world uses her books and literary works as texts for intersectional feminism and race theory. Here are a few links to free pdfs of her work:

The legendary Women Race & Class

The very relevant Are Prisons Absolete?

And perhaps an interview with Angela Davis in Globalism and the prison industrial complex

NoName’s Book Club

If you’d like some more discussion in your reading, try reading with NoName’s Book Club.

The artist with amazing lyricism and storytelling skills brings her political knowledge to fans and comrades looking to educate themselves. That could be you, so pick up a book and check out the discussion with peers.

Furthermore, you’re bound to learn something and perhaps the literature will inform your activism to organize smarter and affect change in your community.