Last year in February, I committed to reading books, watching films, and engaging other mediums to honor Black History Month. I read and watched some amazing stuff, and have continued to pursue learning and exposure to make me more educated on race, and a better ally in anti-racist work, which I’ve come to believe is among the most crucial work that Christians in America should be up to.
This year I’m diving in again. My hope is not that you will read this and say, “Wow, Kevin is so ‘woke’, look at him!” This is an invitation, actually. Pick one or more of these things and do it with me! The best learning is done in community, and any one of these resources will be great fodder for conversation.
One thing that I’m doing differently this year is pursuing stories by black storytellers that aren’t specifically or primarily about race. Part of being anti-racist, I am learning, includes not letting racism and oppression be the only stories we allow people of color to tell. So a few of the books and many of the movies are by black authors and filmmakers, but are memoirs, or superhero movies. In this regard, I want to spend my life dismantling white supremacy by studying racism, but also by exposing myself (and those around me) to stories through non-white lenses.
I also this year am including a podcast that everyone should listen to, and “Black History Flash Cards”, a really cool product from Urban Intellectuals that allows you to learn and memorize Black history in a familiar way, to supplement our predominately white-centric historical education. Check them out here.
To that end, here is my syllabus for February and beyond:
The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race by Willie James Jennings
Rethinking Incarceration by Dominique Dubois Gilliard
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Asha Bandele and Patrisse Cullors
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
Black Panther (dir. Ryan Coogler)
Love & Basketball (dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)
Medicine For Melancholy (dir. Barry Jenkins)
The Watermelon Woman (dir. Cheryl Dunye)
Belle (dir. Amma Asante)
Black History Flashcards (Urban Intellectuals)
Seeing White Podcast (Scene on Radio)
Again, please pick one or more of these to partake in this month, and let me know! We can get lunch or coffee or Facetime about it.
Peace, and happy Black History Month.