Looking for ways to honor Black History Month? Here’s a list of resources (including podcasts, movies, and books) to help you learn important history and see things from a new perspective.
Podcasts are a great way to educate yourself while you commute, exercise, or cook dinner. Here are a few we recommend adding to your library.
- Black History for White People
#BHforWP exists to educate white people about Black history and challenge them to take an active role in the ongoing fight for racial justice. The podcast tackles topics like mass incarceration, cultural appropriation, gentrification, and more. Brad Wygle and Gerin St. Clair, the podcast’s creators, told Spectrum News they hope sharing an authentic account of history will “encourage white listeners to love the Black and brown neighbors around them.”
- The African Americans in Sport Podclass
Drs. Alvin Logan, Brandon Crooms, and Langston Clark have created a space for expert guests to share unique insight into the African American sporting experience. Every episode functions as a class, and each season lasts a semester. The Podclass episodes address topics like Black athletes and mental health, how the media portrays Black athletes, and more.
- The African American Studies Podcast at Princeton University
The Department of African American Studies at Princeton produces a podcast that “acts as a conversation around the field of African American Studies and the Black experience in the 21st century.” The hosts investigate how politics, economic theory and policy, and culture have shaped (and are still shaping) our understanding of race in America.
Movies aren’t just a form of entertainment; they can also teach us and challenge us to see things from a new perspective. Here are five great picks for you to watch.
The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was the Union Army’s first African American regiment in the Civil War. Edward Zwick’s 1989 film Glory tells their story. The movie stars Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher, Matthew Broderick, and Cary Elwes, and it was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning three.
David Oyelowo stars as Martin Luther King Jr. in this historical drama about the Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights. The film received multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, and it won Best Original Song at the Oscars.
- Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures tells the story of how Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) helped the United States win the Space Race. These brilliant African American women helped send John Glenn into orbit (and helped him land safely) while working at NASA. It was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
- Just Mercy
Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive of the Equal Justice Initiative, has spent his life fighting racial injustice in courts around the country. Just Mercy is based on a book of the same name and shows some of Stevenson’s early work. Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx star.
The 13th amendment is known as the “Abolition of Slavery,” but Ava Duvernay’s documentary examines how racial injustice didn’t stop there. The film centers on the fact that United States prisons are disproportionately filled with African American men and women.
Whether it’s a science fiction novel or a collection of poems, books can open up new worlds or points of view. These three African American authors wrote iconic works that can teach us, challenge us, and uplift us.
- Octavia E. Butler | Parable of the Sower
This 1993 novel follows Lauren Olamina, the daughter of a preacher, who lives inside a safe, gated community while the world outside is in total anarchy. Climate change and economic turmoil have thrown California into chaos in the early 2020s, and in this world where people will do anything to survive, vulnerability and caring could prove deadly. Lauren is hyper-empathetic, meaning she must figure out how to navigate a harsh world with what many people perceive as a weakness. The book provides commentary about social inequality, religion, hope, and more.
- Maya Angelou | I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
There are few writers more famous than Maya Angelou, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (perhaps her most famous work) is widely considered a masterpiece. This memoir confronts the racism and childhood trauma she faced and reveals how her love of literature and her strong spirit helped her heal.
- Langston Hughes | The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes is one of the most accomplished poets to ever live, and this book contains all the poems he published during his lifetime, 868 of them over a five-decade span. Hughes’ life and written works saw him become one of the primary leaders of the Harlem Renaissance.