In her compelling Boston Globe article “Celebrating Black History Month as Black History Is Being Erased,” Renée Graham writes that Black History Month this year has a specific purpose and burden, “and that burden is not for Black people to bear alone.” The challenge, Graham notes, “is to save this crucial American history from being eroded book by book, law by law, and state by state.” We couldn’t agree more.
In that spirit, and in response to Tyre Nichols’s death and in protest against the relentless right-wing onslaught against teaching Black history in schools in Florida and elsewhere, we’re offering this free eBook bundle of titles on Black resistance and Black liberation. It includes seven essential Black thinkers and activists whose work always—but in these times especially—is simply compulsory reading.
“In a time of endless war, with democracy in full retreat, I argue that we must chart pathways toward equality for all people by digging deep into the past and rediscovering the ideas of Emancipation Day lecturers, Mexicano newspaper editors, abolitionists, Latin American revolutionaries, and Black anti-imperialists who dreamed of democratic ways of living in the Americas.”
“Although it largely defies uniformity, African American women’s history is marked by the ways that we have marched forward, against all odds, to effect sustained change, individually, locally, and nationally.”
—Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
“This moment presents the opportunity to take action toward a culture of caring and policies of caring. . . The care-based approach asks how do we care for ourselves and each other so that we all can be safe. A new care-based model of safety can replace deprivation, suspicion, punishment, and isolation with resources, relationships, accountability, and participation, what taken together I call a ‘culture of care.’”
“The Black radical imagination is not a kind of dream state conjured and nurtured independent of the day-to-day struggles on the ground but rather is forged in collective movements. We cannot divorce critical analysis from social movements.”
—Robin D. G. Kelley
“All Black movements for liberation have centered the need for Black pride again, as an act of active defiance. Black pride in this context is a response to white supremacist cultures and ideologies of devaluation, denigration, and Othering. It encourages us to celebrate our heritage, our features, and history. It makes us feel good about being Black.”
“In the stories of these people, I see the depth and breadth of Black America. I see our pain and our promise. I see our struggle and our victory. I see our humanity, and I can only hope that readers will see it as well.”
“Each of us has a role in the work of movement building and must assume that responsibility. As we amass freedoms and experience collective liberation, which I believe is possible, we cannot recycle the master’s tools, systems, or thinking. The movement must commit to leadership development, healing justice, and combating liberalism through principled struggle.”
—Charlene A. Carruthers
We start offering this bundle on the day of Dream Defenders’ Can’t Ban Us Day of Action. At 12PM EST on February 23, thousands of students across Florida will be walking out and organizing Black Studies teach-ins to demonstrate their support and solidarity for each other in the affirmation that, no matter what DeSantis does, Black communities and Black history will not be banned and will not be erased.
Join in by clicking Dream Defenders’ Action Support link and download their toolkit to get an idea of the exciting range of solidarity actions that your organization, campus, labor union, faith-based group, museum, senior center, etc., can engage in to uphold democracy!
About the Authors
Gayatri Patnaik is the director of Beacon Press. Previously an editor at both Palgrave Macmillan and Routledge, she has been at Beacon Press over twenty years and has published authors including Imani Perry, Cornel West, Kate Bornstein, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Jeanne Theoharis. She acquires in US History, with a focus on African American History and race/ethnicity/immigration, and began Beacon’s award-winning “ReVisioning History” series. Gayatri occasionally signs memoir, began Beacon’s LGBTQ series, “Queer Action/Queer Ideas,” (edited with Michael Bronski) and developed books in “The King Legacy,” with Joanna Green, in a series about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Follow her on Twitter at @.
Christian Coleman is the digital marketing manager at Beacon Press and editor of Beacon Broadside. Before joining Beacon, he worked in writing, copy editing, and marketing positions at Sustainable Silicon Valley and Trikone. He graduated from Boston College and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Follow him on Twitter at @.