By Gayatri Patnaik and Christian Coleman | 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.
7 posts from February 2023
By Sheryll Cashin | As a daughter of civil rights activists from Alabama who knew Dr. King personally, it is a great honor to address you today for a Sunrise Celebration of him! And it is a joy for me, as a writer, to address librarians. I want to begin by thanking you for your service, for what you do to bring books and truth for free to the masses!
The Sunshine Pearl-Clutching Brigade is back on their BS and doubling down. Under Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida banned a new AP African American Studies course under the pretense that it’s “indoctrination” that “runs afoul of [their] standards.” This is almost a year after the Florida legislature banned the teaching of “the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory” with the Stop WOKE Act. It’s giving unwoke on numerous levels.
By Remica Bingham-Risher | For a long time, I was making a list in my head of the writers who changed me, the ones I had to meet. I started planning too late and missed James Baldwin, who died when I was six. I hadn't yet been gobsmacked by his short story “Sonny’s Blues” then, but read my way through his whole milieu my freshman year of college. I met Toni Morrison (thank goodness) but didn’t get to ask her questions, flanked as she was by other booklovers. Who I regret missing the most is August Wilson, as lines from “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” and “Jitney” still wake me up some nights.
A Q&A with Jasmine Brown | In college, I dreamed of becoming a physician and a national leader who would make a positive impact in many people’s lives. But I was acutely aware of how few Black women there were in senior positions within the medical field, such as the dean of a medical school or chair of a medical department. Black women physicians are even underrepresented at the level of professorship in many medical schools. So, I worried that my career would be severely restricted by a glass ceiling imposed upon me due to my race and gender.
A Q&A with Gayle Wald | It’s fantastic to see Tharpe getting all kinds of recognition, especially from young people and artists like Lizzo. I should also say that there are musicians and people in the gospel world who always cherished her, so the world is catching up with them.
I initially wanted to be a writer, and I also wanted to live in New York, where many of my best friends were already living. In my last semester of college, my thesis advisor mentioned publishing as a possible day job—an industry that, of course, is also mainly based in New York. After college, I did some internships and freelance work at various New York publishers, magazines, and agencies, and then did an MFA in fiction writing at Brooklyn College, where I studied with author and editor Nathaniel Rich.