WITS celebrates and uplifts the voices of Black authors and creators year-round. In honor of Black History Month (BHM) 2022, here is a list of readings, resources, and ways to support anti-racism initiatives in your schools and communities. Be sure to check out the WITS blog for further book suggestions and anti-racism resources.
Short on time? Anti-Racism Daily (ARD) has made it super easy to familiarize yourself with Black history in only five minutes a day. Sign up for 28 Days of Black History, or catch up on the archive. If you have more time and energy on your hands, check out 6 Actionable Ways to Celebrate Black History Month, also from ARD. MasterClass is also offering a three-part class – Black History, Black Freedom, and Black Love – free of charge during Black History Month.
Ask yourself – How Are Libraries Recognizing Black History Month? As Book Riot points out, “Libraries can celebrate BHM with displays, events, and more — but it won’t mean much if the library isn’t a safe place for Black people.” Enclosed are some tips on how to facilitate brave spaces for meaningful conversations about race in a library or classroom.
In the learning plan Prioritize Black Mental Health and Self-care, Learning for Justice (LFJ) advocates: “Current events may be hard to grapple with as multiple historically Black colleges and universities faced bomb threats, Minneapolis police fatally shot Amir Locke, and many states and districts continue to ban teaching inclusive books and talking about race. Amidst these aggressions, we want to remind Black educators to practice self-care—and all educators to elevate the importance of Black students’ experiences and their mental health.” LFJ also reminds us to Teach Beyond Trauma This Black History Month. Be sure to spend some time with the wonderful resources they have provided!
Black History Month TBRs (to-be-reads!)
- 33 Books by Contemporary Black Authors (Penguin Random House)
- Ten Nonfiction Books Written By and About African Americans
- Celebrate Black History Month With These Romances (Book Riot)
- Celebrating Black History with Eight Biographies: All year, our program team has the distinct pleasure of learning along with our students by enjoying stories of figures like trombonist Melba Liston, urban farmer Will Allen, and DJ Kool Herc. In honor of Black History Month, here are eight biographies of Black heroes that our students have been enjoying this school year.
- Banned Books Week 2021: Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us: Educate yourself on the history of book banning and how it limits the free and open access to information, and upholds violent systems of oppression.
- Social Justice in the Classroom: How Teachers Inspire Students to be Heroes: A social justice classroom is one that is critical in nature, thus, we should be constantly encouraging students to question the world around them as well as the schools they attend.
At WITS, we believe that READING MATTERS. It will always build community, it will always empower learners of all ages, and it will always be a source of consistency in a time of uncertainty. Happy Black History Month, we hope you enjoy celebrating with us!