We firmly believe that Black History Month should not be relegated to just one month per year, but rather that we should support, celebrate, and uplift black artists and writers all year long. Some of the most compelling and important works of art have been created by black folx. NASW-CA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee put their heads together and came up with a few lists that we recommend our members take the time to read, watch, and take in. This list is by no means exhaustive, and are just recommendations. We know that there are many other works of art that we didn’t include below, but that are worthy of mention and praise nonetheless.
The following entries are just some examples of works of art that have moved us, awoken us to little known figures in history, and illuminated just how much black people have been an integral part to American history, despite being written out of many history books.
Toni Morrison: One of the most prolific and honored writers in world history. Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved (1987); she gained worldwide recognition when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.
N. K. Jemisin, the three books of her Broken Earth series made her the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years or for all three novels in a trilogy. The first novel, The Fifth Season won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making her the first African-American writer to win a Hugo award in that category.
Octavia Butler: she became in 1995 the first science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Her whole body of work is amazing. Most popular series include Seed to Harvest and Earthseed series; Kindred has been made into a graphic novel.
Nnedi Okorafor: Afro-futurism author for children and adults. The Binti Trilogy Series was the winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
Victor LaValle: Known for short story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus, and novels Changeling and the Ballad of Black Tom.
Podcast with Terri Gross: Victor LaValle on Mental Illness, Monsters, Survival
History and Culture:
National Museum of African American History & Culture – View virtual exhibitions, online collection and digital resources.
PBS Guide to Black History Month – Website: https://www.pbs.org/articles/2021/02/celebrate-black-history-month-2021/
Genealogy Research Sessions: Staff members show visitors how to research their family histories using online databases including Ancestry Library Edition, FamilySearch.org and Fold3.com. Visitors can begin their genealogy research, while those with more experience can receive additional guidance. All sessions are currently being held virtually. Visitors may schedule a virtual session by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
If there are any books, films, or shows that you’d like to see us highlight, we welcome any and all suggestions. Please email us at email@example.com!