There is always much to view and read during any Black History Month. However, I seem to have had more than my fair share of relevant articles and programming come across my various devices, so I thought I would share a portion of it with you, dedicated readers.
Initially, let me tease out and share a portion of reading lists that should take any reader the next 11 months to complete, compliments of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. :
1. “The Conjure Woman,” by Charles W. Chesnutt
2. “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man,” by James Weldon Johnson
3. “Cane,” by Jean Toomer
4. “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” by Zora Neale Hurston
5. “Native Son,” by Richard Wright
6. “Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison
7. “Mumbo Jumbo,” by Ishmael Reed
8. “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
9. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison (or “Sula,” “Song of Solomon,” or “Jazz”)
10. “At the Bottom of the River,” by Jamaica Kincaid
As you will undoubtedly note, this is a list of fiction; for non-fiction and other reading materials, as well as an in-depth interview with Gates, Jr., do check out David Remnick's interview in this special digital edition of The New Yorker.
Of course, one cannot mention Gates, Jr. without giving a hat tip to the excellent PBS series Finding Your Roots. This season is once again filled with amazing personal stories, unexpected twists, and history that is backed by rock solid receipts.
Since our Speakers' Series hosted Ann E. DeLong, a currently serving U.S. Department of State Special Assistant, I found this American Experience episode about three African-American diplomats completely eye opening.
Finally, for one of the most fascinating cultural history pieces ever to come down the celluloid pike, absolutely check out Riveted: The History of Jeans (also an American Experience episode). It weaves together African American history, the working class, and an iconic piece of clothing into an hour you should (if you are like me) not want to see end.