For the past two years, I’ve decided to wile away the dark months of deep winter by diving into a personal learning project for Black History Month. Elsewhere known as February.
I light candles in the fireplace, grab a blanket, and plunge into books by African Americans on less celebrated aspects of American history. Because my syllabus contains some dense reading, I try to start in mid-January at Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
Last year, I was enjoying myself so much that I extended my learning into March. Here’s what I read:
- The Hemingses of Monticello, by historian Annette Gordon-Reed, 2009.
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by freed slave, Harriet Jacobs, first published 1861
- A guide created by the Repentance Project called “An American Lent”, first published for Lent 2019
I brought my family along on the journey by watching these movies:
This year, my syllabus includes:
- “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963. My oldest daughter joined me in reading the letter in full on his birthday.
- The Color of Compromise by historian Jemar Tisby, 2019. This historical survey explores the ways the white American church has been complicit in the oppression of Black Americans.
- The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois, first published in 1903. I was taken by DuBois’ writing when I first encountered him in college, and I’ve always wanted to return to his work.
Movies we may watch as a family this year:
For those who’d like to include books on the family syllabus, here’s a list of good children’s books for Black History Month.
So, who’s in? Anyone want to join me this year?
P.S. The links above take you to copies of books that include audio versions. Listening to books is a valid a way to learn, too!