Deeper Insights: Resources For Black History Month

Juneteenth 2020 March in Dallas, TX

In 2021, DRIVEN’s look at Black History Month will include a rich collection of mostly current resources on black identity and the subject of diversity for you to discover and immerse yourself in. The goal is to explore these concepts through the lens of our unique racial moment in time.

Take this journey with us, starting with the outstanding resource that started it all: The ASALH (The Association for the Study of African American Life and History). Follow our link to their 2021 Black History Month schedule of virtual festival events. Then, supplement your studies with the following essential media related to the modern black experience. Additional media will be added to this lagniappe each Tuesday throughout February 2021:


To Read:

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America 1619-2019, by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table, by Minda Harts (August 2019)

Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson (August 2020)

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

So You Want To Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo (January 2018)

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo (June 2018)

The 1619 Project, The New York Times Magazine (August 2019)

What Is Owed, The New York Times Magazine (June 2020)


Additional Resources for Reading:

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh (2010): A compelling PDF article from The Wellesley Centers For Women illustrating the daily effects of white privilege.

The Racism Scale: Where Do You Fall?, from Here’s a simple yet revealing spectrum of racial mindset to get your introspective and empathetic wheels turning. Digest this graphic alongside the Racism Triangle.

5 Things You Need To Stop Saying If You Really Care About Fighting Racism, by Kelly Gonsalves: This article gives some helpful insight on the hurtful racial copouts commonly uttered by well-meaning people, and offers alternatives that express solidarity.


To Watch:

A Ballerina’s Tale (2015): A documentary examining race and body image in the elite ballet world with the rise of African-American ballerina Misty Copeland. She was the first principal dancer at New York’s American Ballet Theater. For ages 9 and older. Stream or buy on Amazon.

42 (2013): The inspiring biopic about the two years in which Jackie Robinson broke the sports color barrier in Major League Baseball. Families can expect to hear many uses of the “N word” and other racial slurs, and the movie has serious racial themes. Best for ages 11 and older. Watch on Netflix.

Loving (2016): This is the story of Richard and Mildred Loving whose interracial marriage would end with an historic 1967 Supreme Court decision. Because of their interracial marriage, the couple are arrested, roughed up, insulted and booted from their home. Families can expect to hear the “N word” and the word “bastard” in reference to one of their children. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Stream or buy on Amazon.

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (2008): The Scholastic Storybook DVD includes narrations with book images and archival photographs from four children’s books. The first two focus on Martin Luther King Jr., a third looks at Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. The final one examines how a slave mailed himself to freedom. Recommended for ages 4 and older. Stream or buy Amazon.

Small Axe (Nov–Dec 2020): An Amazon Prime collection of five original films set from the late ‘60s to the mid ’80s that tell personal stories from London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination.

13th (2016): In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.

I Am Not Your Negro (2017): Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book, this visual essay explores racism through the stories of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

The Look (2019), a film by Proctor & Gamble: Uses historical references and contemporary stories as an educational tool to highlight the bias experienced by black men in America.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): This classic American drama film based on the novel by Harper Lee, and starring Gregory Peck, has the kind of staying power that keeps it relevant and shocking beyond its period. If you missed it during your school years, it’s never too late to witness the brilliance.


Podcasts & Interviews:

Nice White Parents, a New York Times Podcast Series: If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents.

Seeing White, a podcast series from “Scene on Radio”: Host and producer John Biewen and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika consider where the notion of whiteness came from in this moment of renewal for undisguised white identity politics.

Come Through with Rebecca Carroll, a WNYC Studios Podcast: Listen to 15 essential conversations about race with great thinkers, writers and artists about faith, representation, white fragility, and how it was all playing out during last year’s election cycle.

Heels of Justice: Listen to the stories of women lawyers who are trailblazers in their field and paved the way for the rest of us. Start with their interview with Maja Hazell, the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at White & Case.

Fresh Air episode interviewing Heather McGee, author of The Sum of Us. McGee discusses how when devious public policies, disinvestment and other racist steps are taken in order to put people of color at a disadvantage in our society, the result has historically been decreased wealth and quality of life for everyone.

Celebrating Black History Month With National Public Radio: It’s the motherload of relevant and compelling discussions about some of the most essential figures and events in African American culture, past and present.

Code Switch: This NPR podcast about race has compiled a Black History Month playlist that covers conversations about the hidden heroes and buried history of Black America. Expect to find powerful discussions on everything from sports activism, to the Black Panther Party, to one woman’s fight for respect that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Feedspot Resource for the Top 15 Black History Podcasts to Follow in 2021: Among the most relevant are The Nod (which tells the stories of Black life that don’t get told anywhere else), The Stoop (about blackness, race, and identity in America), In Black America (a nationally syndicated program dedicated to all facets of the African American experience), and The Pan African Alliance (from an all Black organization with members from across the African continent and diaspora).


Reports, TED Talks, a Debate, and a Cultural Experience:

Death By 1,000 Cuts, by Hedwig Lee and Margaret Takako Hicken: This PubMed Central socio-medical report on the effects of dealing with racial bias on a daily basis is somewhat academic but remains an essential and eye-opening read for all of us.

Let’s Get to the Root of Racial Injustice, a TEDx Talk by Megan Ming Francis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington: In this inspiring and powerful talk, Megan Francis traces the root causes of our current racial climate to their core causes, debunking common misconceptions and calling out “fix-all” cures to a complex social problem.

The Little Problem I Had Renting A House: In this TEDx Talk, James A. White Sr. tells the powerful story about his lived experience of “everyday racism” during his time as a Black American in the US Air Force and how it echoes today in the way he’s had to teach his grandchildren to interact with police.

Love Is The Antibody, a TEDx Talk on criminal justice reform by Halim Flowers: After being labeled a “Superpredator” and sentenced to 40 years in prison at the age of 16, Halim Flowers shares how through the dynamic power of love he could imagine a future beyond the confines of a cage and overcome the petty social constructs that divide us. Halim authored 11 books while serving time, mentored incarcerated youths through D.C.’s Young Men Emerging program, and co-founded Unchained Media Collective, which tells the stories of currently or formerly incarcerated people.

The James Baldwin/William F. Buckley Debate (1965): Now watchable in its entirety on Youtube, this famous debate on race between two politically-opposed 20th-century intellectuals presages contemporary divisive debates in the US today. A real thinker, and a must-watch.

The National Memorial For Peace & Justice, Montgomery, Alabama: Visit the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.