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Use history as your guide as we examine our Hopes & Fears

Hopes & Fears, additional reading

As our first two  Hopes & Fears, Conversations for Healing have shown, the virtual kitchen table spans many generations. The leaders of those discussions are frequently our beloved Elders. This month, our additional readings, films and multimedia projects focus on history. 

Our elders have lived the history we study today. Through our Hopes & Fears series, we explore the state of our nation, injustice and systematic racism, and its impact on the Black community.  

Members of the CGCC faculty have curated some books, podcasts, websites and documentaries focused on Black students to help extend the conversation beyond our monthly series.

Books

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi -- Kendi examines anti–Black racist ideas and their power over the course of American history. Through five major American intellectuals, Kendi looks at the debates between assimilationists and segregationists, racists and anti-racists.

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston (NPR review) According to NPR, “The eye-opening, terrifying and wonderful Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo," a posthumous, previously unpublished nonfiction work by Zora Neale Hurston, demonstrates an intimacy and immediacy that (first-hand accounts of slavery told through interviewers) lack. Hurston writes the story of Oluale Kossula, who was captured at the age of 19 in West Africa and brought to America as a captive on Clotilda, the last ship to sail as part of the transatlantic slave trade.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois: DuBois’s collection of essays published in 1903 are an affirmation that it is beneath the dignity of humans to beg for the rights that are inherent to all mankind. In the essays, he also says the accommodation policy advocated by Booker T. Washington would only continue to perpetuate Black oppression. 

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need. One of his first cases was to aid Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit.  Just Mercy was released as a film in December 2019 starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington: A history of America’s mistreatment of Black Americans as unwilling and unwitting medical experiment subjects. Medical Apartheid looks at the earliest encounters of Black Americans and medical researchers to the racist pseudoscience that resulted from this experimentation.

The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America  by Shawn D. Rochester: The financial cost of conscious and unconscious anti-black discrimination creates a financial burde on Black American households that deeply reduces their ability to leave an inheritance or support for future generations. 

Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Dr. King’s legendary statement against social injustice written while in jail in Birmingham, Alabama, this forceful statement was the push for the March on Washington. 

Documentaries

The Racial Wealth Gap Explained (Netflix/YouTube): Senator Cory Booker and clothes discuss how slavery, housing discrimination and centuries of inequality have created a racial wealth gap,

The Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution (PBS): This is the first feature-length documentary about the Black Panther Party, it’s impact on American culture, the political awakening of Black Amerians and the issues when the movement falls apart.

LA92 (Netflix): Using stark footage, the film examines decades of police brutality and the public outcry and riots that erupted after four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of beating Rodney King in 1992. 

Free Angela and all political prisoners (TubiTV):  This film looks at professor Angela Davis, whose social activism implicated her in a botched kidnapping attempt and her subsequent placement on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

Why Did Europeans Enslave Africans? (Danielle Bainbridge) Why were most slaves in America from West Africa? Slavery has existed throughout history in various forms across the globe, but who became enslaved was almost always based on military conquest. So why did Europeans travel thousands of miles to enslave people from a particular geographic region? 

Is Racism Over Yet? (Lacy Green Youtube): In this video, Laci Green talks about the nature of racism in 2015. Wealth disparities and housing, education, employment, mass incarceration, racial profiling, and police brutality are all touched upon.

TED Talk

Does Racism Affect How You Vote? (Nate Silver Youtube):  Nate Silver has data that answers big questions about race in politics. For instance, in the 2008 presidential race, did Obama's skin color actually keep him from getting votes in some parts of the country? Stats and myths collide in this fascinating talk that ends with a remarkable insight. 

The Atlantic slave trade: What too few textbooks told you (Anthony Hazard): While slavery has occurred in many forms around the world, the transatlantic slave trade that brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas has had a longlasting legacy.
 

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