Here are some resources that made an impression on us as we continue our journeys to learn about the Black experience. We hope they provide inspiration and insight.
So You Want to Talk About Race
by Ijeoma Oluo
Recommendation by Doris Zurawka
In this book, Ijeoma Oluo shares her experience with racism in America. Oluo writes, “Systemic racism is a machine that runs whether we pull the levers or not, and by just letting it be, we are responsible for what it produces. We have to actually dismantle the machine if we want to make a change . . . It is easy to think that the problem of racial oppression in the country is just too big. How on earth can we be expected to dismantle a complex system that has been functioning for over four hundred years? My answer is: piece by piece.” In her book, Oluo gives the reader steps that can be taken to help bring about change. It was really heartbreaking to read about the micro and macro aggressions that Ijeoma and her brother experienced as children and as adults.
Recommendation by Keirstin Townsend
Two-minute videos presenting American history from the Black lens. I’ve particularly enjoyed following this account to incorporate ongoing education into my daily routine. The topics covered are always relevant to current events, adding additional context to the history that is being written in front of us. I’ve tried to follow up each of these short videos with additional reading about the events and cases presented.
USA Today article
Ruby Bridges was 6 when she walked into a segregated school. Now she teaches children to get past racial differences.
Recommendation by Gwyn Cready
Ruby Bridges is familiar to us as the little girl in the famous 1960 AP photo (shown here) who is being escorted to school by federal agents as part of school desegregation in New Orleans. In this US Today article, the now 65-year-old Bridges talks about what it was like to be attend school as not only the only Black child in her classroom, but for many months, as the only child in her classroom, after white parents refused to let their children attend with her. Bridges has spent her adult life teaching children how to get past racial differences. I am always disheartened to think about the people who protested Bridges attendance, including, Bridges reports, people who shouted obscenities and others who carried a Black doll in a child’s coffin around the school while Bridges attended class. Worse, I know that there are people who would protest the same thing today. I admire Bridges for turning something awful into a positive force for change.