Black History Month Reading List

In commemoration of Black History Month, Better Manchester’s contributing writers have compiled a list of articles, novels, poems and more that celebrate black voices & honor the spirit of Black History Month.

Have something you’d like included on our reading list? Let us know in the comments what materials you think capture the spirit & heart of Black History Month.

Black Joy Poetry Contest
Various Authors (Better Manchester Magazine)

“The Black Joy Poetry Contest was created through a partnership between the Department of Race & Equity and the Town of Manchester’s Neighborhoods & Families Division, and it offered Manchester students grades K-12 the opportunity to submit a poem based around the theme of ‘Black being joyful, beautiful, excellent, brilliant, magical, powerful & necessary!’”

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates

“In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?”

Call Us What We Carry
Amanda Gorman

“Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.”

Remembering Our Black Veterans
James Costa (Better Manchester Magazine)

“As Veterans Day approaches, the collective American zeitgeist shifts its focus to honor its fallen soldiers, commemorate their sacrifices and look to the future improvements of the lives and conditions for veterans, active service members and their families. However, what often falls by the wayside during Veterans Day commemorations is the recognition of black veterans, as well as the unique discrimination they face across the country, both historically and in the modern day.”

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses Goes Beyond Black History Month
Jakob Lopez (Better Manchester Magazine)

“Manchester has taken many steps toward achieving a more diverse and equitable community, including through its collaboration with local grassroots organizations, its declaration of racism as a public health crisis and, most recently, its addition of the great Martin Luther King Jr. mural. As time advances I begin to wonder: is there still the same support towards our communities of color as there was this summer?”

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
Dawnie Walton

“A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock ‘n’ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom.”

The Other Black Girl
Zakiya Dalila Harris

Get Out meets The Stepford Wives in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.”

What Does Black History Mean To You?
Various Authors (Better Manchester Magazine)

“What does Black History mean to you?”

“These two words, while seemingly simple when written, carry centuries of traditions, remembrances, and memories, each unique from one individual to another. How can one person attempt to answer such a frankly loaded question… The following submitters were all given the prompt, “What does Black History mean to you?” From there, each participant explored what they themselves deemed worthy of exploring, compiling into just a sample of what Black History means to the Manchester community.”

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