Necessary Reading: 6 Pieces of Writing by Black Writers, Activists, & Experts

Read with us! 📚 Today, we’re sharing six eye-opening pieces of writing from Black writers, activists, and experts.

We’ve found their work, their ideas, and their words informative and moving. We hope that you'll join us in reading them.

Leather tag with quote by Jeffery Robinson

America has existed longer with slavery than without it.

“First as colonies and then as a nation, America has existed longer with slavery (1619-1865: 246 years) than without it (1865-2019: 154 years). . . The first 100 of the 154 years without slavery were characterized by socially mandated and legally enforced white supremacy. There were 4,075 lynchings between 1877 and 1950 (an average of a little over one lynching every week).” — Jeffery Robinson in “America, It Is Time to Talk About Reparations” for the ACLU. 

Leather tag with quote by Ibram X. Kendi

There are only two choices: Racist or anti-racist.

“History is calling the future from the streets of protest. What choice will we make? What world will we create? What will we be? There are only two choices: racist or anti-racist.” — Ibram X. Kendi in “The American Nightmare” for The Atlantic. 

Leather tag with quote by John Blake

Why are Black men still so feared in 2020?

“Why are black men still so feared in 2020? And what will it take for it to stop?” — John Blake in “There's one epidemic we may never find a vaccine for: fear of black men in public spaces” for CNN. 

Leather tag with quote by Osita Nwanevu

We record by taping over.

“This is how public memory tends to work — we record by taping over. Certain snippets of the past are always accessible — 1776, 1865, 1968 — but all else is erased to make room for the infinite present. There’s no telling, really, what we might do as a country if we were willing and able to take in everything in full — if we could review the whole sweep of what we are and have been. But more police precincts would probably be set ablaze.” — Osita Nwanevu in “The Deep Amnesia of Our National Conscience” for The New Republic. 

Leather tag with quote by Roxane Gay

For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.

“Eventually, doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait, despite the futility of hope, for a cure for racism. We will live with the knowledge that a hashtag is not a vaccine for white supremacy. We live with the knowledge that, still, no one is coming to save us. The rest of the world yearns to get back to normal. For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.” — Roxane Gay in “Remember, No One Is Coming to Save Us” for The New York Times. 

Leather tag with quote by Tressie McMillan Cottom

Only time will tell whether this moment is really different.

“Only time will tell whether this moment is really different, or whether black Americans have merely thirsted for so long that we are drinking sand. The United States has the remarkable ability to reconstitute old oppressions from the ashes of social movements.” — Tressie McMillan Cottom in “It Really Is Different This Time” for Politico. (This piece comprises responses by two dozen experts to the question: What’s really different this time around?) 

P. S. Here are five ways to stand with the Black community in the fight against white supremacy, systemic racism, and violence against Black bodies and Black lives.

June 16, 2020 — Jess Bolluyt