The Black Voices Project
A virtual book club uplifting black voices
welcome!
The purpose of this digital space

The Black Voices Project is a virtual Black book club and community dedicated to uplifting Black literary/creative voices through a range of mediums including books, essays, podcasts, and more! Our hope is to facilitate meaningful conversations about systemic racism and Black history while addressing current political, racial, and social issues impacting Black culture.

We will read together, learn together and grow together!

Book Selection: On the 1st of every month, ULMS will pick a text to read for the next 30 days. The text will differ each month ranging from non-fiction to fiction and even poetry. Each book selected will all focus on race, anti-racism, and/or Black culture.

Discussion Questions: We know everyone reads at their own pace. Feel free to break out into smaller groups with your friends if that makes you more comfortable! Discussion questions will be posted each month on this page and in our private Facebook group (details below) for those who would like to start a small reading circle in their workspaces or to think through personally. 

Monthly Zoom Group: During the first week of each month, there will be a live zoom discussion to cultivate conversations on the entirety of the text from the previous month’s book pick. Zoom details will be shared in the tab below!

Join the Book Club! Ready to participate in the dopest virtual Black book club ever? Head to the join section and get into the loop! 

Here you’ll find books we have scheduled to read in the coming months. Please note, this list is subject to change:

2021

  • October: “The Matter of Black Lives” by Jelani Cobb
  • November: “Black Buck by Mateo” Askaripour

2021

  • January:  “Me & White Supremacy” by Layla Saad
  • February: “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
  • March: “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
  • April: “The Hate U Give” by  Angie Thomas
  • May: “Hood Feminism” by Mikki Kendall
  • June: “The Prophets” by Robert Jones, Jr.
  • July: No Book Selection
  • August: “Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells” by Michelle Duster
  • September: “Concrete Rose” by Angie Thomas

2020

  • August: “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
  • September: “Citizen” by Claudia Rankine 
  • October: “One Person, No Vote” by Carol Anderson
  • November: “Kindred” by Octavia Butler
  • December: No Book Selection

Although Black lives have always mattered (and Black people have been dying at the hands of systemic racism long before this year), something about this moment feels different. According to the New York Times, between 15 million and 26 million people in the U.S. participated in demonstrations in the weeks following George Floyd’s murder… making this the largest movement in our country’s history.

"This is a movement; not a moment."

Join the Club!
Step one
Subscribe to our book club mailing list.

We’re excited to read with you! Once you officially subscribe to the Black Voices Project, you will get instant access to: 

  • Monthly book wrap up Zoom meeting invitation
  • Adv. notice to claim free books
  • Mini monthly newsletter 
  • Access to our private Black Voices Project Facbook group
  • Free discounts and perks for Seattle Arts & Lectures events and tickets!
Step two
Start reading!

Once you’re subscribed, we’ll reach out to you with this month’s book pick and some think questions to get you started. If you don’t have our selected book, see below for ways to read along!

Step three
Tune in to discuss!

Join us at the end of each month for our wrap-up zoom discussion! We’ll have an in depth discussion and round-table analysis of the book, it’s themes, and real world application. You can also check in with our Facebook group for real time engagement, some surprise giveaways, announcements and more!

In order to truly understand this moment and our role in it, we must know how history brought us here and make a serious commitment to amplify Black voices.

We are in the middle of a collective commitment right now, to #DoBetter, dismantle white supremacy, and fight for equity for all. It’s as if, as a nation, we have hit a boiling point and are suddenly wondering: How did we get here, and what can we do about it now?

BOOK OF THE MONTH
Here's what we're reading:

A collection of The New Yorker‘s groundbreaking writing on race in America—including work by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hilton Als, Zadie Smith, and more—with a foreword by Jelani Cobb

This anthology from the pages of the New Yorker provides a bold and complex portrait of Black life in America, told through stories of private triumphs and national tragedies, political vision and artistic inspiration. It reaches back across a century, with Rebecca West’s classic account of a 1947 lynching trial and James Baldwin’s “Letter from a Region in My Mind” (which later formed the basis of The Fire Next Time), and yet it also explores our current moment, from the classroom to the prison cell and the upheavals of what Jelani Cobb calls “the American Spring.” 

Bringing together reporting, profiles, memoir, and criticism from writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Elizabeth Alexander, Hilton Als, Vinson Cunningham, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Jamaica Kincaid, Kelefa Sanneh, Doreen St. Félix, and others, the collection offers startling insights about this country’s relationship with race. 

The Matter of Black Lives reveals the weight of a singular history, and challenges us to envision the future anew. 

Jelani Cobb has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2012, and became a staff writer in 2015. He writes frequently about race, politics, history, and culture. His most recent book is “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.” He won the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, for his columns on race, the police, and injustice. He teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

“Illuminating and powerful . . . a memorable book with a resounding message.” –Publishers Weekly 

“Immersive and engaging . . . Reading three decades of essays on this important and urgent topic, one is appalled that we know so much and have repeatedly done so little with that knowledge, as well as simultaneously hopeful and skeptical that technological solutions can save us now.” – Library Journal

A must-read. – Daily Beast

Our goal is to make these books, podcasts, poems  and conversations accessible for anyone who is willing to show up for the Black community. We know that anti-racism work doesn’t stop when the protests end. Anti-racism work is a practice! It requires intention and commitment.

“Revolution is not a one-time event.” - Audre Lorde

PREVIOUS BOOK SELECTIONS
Books We've Finished Reading

If it’s your first time here, below are some of the books we’ve read in the past and discussed together as a group!

book access
How to Read Along With Us

Don’t have a copy of our selected book? No worries! Each book is accessible digitally via the Seattle Public Library (SPL). All you need is a free library card. To get one, simply click the button below and we’ll help you get started! If you don’t have a Seattle based address, you can always get a free eCard and access the book via the King County Library System (KCLS). If all else fails, you can also check out the library’s audiobook option (also free)!

Build your library
Get a free copy of this month's book!

Owning a personal collection of books is a special opportunity each of us should have. We want to help you get started!

If you love that “new book” smell or simply enjoy the traditional flip of a real page, this one is for you! Each month, we will send the physical version of our selected book of the month to the first 10 readers who reply to our BVP monthly newsletter. If you miss your chance to claim a book, don’t worry! You can always come back next month and try again.

RESTRICTIONS: First come, first served. One book per household. 

Since the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Shaun Fuhr, Manuel Ellis, and others– race has been top of mind in our nation’s consciousness. Those around the nation are reaffirming that, “Yes, Black Lives do Matter”! It is clear that people want to do better. Now, communities are looking for ways to learn how to show up even further for the Black community in this time and all time.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers" - MLK Jr.

exclusive access

As an official member of the Black Voices Project, you will have access to exclusive discount opportunities, tickets, events, and more provided by our friends from Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL)!