The Black Voices Project
A virtual book club uplifting black voices
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:
- March: How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
- April: Coming soon…
- 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
- January: “Me & White Supremacy” by Layla Saad
- February: “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
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!
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!
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!
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:
Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
In his memoir, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science–including the story of his own awakening to antiracism–bringing it all together in a cogent, accessible form. He begins by helping us rethink our most deeply held, if implicit, beliefs and our most intimate personal relationships (including beliefs about race and IQ and interracial social relations) and reexamines the policies and larger social arrangements we support. How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.
IBRAM X. KENDI is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of seven books. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News Racial Justice Contributor. He is also the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University. In 2020, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Kendi is the author of The Black Campus Movement, which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction. He grew up dreaming about playing in the NBA (National Basketball Association), and ironically he ended up joining the other NBA.
“Being an anitracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self examination.” – Ibram X. Kendi
Authors Website: www.ibramxkendi.com/
“What’s the problem with being ‘not racist’? It is a claim that signifies neutrality: ‘I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.'”
“Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than
‘Institutional racism’ and ‘structural racism’ and ‘systemic racism’ are redundant. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.”
“What if we realized the best way to ensure an effective educational system is not by standardizing our curricula and tests but by standardizing the opportunities available to all students?”
“Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.”
“Individual behaviors can shape the success of individuals. But policies determine the success of groups. And it is racist power that creates the policies that cause racial inequities.”
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)!
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
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 claim a copy via the button below! 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.
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)!
Free Youth Starter Library
Middle school aged students
Access to books is just as important for our youth as it is for adults.
While the Black Voices Project is centered around a digital book club experience for adults, we also recognize that many children don’t have access to leisure books or books with stories and characters they can relate to. For a limited time, you can now request a FREE Youth Starter Library!
Each Youth Starter Library will contain 3 books written by authors of color from the middle grade fiction genre (ages 8-12). The books will be pre-selected randomly from our existing catalog of 30+ titles including:
- Hidden Figures (Young Readers Edition)
- The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
- Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
How to REQUEST YOUR LIBRARY
Interested in claiming a Youth Starter Library for your child? Simply click the button below to get started!
RESTRICTIONS: First come, first served. One library per household.