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

  • August: “Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells” by Michelle Duster
  • September: “Concrete Rose” by Angie Thomas
  • 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

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:

Journalist. Suffragist. Anti-lynching crusader. In 1862, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In 2020, she won a Pulitzer Prize.

Ida B. Wells committed herself to the needs of those who did not have power. In the eyes of the FBI, this made her a “dangerous negro agitator.” In the annals of history, it makes her an icon.

Ida B. the Queen tells the awe-inspiring story of a pioneering woman who was often overlooked and underestimated—a woman who refused to exit a train car meant for white passengers; a woman brought to light the horrors of lynching in America; a woman who cofounded the NAACP. Written by Wells’s great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, this “warm remembrance of a civil rights icon” (Kirkus Reviews) is a unique visual celebration of Wells’s life, and of the Black experience.

A century after her death, Wells’s genius is being celebrated in popular culture by politicians, through song, public artwork, and landmarks. Like her contemporaries Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, Wells left an indelible mark on history—one that can still be felt today. As America confronts the unfinished business of systemic racism, Ida B. the Queen pays tribute to a transformational leader and reminds us of the power we all hold to smash the status quo.

Michelle Duster is a writer, speaker, professor, and champion of racial and gender equity. In the last dozen years, she has written, edited, or contributed to eleven books. She cowrote the popular children’s history book, Tate and His Historic Dream; coedited Shifts and Michelle Obama’s Impact on African American Women and Girls; and edited two books that include the writings of her great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells. She has written articles for Essence, Refinery29, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, and The North Star.

“Visually stunning…readers who are looking for bold, out-of-the-box, approaches to social change will undoubtedly be inspired by Ida B. the Queen.”
—Forbes

“Bow down to this biography that shows why Ida B. Wells is an icon for all seasons.”
—Refinery29

“With bold graphics and a compelling story, Ida B. the Queen is sure to be one of the year’s best biographies.”
—Bustle

“Ida B. the Queen delves deep into the life of Wells and the Black experience through visual storytelling and recounts the life, successes and hardships of one of the most renowned leaders of justice in American history.”
—The Root

“A warm remembrance of a civil rights icon”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Duster delivers a vibrant and accessible portrait of her great-grandmother Ida B. Wells”
—Publishers Weekly

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)!