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:
- November 2020: Kindred by Octavia Butler
- August: “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
- September: “Citizen” by Claudia Rankine
- October: One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson
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:
Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.
During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.
Author Octavia E. Butler skillfully juxtaposes the serious issues of slavery, human rights, and racial prejudice with an exciting science-fiction, romance, and historical adventure.
Link to Book:
OCTAVIA E. BUTLER was a renowned African American author who received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work. Born in Pasadena in 1947, she was raised by her mother and her grandmother. She was the author of several award-winning novels including PARABLE OF THE SOWER (1993), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and PARABLE OF THE TALENTS (1995) winner of the Nebula Award for the best science fiction novel published that year. She was acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the far future.
“Slavery was a long slow process of dulling.”
“His father wasn’t the monster he could have been with the power he held over his slaves. He wasn’t a monster at all. Just an ordinary man who sometimes did the monstrous things his society said were legal and proper.”
“The ease. Us, the children … I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.”
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.