Sign in

Momentum
A blog from Medium about the fight against anti-Black racism.

Books

In Momentum. More on Medium.

We thought we could save people’s lives with the manna to be found in books — and they only got better over time

“Libraries were not yet under assault by the internet, and with the growing ease of self-publishing, my public library’s shelves were a banquet of cultures and ideas. I may have…


‘We were shocked by the extent of the inequality once we analyzed the data’

A customer browses the shelves at Eso Wan Books, a black-owned bookstore in Los Angeles. Photo: Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

When Toni Morrison worked as an editor at Random House from 1976 to 1983, about 3% of the books published during that time were written by Black authors. After Morrison left to focus on her writing career, that number dropped significantly: Between 1984 and 1990, Random House published only two books by Black authors, one of whom was Morrison.

After a summer when anti-racist books and books by writers of color climbed the New York Times bestsellers list, the newspaper decided to do a deep dive into racial inequity in the book publishing industry. This was always a portrait of…


That’s a quote by New York Times bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo, whose new book Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America is likely to become the talk of the nation. In an interview with ZORA magazine, Oluo discussed her new book and about why we all should seriously study the rise of average White men. She also discussed reactions to her works — which include the bestselling So You Want To Talk About Race? White men get angry because she takes up space, she says.

You take up the attention. You’re getting the things. I’ve been shocked over the…


Learn the history in a brand new way

The movie adaptation of J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy, the story of a White working-class family in Appalachia, is now out on Netflix.

There are probably better ways to spend…


Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

From The Boss to The Beatles and Stevie…


A six-year-old Bridges integrated a New Orleans school and changed America forever. Her new book, out today, details her life.

U.S. Marshals escorted Ruby Bridges to and from school. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ruby Bridges, whose six-year-old self was memorialized by a Norman Rockwell painting after she integrated a New Orleans public school, is very much alive and is telling her story. Her book, This Is Your Time, releases today. At the same time, Bridges is also being talked up due to a viral meme featuring her image juxtaposed against Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. That meme is both powerful and polarizing for supporters, students of history, and activists.

That the meme makes headlines during the week of the 60th anniversary of Bridges’ historic integration of William Frantz Elementary School is apropos. She stoically…


How visionary fiction can help us imagine a better world

Image: Kieran Stone/Getty Images

Here’s a thought experiment for you: What is the world you want? Really picture it — and be as idealistic, hopeful, and unrealistic as you can.

That’s right — unrealistic. As Walidah Imarisha puts it, “all real substantive social change has been considered to be unrealistic at the time people fought for it — until those people changed the world to make it happen.” We tend to think of fiction as an indulgent fantasy and social change as serious work, but as Imarisha points out, creating a better world demands all of the above.

It’s a helpful mind shift for…


Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Janelle Harris writes for The Root that as the Library of Congress National Book Festival (virtually) celebrates its 20th year this September 25–27, it will showcase Black authors: “Books are a source of joy, Marie Arana, literary director of the Library of Congress, explains to The Root — and if folks ever needed a jolt of joy, it’s right now. Organizers chose to focus on authors who can offer some reassurance in a time of turmoil.”

Arana created a program called Hearing Black Voices, which encompasses author talks, panel discussions, and interviews representing a diverse range of storytelling perspectives. And…


Psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt explains how we can overcome bias by slowing down our thinking

Almost everyone possesses some degree of bias, whether conscious or subconscious. But can grappling with one’s biases consciously change them on a subconscious level?

According to Jennifer Eberhardt, who wrote the book on the subject, the answer is yes. The Stanford psychologist and author of Biased spoke to GEN about how overcoming bias is something we can practice as individuals.

What’s more, she says, institutions from the police to social media apps can find ways to help individuals slow down their thinking to actually override their worst impulses — whether that means cops asking themselves why they are pulling over…


We need history now, not more propaganda

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, history is written by the vict… captors. That’s not just pithy observation: Here in the United States, it was legislated. Anti-literacy laws of the 1800s made it illegal to teach enslaved people — and anyone else who posed an economic threat to wealthy white landowners — how to read and write, severely limiting their ability to preserve their stories.

No other country is known to have enacted such laws, and it doesn’t take much imagination to understand why the U.S. of A. led that particular charge.

These laws not only created an additional barrier between enslaved…

Momentum

A blog from Medium about the fight against anti-Black racism.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store