American Black History Study Resources

For Black History Month 2021, I’ve curated a YouTube playlist and additional study resources that have been helping to fill the gaps in my public school history education.

Every video in it is associated with longer documentaries, films, podcasts, and/or books and audiobooks, as well as museums. The last video featuring Stanford Psychology Professor, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt talks about what needs to be done to slow automatic bias within the brain. 

Roughly organized along a historical timeline, the video collection includes the following topics; cotton and sugar industries, the New York Times 1619 project, early free Black communities, slavery, Reconstruction, The Lost Cause, lynching, policing, Civil Rights, Confederate statue removal, historic figures, and contemporary work on caste, racism, and implicit bias.

Additional Resources:

Biology: Race is a MythInterview with Alan Goodman, Hampshire Collge Biological Anthropology Professor & Co-editor of Genetic Nature / Culture: Anthropology and Science Beyond the Cultural Divide and Building a New Bio-Cultural Synthesis (PBS) | Video: Cautionary Notes on Using Biology to Infer Identity and Ancestry

There’s No Such Thing as Race (Newsweek 2014)

“Facts – The Civil War (U.S. National Park Service)” Nps.gov

“What This Cruel War Was Over The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it” The Atlantic. Coates, Ta-Nehisi 

Education, The Lost Cause & Monuments

Lost Cause of the Confederacy  – Wikipedia 

The ‘Lost Cause’ That Built Jim Crow“. New York Times. Gates Jr., Henry Louis (November 2019)

Make It Right (MIR) Project was a multimedia campaign from 2018 to 2020 dedicated to educating the public and strengthening the media capacity of the national movement to remove and replace Confederate monuments and memorials.

“The South’s Fight for White Supremacy” The New York Times. Meacham, Jon (August 2020)

“Texas Mother Teaches Textbook Company a Lesson on Accuracy” Nytimes.com. Fernandez, Manny; Hauser, Christine (October 2015)

Lesson Plans

“If you don’t know better, you can’t teach better.” – Dr. Bettina Love | Sierra Writers Conference 2021 Keynote Talk

Abolitionist Teaching Network

Facing History and Ourselves (Lesson Plans) – Facing History’s resources address racism, antisemitism, and prejudice at pivotal moments in history.

Pulitzer Center – The 1619 Project Curriculum 

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Racism Inserted into Popular Culture

The Birth of a Nation’ Shown” Washington Evening Star

“Romanticizing Confederate cause has no place onscreen” San Francisco Chronicle.  LaSalle, Mick (July 24, 2015)

“Regarding ‘Song of the South’ – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See.” IndieWire.com, Sergio (February 2016)

Vigilantism

“When Bigotry Paraded Through the Streets” The Atlantic. Rothman, Joshua (December 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Theme Reads – Baby Stealing, Water Ecosystems & Houseboat History

Theme-based reading recommendations; unknown aspects of American history, water ecosystems, and houseboats.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours accomplishes something I relish while reading for pleasure – it taught me something. The story is about a Tenessee baby stealing ring, Depression-era shantyboat culture, and institutional mistreatment of children.

For me, the most intriguing storyline follows a riverboat family from the ‘before’ time. Descriptions of nature knowledge gained while living on the Mississippi River are lush and sensory. It reminded me of the next book on this list.

The heartbreak, terror, and powerlessness suffered by poor birth families taken advantage of while at their most vulnerable and children separated from loving parents, and further – siblings from each other – was worthy of the strong emotions it stirred.

This book strengthened my convictions about the support needed for defenseless populations and about prosecuting those who value money over humanity.

A Secret History of American River People


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

The “Marsh Girl” is an enigma in the backwater settlement closest to Catherine’s (aka Kya) home.

Abandoned by her mother, siblings, and eventually, by her abusive alcoholic father, the youngster navigates on her own through her teen and young adult years. She becomes an avid self-taught naturalist who delves into life the cycles of the animals and plants in her South Carolina marsh environment.

‘Fear of other’ and class bias causes her neglectful community to turn against her when the son of a prominent family is found dead.

Where the Crawdads Sing will delight natural history readers while highlighting the social and emotional damage caused by indifference and loneliness.

‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ Author Delia Owens Has A Strange Connection To A Real-Life Murder Mystery


Floating Point by Shelley Buck

Shelley Buck’s contemporary memoir gives the reader a viewpoint of life on a houseboat in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You’ll never look at a marina quite the same.

Shelley is a dot.com spouse with a high school-aged son attending a financially challenged charter school. While developing her author career, she seeks out a creative housing solution in uber-expensive Silicon Valley. Her journey takes the reader into a fluid dock community, repairs and maintenance unique to houseboats, and waterfront real estate under constant pressure from developers.

Buck’s canine-loving and nature appreciating observations intermingle with poetic narratives and moments of anxiety as she navigates through her soon-to-be empty nest and approaching retirement years.

If your reading mood calls for nature and water and you’ve got emotional reserves to explore traumatic children’s issues, Before We Were Yours and Where Crawdads Sing are great choices. If you want an uplifting family saga fraught with kids, pets, and mechanical challenges, Floating Point should hit the mark.

Best Wishes for Compelling Reading!

For ten more book recommendations from a historical fiction author/ reader, visit World of Mailman.

Hashtags

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Research Eating

In order to authentically write about a railroad worker camp cook, I had to cook and eat like one.

Below are links to resources I’ve experimented with to get the feel and flavors just right for the railroad camps.

click the image to link to the recipe

*click image for book link* This book was written by a descendent of a Chinese railroad worker. It includes family stories that were passed down through the generations.