Black History Month 2021 at The New School: Recommended Reading, Watching, Listening, and More

The New School
7 min readFeb 12, 2021


In recognition of Black History Month 2021, the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice at The New School has been collecting media recommendations from the entire New School community. We hope you find the list below helpful as you consider spending extra time not just this month but throughout this entire year to honor Black artists, writers, activists, and scholars.

The list below is ever growing. Have a recommendation you’d like us to add? Let us know by filling out this form.

Recommendations from Melanie Hart, Senior Vice President of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and Chief Diversity Officer at The New School


A Good Cry by Nikki Giovanni
Black Feeling Black Talk by Nikki Giovanni
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
And We Are Not Saved by Derrick Bell
Silent Covenants by Derrick Bell
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
All About Love by bell hooks
Ain’t I a Woman by bell hooks
Angela Davis, An Autobiography by Angela Davis
Women, Race and Class by Angela Y. Davis
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
All of the Women are White, All of the Blacks are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave edited by Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith
The Price of the Ticket by James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Homegirls and Handgrenades by Sonia Sanchez
Sassafras, Cypress and Ndigo by Ntozake Shange
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler


I Am Not Your Negro
The Murder of Fred Hampton
Sylvie’s Love
The Autobiography of Jane Pittman


NPR Code Switch
Jemele Hill is Unbothered
Questlove Supreme

Recommendation from John Bruce, Assistant Professor of Strategic Design and Management


Small Axe, a collection of five films by Steve McQueen

Recommendations from Dr. Sharon D Johnson, MA Media Studies ’88
Find her book, Seeing in the Dark: Wisdom Works by Black Women in Depth Psychology, here. Her essay “Conscious Daughters” can be found in the book Teaching Daughters of the Dust as a Womanist Film and the Black Arts Aesthetic of Filmmaker Julie Dash.

Recommendation from alumni Stephen Serwin, BA Liberal Arts ‘05


Memories Of The Southern Civil Rights Movement by Danny Lyons

Recommendations from alumni Rebecca Alvin, MA Media Studies ’01


The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution by Stanley Nelson


Writing the Future — Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation, on view at the Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston through May 16

Recommendation from staff member Marcus Longmuir


W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits Visualizing Black America: The Color Line at the Turn of the Twentieth Century edited by Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Britt Rusert

Recommendations from New School student Maliyamungu Muhande


Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto by Legacy Russell


I Am Somebody by Madeline Anderson (1970)
Born in Flames by Lizzie Borden (1983) & “The Still-Burning Fire of Born in Flames” by Yasmina Price


“Through His Eyes: Sam Pollard’s Historical Lens” Screening, 2021 Spring Hirshon Artist-in-Residence
Thursday, February 25, 2021, 5:00PM to 7:00PM (EST)
Join the School of Media Studies for a screening and discussion with Sam Pollard, the 2021 Spring Hirshon Artist-in-Residence. Pollard, an accomplished film and TV editor and documentary producer/director whose work spans almost thirty years, will feature his work, engage in a discussion with Michelle Materre, Director of the Media Management Program & Associate Professor of Media Studies and Film, and engage with the online audience through a Q+A.

The Alumni Relations office is pleased to celebrate the vast talent of Black alumni in the arts as part of Black History Month. Here are just a few of our favorite actors, performers, artists, and authors making waves:


Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul by Leila Taylor, MA Liberal Studies ’18
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, MFA Creative Writing ’14
Circus by Dante Micheaux, BA Liberal Arts ’02
No Heaven For Good Boys by Keisha Bush, MFA Creative Writing ’15
Solemn by Kalisha Buckhanon, MFA Creative Writing ’03
Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson, BA Liberal Arts ’09


Orange Is the New Black featuring Adrienne Moore, MFA Acting ’09
Changing the Face of Medicine: Black Women in Medicine produced and directed by Crystal Emery, MA Media Studies ’13


Jillian Hervey of Lion Babe, BA The Arts ’11
James Francies, BFA Jazz & Contemporary Music ’17
Marcus Baylor, BFA Jazz & Contemporary Music ’99
Lakecia Benjamin, BFA Jazz and Contemporary Music ‘05
Robert Glasper, BFA Performance ’01
Tyga Paw (Dion McKenzie), Liberal Arts ‘06
Jazzmeia Horn, BFA Jazz and Contemporary Music ’14


Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, BA Culture and Media ’06
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her GQ profile, “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof”

Andre Singleton, BA The Arts ’11
Co-Founder of The Very Black Project

Amy Sall, BA Culture and Media ’12
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of SUNU: Journal of African Affairs, Critical Thought + Aesthetics

Recommendations from New School student Julieanna Aliwarga, MA Media Studies ’22


A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Dread Nation series by Justina Ireland


Halls of Anger directed by Paul Bogart (1970)
Belle directed by Amma Asante (2013)
Colombiana directed by Olivier Megaton (2011)


Forest 404, Environmental sci-fi thriller by BBC Radio
Love and Liberation album by New School Alumni Jazzmeia Horn, Jazzmeia Horn, BFA Jazz and Contemporary Music ’14

Recommendations from faculty member and alumni Warren Bradley, Liberal Arts ’05


How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kandi
Autobiography of Malcom X by Alex Haley
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo


Lovecraft Country, an HBO series
Black Art: In the Absence of Light, an HBO/YouTube series
Underground, an OWN network series
Selma directed by Ava DuVernay
Hidden Figures directed by T. Melfi
Lady Sings the Blues directed by S. Furie/B.Gordy
Eve’s Bayou written and directed by K. Lemmon


Lovecraft Country podcast
Anything by Nina Simone, but particularly “Young Gifted & Black,” “Mississippi Goddamn,” “Sinner Man,” “Four Women,” “I loves You Porgy,” and “Wild is the Wind”
Anything Motown
Anything by Aretha Franklin

Recommendations from Jade Brown, MS Media Management ‘23


Zami by Audre Lorde
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi


Belle directed by Amma Asante


Sibling Rivalry, podcast by Monét X Change of RuPaul’s Drag Race
Dear Jessamyn podcast by Jessamyn Stanley and Ashe Danger Phoenix
Arlo Parks
Todrick Hall
Victoria Monet

Recommendations from Social Media:

@jillcsmith: Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl, an autobiography first published in 1861 by Harriet Jacobs.

@ssarahhohn: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates!

@profsue123: Great new books by New School alumni @harlemportland & @keishabush: Piecing Me Together and Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson (BA Liberal Arts ’09), No Heaven for Good Boys by Keisha Bush (MFA Creative Writing ’15)

@esk.kay: Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts The Watermelon Woman by Andre M. Ashford

@kamacneil: Imitations by Zadie Smith

@momhend95: The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

Have a recommendation you’d like to add to this list? We’d love to share! Please let us know by filling out this form.



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