Celebrating Black History at The Fortune Society

Celebrating Black History at The Fortune Society


For Black History Month, the staff at The Fortune Society collaborated to create a community guide for celebrating and honoring Black history. The guide is filled with events, policy actions, resources, book recommendations, and a Black History Spotify playlist.

Recognizing that Black history is American history—and American history is year-round—we will continuously update this list throughout the year.

Black History Spotify Playlist

Listen to The Fortune Society’s Black History Spotify playlist, with songs selected by staff members. Artists include Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monae, Aretha Franklin, and more.

Book Recommendations

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle By Angela Y. Davis

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

The Bluest Eye: A Novel by Toni Morrison

Fences by August Wilson

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Black Futures edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Black Men Built the Capitol  by Jesse J. Holland

Eight Men by Richard Wright

Black Judges on Justice by Linn Washington

The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

The Tradition by Jericho Brown 

Locking Up Our Own by James Forman Jr.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965–2010 edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Felon by Reginald Dwayne Betts

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith 

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Sula by Toni Morrison

The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart by Alicia Garza

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha

How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

The Selected Works of Audre Lord edited by Roxane Gay

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead 

All About Love by Bell Hooks

Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris 

Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown

View other curated reading lists of poems, essays, and books by the Poetry Foundation, Poets.org, and The Rumpus.


Missed the Black Comic Book Festival?

The Schomburg Center’s 9th Annual Black Comic Book Festival featured 39 Black comic book vendors and 13 panel discussions over four days, from January 13th-16th. You can view all of the programs on the festival website.

Highlights included How to Draw Black Superheroes and A Tribute to Chadwick Boseman.

Mother Tongue: The Philosophy of Malcolm X

Each year, the Schomburg Center celebrates the life of Malcolm X during Black History Month—coinciding with the anniversary of his assassination on February 21, 1965. This year, our virtual program will feature a conversation and presentations by Anna Malaika Tubbs, author of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation, and Dr. Michael Sawyer, author of Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X. The talk will explore how Malcolm X’s mother’s language of liberation and resistance is foundational to his political growth, and examine his political philosophy of Black internationalism. Dr. Imani Perry, will moderate the conversation and discuss her recent work, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons. Register to join on Monday, February 22 at 6:30 pm ET.

NPR Tiny Desk

Now through Thursday, Feb 25th, NPR Tiny Desk will host 13 concerts celebrating Black Excellence, featuring artists like Wynton Marsalis, Melanie Charles, 2 Chainz, and Rick Ross.

A Salute to Black Achievements in Television

Throughout the rest of February, join The Paley Center in celebrating Black History Month with A Salute to Black Achievements in Television.

Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, Feb 18th, Representative Adriano Espaillat is hosting a Black History Month event at 6:30 pm ET celebrating Dr. Martin Luther Kings’ legacy. The event can be live-streamed from his Facebook page.

Schomburg Center with Writers

Join The Schomburg Center featuring Charles M. Blow, to discuss his book “The Devil We Know” with Hilton Als on Tuesday, Feb 23rd at 8 pm ET. Register here.

Black History with Carnegie Hall and Google Arts

View a virtual exhibit of over 4,000 works covering Black history and culture with Carnegie Hall and Google Arts and Culture.

Film Recommendations

Just Mercy directed by Destin Daniel Cotton

Farming directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

BlacKkKlansman directed by Spike Lee

Judas and the Black Messiah directed by Shaka King

One Night in Maimi directed by Regina King

The United States vs. Billie Holiday directed by Lee Daniels

Policy Actions

Black Lives Matter at School

Black Lives Matter at School is a national coalition organizing for racial justice in education.  They encourage all educators, students, parents, unions, and community organizations to join an annual week of action during the first week of February each year.​ Their website features information on curriculum and starter kits, as well as upcoming events. 

Fair Chance for Housing Virtual Town Hall

Learn about the Fair Chance for Housing campaign & bill from City Council Members, faith leaders, and directly impacted community members on Thursday, February 25th at 6 pm ET. Register here

Watch our latest episode of Both Sides of the Bars, Fortune’s monthly TV show broadcast in over 100 stations nationwide, featuring Gabriel Sayegh, Co-Executive Director of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice.

Tell your City Council member to pass the Fair Chance for Housing Act to end housing discrimination against people with justice involvement.

Join the #HALTSolitary campaign to end solitary confinement in New York.

Tell your representatives to pass the Justice Roadmap in New York, a bold legislative agenda to address harms caused by the criminal legal system on communities of color.

Tell elected officials in New York to pass the Less is More Act and reduce incarcerating people for technical parole violations.

Join the Releasing Aging People in Prison (RAPP) Campaign to advocate for releasing elderly incarcerated people and those serving long sentences.

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