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

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

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



NYC Parks

This February, join NYC Parks as they reflect on the Black experience in New York City and celebrate the legacies of Black trailblazers. Check out our virtual and in-person exhibits and join us for Urban Park Ranger-led tours, concerts,and more in celebration of Black History Month!

The Black Index at Hunter College

The works in The Black Index make viewers aware of their own expectations of Black figuration by interrupting traditional epistemologies of portraiture through unexpected and unconventional depictions. These works image the Black body through a conceptual lens that acknowledges the legacy of Black containment that is always present in viewing strategies. The approaches used by Delgado, Henry, Hinkle, Kaphar, Lovell, and Thomas suggest understandings of Blackness and the racial terms of our neo-liberal condition that counter legal and popular interpretations and, in turn, offer a paradigmatic shift within Black visual culture. See more.

Black Stories/Black History

The Paris Theater is hosting a movie series that looks at the larger picture of race in America with stories that are deeply personal, focusing on individuals. Read more.

The Musket Room’s Black History Month pop-up

Michelin-starred Musket Room’s Executive Pastry Chef, Camari Mick, has invited some of her favorite makers, chefs and entrepreneurs to collaborate in recognition of Black History Month. They’ve put together boxes featuring handmade breads, pastries, pastas and sauces available for pickup at The Musket Room (265 Elizabeth St.) on February 20 and 27 (noon-2 PM).

The Black King of Vaudeville – Remembering Bert Williams in Song

Sunday, February 20, at 7pm
Tony-nominated actor Larry Marshall rejuvenates the life and music of Bert Williams, one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era, and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time.

The Power & The Glory – Music of the Black Church

Thursday, February 24, at 7 PM
Award-winning Broadway veteran Tina Fabrique pays homage to Gospel  spiritual music that remains a staple of African-American life today. Gospel originated from Black spirituals, slave songs, and white hymnody, and it emerged in tandem with ragtime, blues, and jazz. 

NYRR Virtual Black History Month 5K

Run to celebrate the contributions of Black and African-American runners through history, including New York Road Runner’s founding president, Ted Corbitt, anywhere between February 19 and February 27. Register by going to nyrr.org and run the virtual race anytime.

Film and Television Recommendations

Just Mercy directed by Destin Daniel Cotton

I Am Not Your Negro directed by Raoul Peck

Farming directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

The Wire created by David Simon

BlacKkKlansman directed by Spike Lee

Judas and the Black Messiah directed by Shaka King

The Underground Railroad created by Barry Jenkins

One Night in Maimi directed by Regina King

The United States vs. Billie Holiday directed by Lee Daniels


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. 


An Anti-Racist Reading List from author and historian, Ibram X. Kendi courtesy of the Chicago Public Library.

Watch Ibram X. Kendi’s TED Talk: How To Build an Anti-Racist World.

Resources and tools regarding racism and anti-Blackness are available in this Anti-Racist Allyship Starter Pack.

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