10 Books and Podcasts That Celebrate Black Culture and History
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
"Intelligence plus character, that is the function of true education."— Martin Luther King Jr.
While Black history and culture should be recognized throughout the year, Black History Month serves as a special opportunity to bring awareness to stories and voices documenting the Black experience in the United States, both past and present. Given their convenience and portability, books and podcasts are a great way to glean this knowledge in a way that is convenient, entertaining, and accessible.
Here is a selection of podcasts and books that celebrate Black history and culture, as well as prominent Black figures, as recommended by several of our BHS agents.
Podcasts That Shine a Light on Black Stories
Earn Your Leisure
Starring Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings, "Earn Your Leisure" was recommended to us by Scottie Cabrera. On the podcast, both Bilal and Millings provide a behind-the-scenes, financial perspective on everything from sports to entertainment, offering advice, expert insight, and more. The two also regularly highlight Black entrepreneurs and their accomplishments.
Inside Politics Sunday with Abby Phillip
Easily one of CNN's most popular and respected hosts, Abby Phillip has a weekly podcast devoted to politics that broadcasts every Sunday. Recommended by Kathleen McClearn, the podcast covers top headlines and events, with Phillip providing a thoughtful analysis of current events.
How I Built This: Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey
In this fascinating episode of the NPR podcast series "How I Built This," we learn about Fawn Weaver, founder of the award-winning whiskey label Uncle Nearest. She tells of the historic inspiration behind her brand, Nearest Green, a formerly enslaved man who taught Jack Daniels himself how to make whiskey. Weaver's story of reclamation and entrepreneurship is truly a must-listen.
Books That Educate and Inform about Black Experiences
"I have loved reading the Pulitzer Prize-winning works of Colson Whitehead. I began with "Sag Harbor," set in the iconic town in the Hamptons, and continued with his eye-opening take on slavery times, "The Underground Railroad." His latest novel, "Harlem Shuffle," gives a rich and colorful depiction of Harlem in the early '60s."— Kathleen McClearn
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as Told to Alex Haley
Recommended by Jevon Gratineau, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" teaches about the life and background of the famous Black Muslim leader from his own perspective. The book provides fascinating commentary on race and American society while chronicling the growth of the Black Muslim movement.
One of our most recommended books, Michelle Obama's inspiring memoir takes you from her childhood on the streets of Chicago to her rise to the world stage as First Lady to President Barack Obama. Her story is one of commitment, compassion, and dedication, making it well worth the read.
Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist's Memoir of the Jim Crow South
Written by Winfred Rembert, this compelling novel tells of Rembert's childhood during the Civil Rights Movement, the trials and consequences he underwent for his participation—including imprisonment—and how the experience inspired his art career. It was recommended to us by Vivian Ducat, who in addition to her real estate career, is a documentary filmmaker who created this documentary about Rembert.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Recommended by Deborah Miller, Zora Neale Hurston's celebrated novel is considered one of the greatest of the 20th century and a classic of the Harlem Renaissance era. The story of love, joy, and sorrow provides a clever and fascinating commentary on both gender roles and racial dynamics.