To commemorate and celebrate the scope of Black History Month, you can jump into our Author Events podcast archive, which dates back almost 25 years!
There you’ll find an astonishing wealth of Black voices, perspectives, and topics. To start you on your way, we’ve curated a list of eight diverse authors who’ve written on everything from politics to art, history to contemporary issues. Dive in and you’ll find scores of others!
Cornel West | Race Matters: 25th Anniversary
Recorded February 10, 2018
Lauded for his "ferocious moral vision and astute intellect" (New York Times), educator and philosopher Dr. Cornel West is the author of the National Book Award-winning Race Matters, a sea change discourse on race, justice, and democracy in America. His other books include the bestselling Democracy Matters, Hope on a Tightrope, and Black Prophetic Fire. A former teacher at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton, he has collaborated on three spoken-word albums with Prince, André 3000, Jill Scott, and a litany of other artists. More relevant than ever, the new edition of West’s classic book of essays seeks methods to create a genuinely inclusive 21st-century democracy.
Ta-Nehisi Coates | Between the World and Me
Recorded October 16, 2015
Covering culture, politics, and social issues as a national correspondent at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates has been applauded for his levelheaded and prescient reportage. His 2008 memoir, The Beautiful Struggle, details his father’s struggle to shepherd him and his siblings through the turmoil of a collapsing crack epidemic-era Baltimore. Coates has contributed articles and essays to a slew of publications, including Time, Village Voice, and the Washington Post. An instant bestseller, Between The World and Me is an exploration of racial history since the end of the Civil War from "the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States" (New York Observer).
Margot Lee Shetterly | Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Recorded November 2, 2016
In her New York Times bestselling debut book, Margot Shetterly tells the story of four African American women whose mathematical calculations at NASA fueled America’s greatest achievements in space at the leading edge of the civil rights movement. A 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grantee, Shetterly is the founder of The Human Computer Project, which aims to recover the names and accomplishments of all of the women who worked as mathematicians, scientists, and engineers at NASA from the 1930s through the 1980s. A film adaptation of Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer, was released in January 2017.
Erica Armstrong Dunbar | Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
Recorded February 23, 2017
Named the first director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Erica Armstrong Dunbar is a professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She has contributed commentary to several documentaries, including Philadelphia: The Great Experiment and The Abolitionists, and is the author of A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City. In her new book, Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, Dunbar tells the story of the young slave who risked her life to escape servitude under the first American President.
Eddie Glaude, Jr. | Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own
Recorded November 24, 2020
In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition
The Chair of the Department of African American Studies and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. is the author of the acclaimed book Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul. "One of the most imaginative, daring books of the 21st century" (Los Angeles Times), it vehemently argues against the idea that America exists as a post-racial society. He is also the author of Exodus! Religion, Race, and Nation in Early Nineteenth-Century Black America and is a frequent contributor and commentator to a host of media outlets. In Begin Again, Glaude offers guidance in our current struggles with race and trauma through James Baldwin's political and personal evolution.
Jabari Asim | We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival
Recorded November 20, 2018
Editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, the NAACP’s flagship periodical, and a former editor and syndicated columnist at the Washington Post, Jabari Asim is a professor of creative writing at Emerson College. His many books include The N Word, What Obama Means... For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future, A Taste of Honey: Stories, and the debut novel Only the Strong, "a heartfelt, polyphonic ode to 1970s black America" (Wall Street Journal). He is also a Guggenheim Fellowship-winning poet, playwright, and acclaimed children’s book author. We Can’t Breathe is a collection of eight essays that disrupt the conventional narrative of Black history in America.
Mary Schmidt Campbell | An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden
Recorded December 6, 2018
President of Spelman College since 2015, and Dean Emerita of the Tisch School of the Arts, Mary Schmidt Campbell served as the Vice-Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities during the Obama administration. She has contributed to an array of scholarly and popular publications, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was the commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Her book, An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden, delves into the life of artist Romare Bearden, a muralist and collagist whose large-scale public works came to symbolize the black experience during the Civil Rights era.
An Evening with Sonia Sanchez
Recorded April 18, 2012
"Sanchez has long been regarded as the city's unofficial poet laureate. But now the job is truly hers," wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer after acclaimed activist Sonia Sanchez’s appointment, at the end of 2011, as Philadelphia's very first Poet Laureate. The recipient of numerous awards and the former Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Temple University, Sanchez is the author of several plays, children’s books, and nearly 20 collections of poetry including the American Book Award winner, Homegirls and Handgrenades. Called "a lion in literature’s forest" by Maya Angelou, Sanchez uses Black dialect as a poetic vehicle and writes elegantly on topics like bigotry, poverty, and drug abuse.
For more engaging and thought-provoking discussions with authors like the ones above, visit our Author Events schedule.