Who are the best black bloggers

Free University of Berlin

Black History Month has been celebrated in February in the USA since the 1970s. The idea for this already existed in the early 1920s, when the historian Carter G. Woodson, together with Afro-American organizations, first drew attention to the history, culture and achievements of Black¹ people for only one week.

There is now “Black History Month” in many other countries, including Germany. Here, too, black people continue to experience racism and are underrepresented in key positions in politics, culture and business. “Black History Month” is a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with their diverse voices, their critical view of society and their artistic work. We recommend 11 books by black authors. If they (or, in the case of German-language titles, also the English-language editions) are available in the Primo library portal of Freie Universität, the titles are linked:

Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart
"Things Fall Apart" was published in 1958 and is still the most widely read book by an African author to this day. It describes the social structures of a Nigerian Igbo village that are destroyed by the intrusion of Christian missionaries and British colonial masters. It is considered to be one of the most influential works in post-colonial literature.

Susan Arndt, Maureen Maisha Eggers, Grada Kilomba, Peggy Piesche (eds.): Myths, masks and subjects
The anthology “Myths, Masks and Subjects” is a basic work of the “Critical Whiteness” studies in Germany. He does not regard “whiteness” as an unquestionable norm, but rather presents black perspectives on German majority society. The contributions address racism, feminism, post-coloniality - and question whose voices determine the scientific discourse at the expense of others.

May Ayim - Blues in black and white
"I will still be / African / be / even if you / would like to have / German / and will still be / German / even if you / my blackness / does not fit," wrote the Afro-German poet May Ayim in 1990. She was a co-founder the “Initiative Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland” and contributed significantly to the visibility of black people and their experiences in Germany with their activist and literary work.

James Baldwin - Go and announce it from the mountain
The first novel by the African-American activist, author and playwright James Baldwin uses the character of 18-year-old John Grimes to deal with ideas of masculinity and family, homosexuality and belief. The story is strongly autobiographical and is treated by many international media as one of the best books of the 20th century.

Bernardine Evaristo - Girl, Woman, Other
Together with Margaret Atwood (“The Maid's Report”), Bernardine Evaristo was the first black woman to win the renowned “Booker Prize” in 2019. The novel gives an insight into the lives of 12 characters in Great Britain, mostly black women from different backgrounds. Central themes are love, sexuality and feminism.

Alice Hasters - What white people don't want to hear about racism, but should know
Racist attitudes and statements are not only widespread among right-wing extremists, but throughout society. The journalist and author Alice Hasters talks about her experiences as a black woman in Germany - and why well-intentioned questions like “Where are you from?” Can be racist. The book invites you to grapple with your own prejudices in order to overcome them.

bell hooks - The importance of class
white Domination, patriarchy, capitalism ”: The criticism of the literary scholar and artist bell hooks starts at the intersections of these three phenomena. In “The Meaning of Class” she is primarily concerned with the topic of capitalism and emphasizes, also based on her personal experiences, why social power structures are not based solely on gender and race are due.

Audre Lorde - Your Silence Will Not Protect You
“Black, lesbian, feminist, mother, poet, warrior” - this is how Audre Lorde described herself. In 1984 she herself was visiting professor of literature at the JFK Institute of Freie Universität and early on referred to the interdependence of racism, sexism and homophobia. The volume "Your Silence Will Not Protect You" contains essays and poems.

Toni Morrison - Solomon's song
The third novel by Toni Morrison, the first black Nobel Prize winner for literature, tells the story of the Dead family. The focus is on Macon "Milk Man" Dead III., Whose growing up as a black man in one white Majority society and the processing of its own family history. The novel was Morrison's artistic breakthrough in 1977.

Tupoka Ogette - Exit Racism
For white People can find it uncomfortable to grapple with their own internalized prejudices. In addition to an outline of the history and the devastating effects of racism, Tupoka Ogette also gives very practical tips on how the reflection process can be supported. Exercises and reading tips, video links and articles are intended to help readers implement the subtitle of the book: learn to be critical of racism.

Noah Sow - The Black Madonna
With “Germany black and white” Noah Sow wrote one of the first and most important books on racism in Germany. Now the author has written an “Afro-German homeland thriller” in which black people do not fulfill any racist clichés, but are the focus of the plot. The Commissioner Fatou Fall is investigating here in a real parallel society: a Bavarian, Catholic pilgrimage site.

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¹The term black is consciously capitalized in this article. This is to point out that it is not a question of biological properties or just skin color, but a structural category in a global power structure. Further information are available here.

Author Susanne Marie RomanowskiPosted on Categories This and ThatTags black history month, diversity, diversity, month, politics, racism