As the world continues to evolve and expand upon the poignancy of Black reality, whether it be through images, art or words, it is vital that Black readers and explorers challenge themselves to stay connected in the conversation of the intricacies of Black life through self-education. The number of resources to help the Black community understand themselves through the thought and understanding of authors, scholars and photographers grows every day.  This is a fact that we should not take for granted. We have learned through circumstances like the pandemic that the world goes through changes, and through the changes, we can support ourselves and one another by offering profound information and literature about the beauty and grace that Black thinkers have to offer.

There are two new books that will be released this winter that will allow readers and explorers to engage more deeply with Black reality.

“Black Life Matter: Blackness, Religion, and the Subject” by Biko Mandela Gray (Duke University Press), due out November 2022

“Black Life Matter,” by author Biko Mandela Gray, an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s Department of Religion, is an incredible work examining the lost lives of four key figures in the post-modern Civil Rights Movement, also known as Black Lives Matter.  “Gray offers a philosophical eulogy for Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, and Sandra Bland that attests to their irreducible significance in the face of unremitting police brutality,” writes Duke University Press. This book is centered in bravery and works through the process of “sitting with” the gravity of the deaths of Black people at the hands-on police violence. “These four Black lives were more than the brutal violence enacted against them; they speak to a mode of life that cannot be fully captured by the brutal logics of anti-Blackness,” says Duke. We as a culture must take the time to consider the brevity of the consequences of police brutality in our communities. Mandela Gray does an amazing job at demonstrating, and never forgetting, the recent atrocities and injustices of our culture.

“Black Archives: A Photographic Celebration of Black Life” by Renata Cherlise (Ten Speed Press), due out February 14, 2023

“‘Black Archives’ is a stunning collection of timeless images that tell powerful, joyful stories of everyday life and shed light on Black culture’s dynamic, enduring influence through the generations,” describes  Penguin Random House. The book, written by Renata Cherlise, a multidisciplinary, research-based visual artist, creates a beautiful collection of photography that reveals the quiet power of the ordinary lives of Black human beings. With “more than three hundred images that spotlight the iconic and the candid, ‘Black Archives’ offers a nuanced compendium of Black memory and imagination,” continues the publisher’s description. The visual world exploration of the Black community is a medium that is beyond valid as Blackness in the form of images creates an opportunity for our eyes and minds to ponder the truth about Black American culture, a truth that has countless layers and gorgeous avenues to connect with.

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