This February, we celebrate the work of past, present, and future Black innovators, activists, and everyday people. Black History Month focuses not only on the big events in the history of the United States related to the works and actions of Black people, but the ways in which Black people in centuries previous and for centuries to come can live their best and most authentic lives. With that in mind, we look to Black voices to explore further into their lives, loves, and faith. The official theme for 2022, per the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), is Black Health and Wellness, focusing on the mind, body, and spirit.
For the entirety of this nation's history, equitable medical care of Black people has been left to their peers. Black people have relied on each other to build hospitals, offer care, and build up trust within a health and wellness system that still does not provide equal guidance for Black people. These days in particular, the medical racism we see not just in the wake of a pandemic, but in all care, has left many without hope or guidance. "Black communities must look to the past to provide the light for our future, by embracing the rituals, traditions and healing modalities of our ancestors," says ASALH. These traditions include not only medical offerings, which are necessary elements of Black health and wellness, but also holistic and spiritual ones. So here are a few books by Black authors to check out in order to build your own emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
In a combined memoir and how-to guide, Zim Flores offers insight and experience on ways to be vulnerable and resilient. Highlighting her time as a young entrepreneur and including sections for the reader to reflect and plan, Dare to Bloom is an easy handbook for establishing your plan to live your life for yourself and for God.
“Become who you are in the moment you hold right now.”
With a goal to help readers reflect on the elements of life that have left them downtrodden in order to transfer those feelings into hopeful ones, Morgan Harper Nichols uses essay, poetry, and art to reflect on her own life and guide readers through their past experiences.
In this beautiful picture book, you'll read all about the woman known as “the grandmother of Juneteenth” as well as the history of the holiday. Readers will also learn about the importance of speaking out, activism, and making your way through the hard times in order to fight for better ones.
In Blessed Mode, youth pastor and comedian Kel Mitchell offers 90 daily devotions to help you focus your faith and live a life of joy and blessings. These devotions, practical in nature, offer the chance to recognize the blessings you already have as well as find the best ways to move forward through God’s work.
“Why am I here?”
In We Go On, pastor Onwuchekwa explores the book of Ecclesiastes, using the text to reflect and explore the meaning of that eternal question. Touching on themes including wealth, sexuality, and justice, this book offers not only reflections but guidance on how to live with intention and explore the principles set forth in scripture.
Using a simple framework, Jemar Tisby offers steps to live an antiracist life and constantly interrogate your own actions. The A.R.C. of Racial Justice—Awareness, Relationships, and Commitment—is about more than just knowing what anti-racism is. It’s about consistently and actively working to fight systemic racism while grasping God’s word on the dignity and humanity of all people.
Grammy Award–winning singer Michelle Williams digs deeply into her experience with anxiety and depression in this memoir. A combined look at her own mental health journey and the ways anyone can work to heal, Checking In offers a path to moving forward with living honestly.
This Black History Month, begin the conversation about not just the body, but the mind and spirit, when considering the overall health and wellness of Black people. With touching stories of faith, spirituality, and personal growth, these authors have offered their own testaments of moving forward in order to help any reader to find their own truth. The truths of these authors can help bring awareness regarding the constant needs of Black people to rest their minds and souls and help to move the conversation forward regarding systemic racism and the disparities seen in so many areas of care for the full person.