Black history has been passed down from generation to generation through storytelling. Stories of religion, trauma, love and family have been the backbone of our communities, and the most recent releases from Black authors continue that tradition. In a time where meeting and being together in person is near impossible, using literature to have deep conversations has become more important than ever. For Black writers, even our fictional works are often rooted in historical practices and shed light on issues many are dealing with today.
Some of this month’s fictional works include Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers, which explores the intricacies of hidden sexual identities in strict cultures and families. In the Company of Men by Véronique Tadjo looks at the Ebola epidemic through the eyes of those most affected while examining how widespread illnesses impact communities.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., co-founder of The Root, New York Times bestselling author and host of PBS’ Finding Your Roots recently released a book to accompany the network’s new two-part series The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song, which looks at the political, socioeconomic and interpersonal impacts Black churches have on Black communities. Similarly, Dr. Yolanda Smith discusses the stories of divine worship and storytelling passed on from her grandmother in, In My Grandmother’s House: Black Women, Faith and the Stories We Inherit.
These stories shape history and help us navigate the ever-changing world that we live in, and guide us through the toughest parts of our lives. As Black History Month comes to a close, we can look to those before us to tell stories and bring about joy.