Black Liberation Resources

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The nation I have lived my whole life in and benefited greatly from was founded on the slavery of millions of people stolen from Africa. This nation was built generation upon generation through exploitation of Black and Brown Americans and Black and Brown communities around the world. This nation exists today under institutionalized and systemic racism. Although certain forms of exploitation and oppression have been overcome, they have been replaced by The New Jim Crow era. 

To not acknowledge this would be to live in delusion. 

To not understand this would render it impossible to achieve liberation for humanity. 

To not address this out loud, consistently and publicly would be a great disservice to humanity. 

We will not be free until all of us are free. We will never be able to truly live in harmony with Earth and our plant and animal relatives unless all of humanity is liberated. I am committed to doing my part to overcome these systems of oppression and exploitation and contribute to systems of equity, justice and reparations. 

The following is a Black Liberation resource guide. This was written for you. It was written for white folk, Black folk and people of all races. There is substantial information here for white people looking to explore, understand and overcome their own racism and complicity in racist systems. “White supremacy will not die until white people see it as a white issue they need to solve rather than a Black issue they need to empathize with.” There are resources here for white people to become a part of the solution. There are resources here for Black folk who are seeking out their community and looking for their own like-minded people to walk with on this path of liberation. 

The focus of this resource guide is the land we generally call the United States – also known as Turtle Island. 

Although there are many resources created by white people to aid in this liberation, the vast majority of resources here are created by Black folk. They are the ones who know the issues and can speak best for a new way forward. This resource also serves to uplift and support the dedication of some of the incredible Black humans working toward the liberation of their own people and all of humanity.  Within these resources, there is a focus on transformative social justice, on reparations and on a path forward for racial equity. 

For me, it has been a journey of awakening and understanding. I write extensively on this here: 

On Exploring and Overcoming My Racial Biases
On Understanding and Acknowledging My Privilege 

These are excellent resources for anyone looking to explore and overcome their own biases and to understand and learn to work with their privilege.

With the right knowledge, it is possible for each of us to be a part of Black liberation and human liberation. We each have our own strengths, our own skills, our own resources to work with. There are many ways to take action, including reparations, policy change, equitable land redistribution, sharing of resources, self-education and reflection, changing our thoughts and language, taking part in actions,  divesting from injustice and investing in justice, supporting BIPOC businesses, creating jobs and hiring equitably, and creating change within  our organizations. 

Soul Fire Farms Take action page is a great place to start. 

The Uprooting Racism Workshop – “The Uprooting Racism training is a theory and action workshop for environmental and food justice leaders to uproot systemic racism in our organizations and society.” My nonprofit, Regeneration, Equity and Justice, is happy to offer scholarships to Black folk who would like to take this workshop. We can be reached by email here. 

Black liberation is inherently connected to human liberation. Black liberation is inherently connected to the liberation of the plants and animals we share this home with. 

Resources are laid out in the following order: books, people to learn from, people to follow on social media, nonprofits and organizations, films and community heroes. 
 

Books

Each of these books is written by a Black author unless noted with a [ ~ ]. 

Black Earth Wisdom: Soulful Conversations with Black Environmentalists – Leah Penniman. Black Earth Wisdom brings together many of today’s most respected and influential Black environmental voices. The book is a powerful reminder of how ecological humility is an intrinsic part of Black cultural heritage.

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land – Leah Penniman.  This is a practical guide for liberation on the land, specifically liberation of Black folk and all people of color. 

The Intersectional Environmentalist – Leah Thomas. Immediately after reading this book, I decided that it is now the manual for my nonprofit. I will be referring to this book in the decades ahead and will be sharing it with many of my colleagues. 

A Black Woman’s History of the United States – Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross. Read my reflections on this book. 

So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo. Read my reflections on this book. 

How to Be Anti-Racist Ibram X. Kendi Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of anti-racism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America, but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an anti-racist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About RacismRobin Diangelo ~ In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’” (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively. Visit the Beacon Press Book Page for a Reading Guide and Discussion Guide

Just Mercy – Brian Stevenson. Read my reflections on this book: “Prisoners” Are Not Prisoners. They Are Humans, Victims of our Corrupt Justice System 

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander 

Why We Can’t Wait – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The Radical King – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Freedom is a Constant Struggle – Angela Y. Davis 

The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin 

Between the World and Me – Te-Nehisi Coates 

Black Like Me John Howard Griffin

Race Matters – Cornel West 

The Half Has Never Been Told – Edward E. Baptist 

CasteIsabel Wilkerson 

Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? – Beverly Daniel Tatum 

Blue Legacies and Black Feminism – Angela Y. Davis 

Stamped – Ibram X. Kendi 

By any Means Necessary and Afro-American history – Malcolm X 
 

People to Learn From

Leaders Who Influence us Beyond their Lives 

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Malcolm X
Nelson Mandela
Wangari Maathai
James Baldwin
Bob Marley
W.E.B. DuBois
Booker T. Washington
Dr. George Washington Carver
Fannie Lou Hamer 

Leaders Alive Today 

Dr. Cornel West
Angela Davis
Bryan Stevenson
Michelle Alexander
Ava DuVernay
Alice Walker
Leah Thomas
Ibram X. Kendi
Rachel Cargle
Leah Penniman
Ron Finley
Amanda David
Karen Washington
Malik Yakini
Adrienne Maree Brown
Toi Scott
Rue Mapp
Savi Horne
Ira Wallace
Sharon Lavigne
Dr. Dorceta Taylor
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson 
 

People to Follow on Instagram

Intersectional Environmentalist @intersectionalenvironmentalist
“Climate justice collective radically imagining a more equitable + diverse future of environmentalism” 

Equal Justice Initiative @eji_org
“We work to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment and racial injustice. Led by Bryan Stevenson”

Marie Beecham @mariebeech
“Teaching you about racial equity with nuance & grace”

Rachel Elizabeth Cargle @rachel.cargle
“writer, gatherer, arts advocate, entrepreneur, amateur cellist, founder @thelovelandfoundation”

Rachel Ricketts @iamrachelricketts
“Healing for Black liberation”

Anti-racist Education @antiracisteducation
“Education”

Ijeoma Oluo @ijeomaoluo
“NYT best-selling author of So You Want To Talk About Race (2018) & MEDIOCRE (2020)”

Tarana Burke @taranajaneen
“Servant Leader || Girl’s Advocate || Founder & CVO of the @metoomvmt || The Hell and the High Water || Bx Nationalist  || a Warrior”

Leah Thomas @greengirlleah
“author | environmentalist | creative”

Soul Fire Farm @soulfirefarm
“Soul Fire Farm is a community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system”

Leah Penniman @leahpenniman
“Co-Founder of @soulfirefarm. Author of @farmingwhileblack and @black.earth.wisdom. Farmer, soil nerd, mother, and Earth devotee”

Alexis Nikole @blackforager
“foraging teacher & enviro sci enthusiast”

Karen Young-Washington @karwasher
“Follow my farm progress at @riseandrootfarm!#blackurbangardeners”

rootwork herbals @rootworkherbals
“Lovingly Liberatory Community Herbalism. Home of the People’s Medicine School & the Jane Minor BIPOC Community Medicine Garden”

Hannah Vega @afroforagers
“We got food outside”

Amirah Mitchell @sistahseeds
Sistah Seeds is a black/woman-owned seed production farm focused on African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean heirloom vegetable seeds”

Ashlie | The Mocha Gardener @the.mocha.gardener
“Organic gardener in NC 8a • Food security is my mission • Health & wellness is my passion • Author: “How to Become a Gardener”

Black Girls With Gardens @blackgirlswithgardens
“A multicultural home & garden resource providing representation, support, inspiration, & education for black women creating green spaces”

BlackGirlsGardening @blackgirlsgardening
“Just a space to inspire you to p l a n t & 𝓖𝓪𝓻𝓭𝓮𝓷  zone 8b”

Ibram X. Kendi @ibramxk
“Scholar @bostonu • Dir @AntiracismCtr • Founder @the_emancipator and @maroonvisions • National Book Award Winner • #1 NYT Bestselling Author (5x)”

Ava DuVernay @ava
“Fortunately, there were rebels. – Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar”

Van Jones @vanjones68
“DAD • @CNN • @wearedreammachine • @dream.corps • @magiclabsmedia • @REFORM • #MakeWAKANDAreal CREATOR”

Ron Finley @ronfinleyhq
“Inspiration Is Everywhere. Use That Shit!”

Liberate Abortion @liberateabortion
“Liberate Abortion is a multi-tactical coalition to expand power, grow compassion, provide education, build a groundswell of support for abortion access”

The Afiya Center @theafiyacenter
“Transforming the lives of Black Women and Girls through Reproductive Justice”

In Our Own Voice @blackwomensrj
” Lifting up the voices of Black women”

 

Nonprofits and Organizations

Equal Justice InitiativeThe Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.” 

Soul Fire Farm“Soul Fire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous-centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. We raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.” 

Land Loss Prevention Project “In addition to being a stalwart advocate for farmers facing critical financial challenges that threaten their livelihoods and imperil land tenure within families and communities, the LLPP, through its SmartGrowth Business Center, engages in transactional work, furthering risk management and agricultural business expansion.”

National Black Food and Justice Alliance  “The National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA) is a coalition of Black-led organizations aimed at developing Black leadership, supporting Black communities, organizing for Black self-determination, and building institutions for Black food sovereignty and liberation. The Alliance seeks to achieve this by engaging in broad-based coalition organizing for Black food and land, increasing visibility of Black-led narratives and work, advancing Black-led visions for just and sustainable communities, and building capacity for self-determination within our local, national, and international food systems and land rights work.”

Rootwork Herbals The People’s Medicine Reclamation Project – the movement of BIPOC reclaiming their access to herbal medicine. 

Via Campesina  “La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.”

Black Urban Growers (BUGS)  “Our annual Black Farmers and Urban Gardners (BUGs) National Conference contributes to the empowerment and resilience of Black agriculture worldwide, with the specific goal of creating more equitable and sustainable food systems.”

Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust “Our Spaces hold equitable collaboration among people of various languages, abilities, religions, genders and identities, as that is essential to the work of land sovereignty and liberation for communities of color.”

Black Dirt Farm Collective  – “We want the land to be a spirit place where folks can feel safe, accepted, welcome, and not just feel free but be free.”

Rise and Root Farm – “Rise and Root Farm is a QTBIPOC centered farm, founded on love, created family, and commitment to social justice. We center care in everything we do: for the land, ourselves, each other, and our wider communities. We talk about and work to uproot underlying systems of oppression in order to create liberation.”

D-Town Farm – “The Detroit Black Community Food Sovereignty Network was founded to ensure that Detroit’s African American population participated in the food movement and because we are the vast majority of the population in Detroit, that we are in the leadership on that movement locally.”
 

Films

13th
“The documentary, 13th, explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13th refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads ‘Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.’ The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.”
Watch the trailer here – Watch for free on YouTube 

Selma
I watched Selma as I was traveling through Alabama learning about the Civil Rights Movement and it was extremely powerful. I recommend it to anyone who wants to begin their journey in understanding the movement and the issue of racism that is still plaguing the USA and the world.
Watch the trailer here 

The Butler
This movie is based on the true story of Cecil Gaines, who served eight presidents as the White House’s head butler from 1952 to 1986. I watched it while I was in Selma, Alabama, the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, and absolutely recommend it to anyone who is aiming to learn more about the issue of racism and how we can work together to abolish it.
Watch the trailer here 

Just Mercy –Watch the trailer here – Read my reflections on the book. 

I Am Not Your Negro– Watch the trailer here 

“Narrated by the words of James Baldwin with the voice of Samuel L. Jackson, I Am Not Your Negro connects the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter. Although Baldwin died nearly 30 years before the film’s release, his observations about racial conflict are as incisive today as they were when he made them.” 

Imperial Dreams – Watch the trailer here 

Freedom Riders – Watch the trailer here 

When They See Us – Watch the trailer here 

TIME: The Kalief Browder Story Trailer – Watch the trailer here 

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 – Watch the trailer here 

Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory – Watch for free here 

Whose Streets? 

“The 2014 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri was one of the deaths that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Frustrated by media coverage of unrest in Ferguson, co-directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis documented how locals felt about police in riot gear filling their neighborhoods with tear gas. As one resident says, ‘They don’t tell you the fact that the police showed up to a peaceful candlelight vigil … and boxed them in, and forced them onto a QuikTrip lot.’” Watch the trailer here 

LA 92 

“LA 92 is about the Los Angeles riots that occurred in response to the police beating of Rodney King. The film is entirely comprised of archival footage, no talking heads needed. It’s chilling to watch the unrest of nearly 30 years ago, as young people still take to the streets and shout, ‘No justice, no peace.’”
Watch the trailer here – Watch the film for free 

Teach Us All

“Over 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, American schools are still segregated. Teach Us All explains why that is — school choice, residential segregation, biased admissions processes — and talks to advocates working for change. Interspersing interviews from two Little Rock Nine members, the documentary asks how far we’ve really come.” Watch the trailer here 

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise 

“In this two-part series, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. chronicles the last 50 years of black history through a personal lens. Released days after the 2016 election, some themes of the documentary took on a deeper meaning amid Donald Trump’s win. ‘Think of the civil rights movement to the present as a second Reconstruction — a 50-year Reconstruction — that ended last night.’”  Watch the trailer here

 

Community Heroes

This is a series featuring local community heroes. Many of these films were made in partnership with my colleague and Dear Friend Jasmine Hayden. 

Herbalist Bringing Medicine to the People – Amanda David

This Woman Built 17 Gardens for Her Community and Isn’t Stopping – Nkoula Badila

BK ROT – Bike Powered Composting Program in NYC

Free Food. In A Fridge. On The Street. – Jammella Anderson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrNhIGpzDvs

The Foraging Chef Helping Others Heal through Food – Billie Alexandria

The Black Feminist Project: Where Radical Joy and Resistance Meet – Tanya Denise Fields

The BIPOC Community Garden – Amanda David

The Off-Grid Community Garden in the Middle of the City – Ava Deveaux

Normalizing Breastfeeding by Breastfeeding in Public – Angel Coleman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3otvVu0i7A

This Seed Library Saves and Shares Seeds For Free

From Desert to Food Forest – Ron McCord

The Deuces Food Forest in St. Pete, Florida – Ramona Brayboy

The Stimulus Check Garden Man – Spirit Mike

The Man Who’s Rescued 500 Honeybee Colonies – Alwyn “Oxx” Simeina

From Corporate Job to Professional Beekeeper – Wesley of Akron Honey

Meet Milwaukee’s Farming Minister – Venice Williams

From Abandoned Lots to Thriving Urban Farm

Defending Black Girlhood – Lilada Gee

The Peace Garden – Featuring DeWayne Barton

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