Books to Read about Black Dancers and Social Justice


I have been meditating lately on what my place is in the world right now with everything going on. Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, Unemployment, etc. I wake up and go to sleep thinking, WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING RIGHT NOW? There is no right or wrong answer and there is always this hole of grief. But something that has always brought me comfort is reading.

I am currently reading, “Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster”, by Stephen L. Carter. And while I was reading about Eunice Hunton Carter, who was a prosecutor in the 1930’s and 40’s in New York City, it felt like déjà vu. The stories of police brutality, crooked politicians, and false reporting in the media. Specific details of rioting and the spread of misinformation mirrored what is happening today in 2020. Committees were put into place and came up with action plans that were ignored by politicians and here we are almost a century later.

While reading about Eunice Hunton Carter and just how eerily history is repeating itself, I got curious as to how black dancers of the past tackled these issues. I am searching for some writings from black dancers during the spanish flu in 1918, as during those times black people are facing the same discrimination as today. There is however an abundance of resources on black dancers and the fight for social justice.

Here is the beginning of my short list:

  • Kasiso! Writing by and about Katherine Dunham, Edited by Vèvè A. Clark and Sara E. Johnson
  • Urban Bush Women: Twenty Years of African American Dance Theater, Community Engagement, and Working It Out, by Nadine George-Graves
  • Black Dance: From 1619 to Today, by Lynne Fauley Emery
  • The Black Dancing Body: A geography From Coon to Cool, by Brenda Dixon Gottschild

If you have any suggestions please comment below.

Thank you for reading! Stay safe and Educated!

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