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Black History Month Environmental Justice Book Recommendations

By Anahi Naranjo, Feb 26, 2024

This Black History Month, we put together a short list of important literature that celebrates and shares Black stories in the environmental justice and conservation movement. Elevating Black voices is vital to ensure that we remember and respect past and continued legacy of African American leaders in the history of our country, including in the environmental justice movement. 

Here are our recommendations for this month and beyond:

Race, Place, and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast by Dr. Robert D. Bullard and Dr. Beverly Wright

The devastating and inequitable impacts of Hurricane Katrina on communities are immeasurable, and can still be seen to this day. In their book, Dr. Dr. Robert D. Bullard and Dr. Beverly Wright examine how this disaster came about, and what systems were and were not in place that allowed Hurricane Katrina’s devastation to multiply across countless communities in the Gulf Coast. The authors expose the racial disparities that existed before Hurricane Katrina hit and continued  in disaster response and how race continued to play a role as communities attempted to rebuild and recover from this disaster.

Peace in the Midst of the Storm–2nd Ed: Daily Meditations for Victory by Dr. Mildred McClain

Through the practice of meditation and self-introspection, Dr. Mildred McClain of Harambee House: Citizens for Environmental Justice, reflects on and shares the practices and values that has allowed her to be an outstanding community leader and community member leading with love and empathy. In this book, you’ll find the techniques, formulas, and tips from Dr. McClain that she has practiced to overcome insurmountable challenges in her life that any person could benefit from.

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry by Camille T. Dungy

This poetry anthology, with selections by Camille T. Dungy, brings together 180 poems from over 90 Black poets throughout American history. Black poets have incorporated elements and nature and their environments in their writing for centuries, and this first of its kind collection brings together these important voices in one place to remind us of the legacy of Black writers in the nature and environment in American literature.

The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection by Dr. Dorceta Taylor

In this book, Dr. Dorceta Taylor examines the history of the U.S. conservation movement through a social history lens, analyzing how race, class and gender played a key role in shaping what we know as the American conservation movement today. From the removal of Indigenous people from their lands to the push for wildlife conservation to the rise of activism by low income and people of color, this book sheds a unique light to the role all of us play in America’s complex conservation story.

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