February is Black History Month, a welcome time to celebrate the achievements and recognize the central role of Black Americans in U.S. history. The national Black History Month 2023 theme, Black resistance, explores how “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings,” since the nation’s earliest days.¹ 

As an organization committed to justice, all of us at Pro Bono Net celebrate and reflect on Black History Month and also see this as an opportunity to learn and share resources. Throughout February, our staff were invited to share recommendations on resources to explore Black history and culture. As we close out the month, we wanted to share some of those recommendations with others. At a time when the study of Black history and racial injustice is under threat on multiple fronts, yet essential to a just and equitable future, the voices of historians, activists and educators like those below are more important than ever. 

America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s

Written by Elizabeth Hinton, America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s takes us on a troubling journey from Detroit in 1967 and Miami in 1980 to Los Angeles in 1992 and beyond to chart the persistence of structural racism and one of its primary consequences, the so-called “urban riot,” which Hinton reexamines as episodes of resistance and rebellion.³

  • Recommended by Mark O’Brien, Pro Bono Net’s Executive Director 

The 1619 Project

The 1619 docuseries is an expansion of “The 1619 Project” created by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and the New York Times Magazine. The series seeks to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.²

  • Recommended by Claudia Johnson, LawHelp Interactive Program Manager and Tim Baran, New York Justice Initiatives Program Director

The Lost Cause (Part 1 & 2)

Are we still living with the racial divide left over from the Civil War? The Lost Cause is an audio documentary that explores the history of a conflict that nearly tore America apart. You’ll hear historians and a former US senator from Alabama explain the ideology that came to be known as the Lost Cause.⁴

  • Recommended by Pat Malone, Legal Director, New York Justice Initiatives

Assata: An Autobiography

Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand of government officials. This personal and political autobiography is an important contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America.⁵

  • Recommended by Paul Bennett, Finance Director

After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging

After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, written by Willie James Jennings, is an inaugural volume of the Theological Education between the Times series. Jennings shares the insights gained from his extensive experience in theological education, most notably as the dean of a major’s divinity school–where he remains one of the only African Americans to have ever served in that role. “It is part memoir, part decolonial analysis, and part poetry—a multimodal discourse that deliberately transgresses boundaries, as Jennings hopes theological education will do, too.”⁶

  • Recommended by Tim Baran, New York Justice Initiatives Program Director 

Master Slave Husband Wife

In 1848, a young enslaved couple plan and execute a daring escape from slavery and travel hundreds of miles north for freedom and safety. They meet up with anti-slavery activists and join the abolitionist lecture circuit, all while their lives are in peril. By author and historian Ilyon Woo.⁷

  • Recommended by Pat Malone, New York Justice Initiatives Legal Director






https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/50376048 ⁷https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Master-Slave-Husband-Wife/Ilyon-Woo/9781501191053