Triumphs, struggles of Black writers
Today is the first-ever National Black Authors Day. The new national holiday is dedicated to celebrating and empowering Black literary talents and raising awareness of the underrepresentation and struggles of Black authors in the publishing industry.
"We want to acknowledge the obstacles Black authors have faced and continue to face, including systemic racism and discrimination within the publishing industry," said CaTyra Polland, creator of the holiday and founder and CEO of Love for Words. "Black authors are more likely to be rejected for publishing and/or undersold and under marketed in bookstores; however, despite these challenges, Black authors have persisted, sharing their unique perspectives and experiences with the world."
The holiday aims to raise awareness of the underrepresentation and struggles of Black authors in the publishing industry. For too long, Black authors have faced challenges in getting published, receiving recognition, and finding a platform for their stories to be heard. With low literacy rates, lack of representation, and high marketing expenses, Polland said the publishing industry must empower Black voices and showcase their talent and resilience as they continue breaking barriers.
There are several ways to celebrate National Black Authors Day. Host a virtual book club with your friends or community, share your favorite books by Black authors on social media using the hashtag #NationalBlackAuthorsDay, attend virtual events hosted by Black authors or bookstores, purchase books by Black authors, and donate to organizations that support Black writers and literacy programs.
National Black Authors Day comes at an important time. More African-American literary greats (e.g. Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, etc.) are having their works increasingly removed from secondary school libraries in a new culture war push to sharply curtail the teaching of Black history. By recognizing Black authors, the reading public can create a more inclusive and diverse literary world that accurately reflects the experiences and stories of all communities.