The Free Black Women's Library Reading Challenge
Throughout 2021, Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity is partnering with Office of Multicultural Affairs and Raven Book Store to uplift the voices of Black women, femme, and nonbinary writers by participating in The Free Black Women's Library (TFBWL) Reading Challenge.
TFBWL is a social art project and interactive installation that features a traveling collection of over three thousand books, as well as monthly free public programming that explores a wide array of themes, subjects and ideas that explore the intersections of race, gender, art, class and culture. The mission of this project is to center and celebrate the brilliance, diversity and creativity of Black womanhood. Every year, TFBWL curates an annual Reading Challenge to encourage people to read more books by Black women, femmes, and nonbinary people.
Our TFBWL 2021 Reading Challenge Video Series — a series of live readings featuring Black women, femmes, and nonbinary people affliated KU reading — airs biweekly on Tuesdays at 12 noon on Instagram @kuetcwge. Engage with these live videos on Instagram by liking or commenting, and we will enter your name in a raffle to win a copy of the book featured in the video. Videos are subsequently archived to ETCWGE's YouTube Channel.
On January 18th, OlaRonke Akinmowo (she/her), creator and director of The Free Black Women's Library, joined Bulaong Ramiz-Hall (she/her), director of Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, in kicking off our The Free Black Women's Library 2021 Reading Challenge Video Series with a conversation about TFBWL on Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
TUESDAYS, 12 PM CST
A book on Parenting or Child Advocacy
Bulaong Ramiz-Hall (she/her) reading from Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams
A book on Body Politics, Trauma, Autonomy or Acceptance
Rinne-Julie Früster (they/them) reading from The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
A book on self-care, health, lifestyle strategy or personal development
Kyia McDonald (she/her) reading from Black Girl in Love (with Herself): A Guide to Self-Love, Healing, and Creating the Life You Truly Deserve by Trey Anthony
A book with a one word title
Precious Porras (she/her) reading from Passing by Nella Larsen
A collection of poetry, short stories, essays, recipes or prose
Simone Savannah (she/her) reading from Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
A book on Spirituality, Religion, Faith or Ritual
Niya McAdoo (she/her) reading from Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing by Michele Elizabeth Lee
Any book by Toni Morrison
Alexis Davis (she/her) reading from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
A young adult or middle schooler's novel
Nikita Haynie (she/her) reading from Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Call for Readers: Fall 2021
Since January, we have aired our TFBWL 2021 Reading Challenge Video Series biweekly on Tuesdays at 12 noon. We will continue to offer the series through the summer and into the fall semester, ending on 12/28.
We invite Black women, femmes, and nonbinary people affiliated with KU – including students, staff, faculty, and alums – to join us in The Free Black Women’s Library 2021 Reading Challenge by choosing and reading excerpts from a book of their choice that qualifies as fitting within the following remaining categories:
- LGBTQ author and/or content – fiction
- LGBTQ author and/or content – nonfiction
- A romance or erotic novel
- A book that centers relationships between women
- An award winning novel and/or classic
- Any book by Octavia Butler
- A book that classifies as Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, or Fantasy
- A book with a name in the title
- A graphic novel or series of comic books
- A memoir or autobiography
- A book where characters speak Patois, Creole, Geechee, or AAVE
- A book set in your hometown
- A book on Migration, Travel, Location or Place - fiction or nonfiction
- A book on Disability or Neurodivergence - fiction or nonfiction
- History, Historical Fiction or Slave Narrative
If you would like to volunteer as a reader, please use our sign-up sheet to pick a reading category (1 per person) and book title.
We will purchase four copies of your book of choice:
- One as a gift to you, our reader
- One to raffle off to a person who engages with your video on Instagram
- One to add to ETCWGE’s Dr. Toni Morrison Memorial Library with a book plate that honors you as our reader
- One to add to OMA's library with a book plate that honors you as our reader