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Knarrative, an online education platform, is leading a global conversation about Africana studies by offering courses focused on topics from renowned science fiction author Octavia Butler to impactful Black artists in music history.
Led by SiriusXM host of The Karen Hunter Show, writer and professor, Karen Hunter, Knarritive helps Black students study history through lessons, readings and community interaction in order to understand the past and themselves.
One of the platform’s most popular courses is “In Class With Carr.” Dr. Greg Carr leads the Department of Afro-Africana Studies at HBCU Howard University as the Chair of the program study and as an Associate Professor of Africana Studies. In the course, Dr. Carr, through conversation with Professor Hunter, gives students information about historical Black figures like Dorothy Porter Wesley, movements and current topics such as Rep. Jim Clyburn’s calls to make the Black National Anthem an American hymn.
Throughout the lessons. Dr. Carr details a number of books that students can check out to supplement the course. In last week’s office hours, he spoke about “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” by Civil Rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Known as King’s last book before his 1968 assassination, the book documents the social justice leader’s thoughts about the Civil Rights Movement, the recently passed Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the then-ongoing Vietnam War. King also advocates for the unification of all Americans in order to combat issues such as inequality and poverty.
Here are five other books Dr. Carr has recommended or used in his lessons:
- The Oxford Handbook of African American Language (2015): Edited by linguist Sonja Laneheart, the book explores African American Language and African American Vernacular English by breaking down both past and current research on its use. It’s split into seven parts with each part dedicated to subjects such as the origins and historical aspects of the formation of African American Language and structure. Each chapter is made to build off each other, creating a comprehensive overview of AAL and AAVE’s history and possible future.
- Nannie Helen Burroughs: A Documentary Portrait of an Early Civil Rights Pioneer, 1900–1959 (2019): Edited and annotated by Kelisha B. Graves, Ed. D, the book is the first to collect and create a comprehensive list of writings by civil rights activist Nannie Helen Burroughs. Burroughs’ ideas on topics such as the role of religion in society, Black womanhood and suffrage are outlined throughout the text. To compliment her writings, biographical information about Burroughs’ life and accomplishments are provided.
- White Malice: The CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa (2021): Written by historian Susan Williams, the book focuses on Africa during the Cold War Era, specifically the relationship between the continent and the U.S. At a time where nationalist leaders were pushing for complete independence in Africa, the U.S. stepped in. Motivated by the rich materials in countries like Congo, multiple operations were conducted by the C.I.A. in an effort to gain control. Throughout the book, historical figures are spotlighted, including Kwame Nkrumah, the Prime Minister of Ghana who helped the country gain its independence.
- Amkoullel, the Fula Boy (1991): In Amkoullel, the Fula Boy, Amadou Hampâté Bâ, one of the pioneers of African literature in the 20th century, recounts his life. Born in Mali, he writes about the struggle between the Fula and the Toucouleur people and the role of France as they colonized West Africa. Bâ explores a variety of problems in his personal life and the area as a whole. The issues Bâ writes about include his upbringing in an aristocratic family, the relationship between him and his stepfather as well as the struggle between the colonial French schools and the Islamic faith of the region.
- The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in School (2018): Written by Vanessa Siddle Walker, a professor at Emory University, the book shines a light on the role of Black teachers in the South and their contributions to the fight to eliminate racism in education. Horace Tate, an educator and the first Black man to get a Ph.D. in the University of Kentucky, is the core focus of the book. Speaking directly with Tate over the course of two years, Siddle Walker was able to get first-hand information about his achievements and meetings with important figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and U.S. presidents. With permission from Tate on his deathbed, she was able to look into his archives to create a comprehensive recount of the collaborative work of Black educators in the South to gain educational justice.