Reading Lists & Music for the Black Summer Series

Hey friend! 

As we gear up to kick off our Black Summer series next weekend, we write to share with you some great readings and music playlists that are inspiring our team. Check it all out below, and of course, join us Saturday, June 22 (1-3pm) for our Barbecue Cookout potluck discussion.


Black Summer Playlists

Below are Spotify playlists by members of the FoodSpark team that we've curated to celebrate Black identity, inspire change, and spark action.

Black Summer

by Team FoodSpark

Songs of the Movement 

by Nichole Murphy


by De Nichols

What We're Reading

See the full list and add more.

The following readings are selections by our FoodSpark team. Join us July 18 at 6pm as we discuss The Fire Next Time for a FoodSpark X conversation at the home of De Nichols.
  1. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  2. “After St. Louis, God” by Jacqui Germain
  3. “Dear White America” by Danez Smith (Video)

More to Read

Below is a selection of more books that might be of interest. We also invite you to add more articles, poems, and short readings to the list as well!


  1. Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Harper Barnes
  2. That's the Way It Was: Stories of Struggle, Survival and Self-Respect in Twentieth-Century Black St. Louis by Vida "Sister" by Goldman Prince

  3. Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, 1936-75 by Clarence Lang

  4. From #BlackLivesMatter To Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

  5. Race Riot at East St. Louis by Elliott Rudwick

  6. We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang

  7. When Ghosts Come Ashore by Jacqui Germain

  8. Citizen by Claudia Rankine


Children’s Books

  1. Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

  2. Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood

  3. A Dying Breed Volume 1: From the Bright Lights Series by Darian Wigfall

  4. Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine

  5. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison



  1. What Is Juneteenth? via The Root
  2. A mystery illness killed a boy in 1969. Years later, doctors believed they’d learned what it was: AIDS via the Washington Post

Events in This Series

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events, and get your tickets to attend. 
Learn more on our event page.
Stay updated via the Facebook Group.

June 22: FoodSpark Potluck: Black Liberation

To kick off this series, FoodSpark will host a barbecue-themed potluck at Fairground Park. As we gather near the pool, we will touch on topics including the 70th anniversary of the Fairground Park race riots, Juneteenth, and the 5 year anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.’s murder. Learn more. | RSVP to attend.

Free | Public Event | Child friendly | Accessible for different abilities

July (All Month) FoodSpark X: Book Discussion

Throughout the Black Summer series, FoodSpark invites folks to extend conversations about black liberation and struggle by hosting their own FoodSpark X book discussions with friends, family, and colleagues. Subjects can further explore topics touched on during the June 22 FoodSpark Potluck: Black Liberation, or they can expand to include additional subjects. Learn more.

Free | Event accessibility vary by host  

August 17 The Spark Crowdfunding Dinner Party

On Saturday, August 17th, FoodSpark will host The Spark, a dinner party which capstones a three-month-long Black Summer series on Black Liberation. We will celebrate local ideas and creators working to address issues facing Black people in St. Louis. At the end of the night, we crowdfund (through audience vote) a microgrant to help amplify one of the ideas. Learn more. | Get Tickets.

$10 Suggested Donation | Public Event | Sound & Wheelchair Accessible 

Partners for This Series

Events throughout this series are co-organized with members of Young Friends of The Ville, The Griot Museum of Black History, Great Rivers Greenway, and the Missouri Historical Society

If you would like to partner or collaborate for this series or any of its events, please contact Team FoodSpark at
Copyright © 2019 FoodSpark, All rights reserved.

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