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NYPL Podcast: Favorite Episodes that Celebrate Black History



To celebrate Black History Month, The NYPL Podcast compiled a list of our favorite episodes featuring some of our country's most influential Black authors, artists, and activists. These conversations and interviews reflect the powerful legacy of Black literature, music, food, journalism, and more.

Bok covers and headshots of Angela Davis, Kevin Young, Janet Mock, Toni Morrison

You can find all of our episodes on The New York Public Library Podcast show page.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Play


Toni Morrison and Angela Davis

Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison came to NYPL in 2010 for a conversation with activist and author Angela Davis. Morrison and Davis discussed Frederick Douglass, education, and liberation.


Kevin Young

Executive Director of the Schomburg and poetry editor of The New Yorker, discussed his newest book Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News.


Janet Mock

Writer, activist, and podcast host Janet Mock and Lisa Lucas, the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, discussesd Mock's second memoir, Surpassing Certainty: What my twenties taought me—everything from Mock’s time in the publishing industry to her work in a Honolulu strip club, to the influence of writers like Maya Angelou and Zora Neale Hurston. 


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Macarthur Genius Grant winner and national correspondent for The Atlantic  sat down with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director Emeritus of the Schomburg,  in the Fall of 2015 after the launch of Between the World and Me, which was the most checked out book of 2017 at NYPL.


Raoul Peck

The filmmaker spoke about James Baldwin, the focus of his groundbreaking documentary I Am Not Your Negro at the Schomburg Center with Kevin Young and LIVE from the NYPL's Paul Holdengräber.


Timothy B. Tyson and John Edgar Wideman

Timothy B. Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmet Till  joined John Edgar Wideman, author of Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File in a conversation with professor Nell Irvin Painter.


Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith

On the heels of the blockbuster success of her novel, Americanah, Adichie sat down with Zadie Smith at the Schomburg  to discuss race, feminism, and finding one’s identity in a globalized world.


Jelani Cobb

New Yorker staff writer and Columbia Journalism School professor Jelani Cobb delivered a lecture on politics, journalism, and history entitled "The Half-Life of Freedom." Part 1: "The Media and Alternative Facts."


Nikki Giovanni and Joy-Ann Reid

The titan of American poetry talked about her latest collection,  A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter, with Joy-Ann Reid, the host of MSNBC's AM Joy.


James McBride

Musician and author James McBride, discussed his book, Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul. He was joined by journalist and author Philip Gourevitch for a conversation on the tensions and contradictions of the American experience: between North and South, black and white, rich and poor.


Jesmyn Ward

The National Book Award–winning author spoke at the Schomburg  about her most recent novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing. She read excerpts and was joined by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.


Jessica B Harris & Carla Hall

The James Beard Award–winning food historian and cookbook writer told stories from her memoir, My Soul Looks Back, with chef and co-host of ABC's The Chew, Carla Hall.



Renowned music producer Timbaland talked about his memoir, The Emperor of Sound  with New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in 2015.


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