As our nation and community face unprecedented stresses and strains when it comes to racial justice and equity, The Mint Museum believes art can (and should) be a catalyst for critical community conversations—and ultimately, change. As an institution, we’re committed to confronting persistent issues to build a foundation for progress. And for many of our staff, from those on senior leadership to part-time employees, this process started with self-education.
Below is a sampling of some of the key books, films, podcasts, influencers and organizations that Mint staff have found enlightening as we endeavor to change our perspective and effect change. Joyce Weaver, the Mint’s Director of Library & Archives, has put together a more extensive resource list that’s accessible through the Mint’s wiki page, which has been compiled over months and will be continually added to. The Mint is committed to looking both internally at changes we can make as an institution and externally to community conversations and efforts that we can be a part of. We hope these resources can be touchstones to start conversations and begin the process of healing and understanding.
Books & worthy reads
As society grapples with unrest around racism and protest, books about black artists and black history shine a spotlight on the struggles and accomplishments of black Americans throughout history. These are suggested novels and nonfiction to read for a better understanding of racism in America.
Films & documentaries
The Mint Museum believes in helping bridge conversations about racial identity and history—especially some of the lesser-known events and people—that have shaped our society. These TV series, videos and movies are stories of heroes, antagonists, protest, artists and collaborators that we hope inspire cultural understanding.
Resources for raising anti-racist kids
Studies show that, while we like to think kids are born “color blind” to race, they actually notice differences like skin tone from an early age. With this in mind, it’s up to parents to steadily explain what race does and doesn’t mean, and teach kids the positive power of diversity. Here are some resources, recommended by Mint staff, to help you begin the unraveling process—and start rebuilding.
Tune in: podcasts & conversations
It’s time to listen up. Tune into these productions while you’re in your car, on your commute, or even just mowing the lawn. Prepare to be challenged. For a more extensive list of Mint staff favorites, click here.
•Pod Save the People: DeRay Mckesson explores news, culture, social justice, and politics with guests offering a take on the news, with a special focus on overlooked stories and topics that often impact people of color.
•Let’s Talk Dammit: Combatting Racism in Charlotte and Beyond: Eight Charlotte-based professionals and artists convened this June to discuss the challenges of racism and white supremacy in the United States with a focus on Charlotte. Warning: Panelists do use profanity.
•Code Switch: A multiracial, multigenerational team of NPR journalists cover race and identity in this weekly podcast.
•Seeing White: “Scene on Radio” host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into what’s going on with white people in this 2017 series.
•The Stoop: For Stories on the Black Experience: Hosts Hana Baba and Leila Day dig into stories that are not always shared out in the open about what it means to be Black and how we talk about Blacknesses
•The 1619 Project: This six-part series from the New York Times uncovers how slavery transformed America.
Influencers in the know
Some of the most impactful racial-justice-related content being created today is being shared across all social media platforms. For fresh perspectives, we recommend you follow these socially conscious artists and organizations. Some are people of color, others are not, but all are allies using their voices—and social media feeds—to bring new perspectives and first-hand insight to culturally important topics. For a more extensive list, visit the Mint wiki page here.
Organizations to follow:
North Carolina Black Artists for Liberation Progress Report
Shortly after George Floyd’s death, Mint President and CEO Todd A. Herman, PhD, wrote a statement that focused on fighting racial injustice and the role museums and artists can play in helping support dialogue. Herman later released a second statement that addressed how the Mint’s own past hasn’t lived up to the ideals we aspire to today — and what we’re doing to actively combat inequities in Charlotte and in the art world more broadly.
For more of everything, visit the Mint wiki
This page is but a sampling of what the Mint staff is currently reading, watching, and following. For a more extensive list of resources and staff picks about racial justice, visit the Mint’s wiki page. We also encourage you to follow us on social media and check out the Museum from Home content we’re posting throughout the week for interviews with artists moving the needle, conversations with Mint staffers, and a look at works of art in our collection that speak to activism in all its forms.