The importance of Black History Month, and other awareness campaigns, can be partially attuned with one sentence from Spanish-American philosopher, George Santayana:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
It’s important to learn about how things have historically been and the struggles, victories, and stories of those that lived through it. The enslavement of black people across the world is a stain on history but by learning about it, we can educate future generations to not allow it to happen again.
However, it’s important to also celebrate the many achievements and contributions, past and present, from those in the black communities that have done much to make Canada a more diverse, open, and culturally sensitive nation.
Supporting Black History Month Through Books
As a company, you may find it difficult to decide how best to celebrate Black History Month. Some like to post to social media or reshare content to drive awareness to Black history, authors, and artists. Others, like ad agency TAXI, don’t wait for Black History Month and just launch a diversity initiative to make the place they work and the product of their work, more diverse, every day.
A creative approach to promoting Black History Month and helping educate your staff or customers is to give them literary works from Black Canadians. It isn’t just about the history – it is about the celebration of culture. Choose any book from a Black author that you think will make a mark with your intended recipients!
Linking Books and Your Brand
The best part is that books are brandable! Sure, you could provide these books blank, but you can break the spine of normal branded swag by including your logo and/or a statement message to these books for a lasting impression on recipients.
There are 3 ways you can add your company’s mark on published books.
Right on the Cover: A basic, yet still effective way to add your brand’s presence to the books. You can pad print your logo or a nice message in a single colour on the cover. We recommend you choose a colour that compliments the colour theme of the cover art in order to not stand out as an eye-sore.
Opening Inserts: This is where you will get the best “bang for your buck.” A Promo-Page is a custom designed and printed page that is adhered to the book’s 1st or 2nd page, depending on the binding of the book you have decided to distribute.
What makes the Promo-Page insert great is that it offers you the biggest area to add your brand logo or message. The more creative, the better, as this is your billboard to make something memorable. A colourfully designed message, a heartfelt letter, it is up to how you want to position it!
Wrap It Up In a Belly Band: You can add a sleek statement by wrapping your book in a full colour belly band. It is fully customizable to fit and suit your book of choice. It is another canvas that you can utilize to associate your brand with the reading experience!
Page Turning Black Canadian Authors
To help you get started, here are some of our favourite books, all by Black Canadian Authors, along with a quoted review, that will be sure to have readers glued to the pages. We’ve let
The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cole
“Desmond Cole systematically dismantles any lingering illusions of Canada as a beacon of racial benevolence by exposing the multiple forms of state violence facing Black peoples of all ages and genders. His text, further, compellingly highlights the ongoing refusal of Canada’s Black diaspora to submit to conditions of subjugation, bringing to light both historical and contemporary legacies of rebellion. A powerful read.” —Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present.
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You – David Chariandy
“Poetic and moving, a slim but weighty book that excavates things often left unsaid.” – Globe and Mail
Shame On Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging – Tessa McWatt
“This remarkable meditation on beautiful, human bodies formed by the violence of slavery and by colonial shame resists categorisation, even as it shows up the ways in which categories of race and identity are no more than empty methods of social control. Reading this book I felt a profound sense of relief: that someone as wise as Tessa McWatt had the compassion and courage to write it. A deeply moving, urgent and important book.” – Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young
The Rage of Dragons – Evan Winter
“The Rage of Dragons takes the best parts of epic fantasy and sets them in a refreshing and inventive new world, a gripping tale that makes clear the true cost of war and colonialism with one of the most enthralling hero’s journeys I’ve read.” – S. A. Chakraborty, author of City of Brass
Frying Plantain – Zalika Reid-Benta
“Frying Plantain deftly chips away at white dismissals of privilege, obscuring the lines between short story and novel … It documents a unique and complex cultural space that’s under threat, while acknowledging the challenges of living a hyphenated life. It reminds us that individuals remain bound to their cultural experience - their quirks and fixations stubbornly wrapped up as metaphorical leftovers.” – Literary Review of Canada
Brown Girl in the Ring – Nalo Hopkinson
“Excellent…a bright, original mix of future urban decay and West Indian magic…strongly rooted in character and place.” – Sunday Denver Post
The Polished Hoe – Austin Clarke
The Polished Hoe is a magnificent, breath-taking plunge into the secret depths of human relations… Clarke is a master at capturing the flavour and nuance of language and weaving its local intricacies into universal stories. — Wayne Grady of the Ottawa Citizen