5 Ways to Be A Well-Read Black Girl

Well-Read Black Girl Presents The Annual Writers’ Festival at Pioneer Works – November 10th, 2018 – Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY – www.kolinmendez.com

There is so much in the stories that is rooted in activism and solidarity. Books are the foundation of the community we’ve built, and activism is a part of that. I believe that reading is activism.


Well-Read Black Girl is an organization, founded by Glory Edim, that provides an online book club, in-person book club meetings in select cities, a newsletter, and hosts podcasts and an annual WRBG festival in New York. The organization stands as a community that provides a safe space for black women and values the elevation of Black voices and education. Essentially, Well-Read Black Girl is a safe-space designed specifically for black women and girls that encourages learning, education, and sisterhood through the facet of literature. Through extensive research surrounding the club and their aims as a discourse community as well as data from an exclusive interview with the founder herself, I have come to understand thoroughly how to engage with and be an active member of the organization, information I feel inclined to share with others.

1. Join The Book Club

The book club contains texts, mostly by and for black women, that are hand selected by Glory Edim and her team. Reading some of these will not only allow you to understand the plight of Black authors but gain more of an understanding of Edim and her organization as well. Furthermore, the research you inherently do while reading could have the power to make you a more well-rounded individual.

2. Understand Yourself as a Reader and/or Writer.

While the club may not have specific rules, they do have guidelines for respecting others, as most communities do. In order to comply though, you must be able to critically engage with work and organize your thoughts to convey them in a meaningful and respectful way, which can sometimes be hard. A big step is to understand your own reading and writing and how you would like to be respected as a writer and reader. Some of these guidelines include:

“Critique ideas, not people. Remember to practice non-defensiveness during the discussion.”

“Be positive, non-judgmental & open to new ideas.”

“Respectfully listen and hold space for others.”

3. Take Your Research Farther.

Although reading works, actively engaging, and even discussing them can be extremely rewarding, it is unfair to expect WRBG to provide every bit of information, especially on topics that experience constant erasure. A way to even further engage with the community could be you taking your research further – reading books by Black authors that they did not recommend, watching movies of Black representation, and learning the history of Black women in literature.

4. Ask Questions

A way to truly engage with any literature is to question the things you don’t understand but in this case, especially questioning why the disparities in Black literature and representation exist. Be reflective and proactive and even if you have questions about the literature itself or the organization, the hashtag #WellReadBlackGirl is a safe space to pose questions or discuss on both Instagram and Twitter.

5. Listen to and Respect Black Voices in Your Everyday Experience.

Be sure to do your work for humanity outside of the organization. Challenge yourself to change the way our world is and make the world better for marginalized groups that are underrepresented and often unheard. While these authors are extremely admirable and respectable for their craft, people you meet everyday could hold the same talent. Beyond this, they hold humanity, which means they are equally as deserving of respect and understanding. Learn to have a willingness to listen. Unlearn the myths and stereotypes you have been told about Blackness and Black womanhood. Maybe even consider creating your own space/community to support and nurture black voices. As written so beautifully on the WRBG homepage, “Our goal is to introduce a cohort of diverse writers to future generations – contemporary authors who are non-binary, queer, trans, and disabled. To address inequalities and improve communities through reading and reflecting on the works of Black women.” It is a goal you can actively contribute to, each day.

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