“We needed a campaign within the Black community, and Detroit in particular, to emphasize the importance of reading Black books as a way of becoming familiar with our own cultural and historical experience,” says Malik Yakini, co-founder of September is Black Reading Month, which is now in its 43rd year. The annual observance encourages the Black community to read books, magazines and journals written by Black authors as a way to deepen their understanding and knowledge of the African American community’s history and culture. 

“Our idea then, as well as now, is that this profound sense of being informed about our own culture and history is necessary for us to move forward in a sane and balanced way,” Yakini says.

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During September is Black Reading Month, Yakini joins “American Black Journal” for a conversation with host Stephen Henderson about why he wants people to read the works of Black authors during September. Plus, they talk about the importance of patronizing Black bookstores and improving literacy rates in the Black community. 

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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.