Beyond Black History Month: Black-Led Nonprofits to Support, History and Poets to Read

For Black History Month we once again share a list of community groups, nonprofits, historical resources, and artists.

The list of black-led nonprofits contains links to websites and/or donation information.

If you want to expand your poetry reading list, we include an extensive (and growing) list of recommendations. We have organized poets by region (alphabetized by first name). 

Where possible a poet’s name links to available bios, websites, social media, or purchase information for books.

Care in Community 

 Black Women Speak  Centers black women’s lives by cultivating a community with black women, giving voice to their experiences as a way to heal, find joy, and move towards liberation on their own terms. To Donate

 Minnesota Healing Justice Network  Provides a supportive professional community and mutual aid network for wellness and healing justice practitioners who also identify as IBPOC (indigenous, black, or people of color). To Donate

Black Health Alliance Canada Community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada. To Donate

 Justice Work

 Black Visions Collective  “We aim to center our work in healing and transformative justice principles, intentionally develop our organizations’ core ‘DNA’ to ensure sustainability, and develop Minnesota’s emerging Black leadership to lead powerful campaigns.”

 Campaign Zero Work entails “the analysis of policing practices across the America, research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide.”

 The People’s Paper Co-op A social justice and entrepreneurial project that brings individuals with criminal records together to run a craft-based business. All of our products were designed and handmade by our co-op members. All profits go directly into the co-op to expand our co-op membership and help our members be the amazing artists, activists, educators, and neighbors they want to be. Participant of the yearly Mama’s Day Bail Out campaign the goal of which is to free black mothers and caregivers for Mother’s Day

 Local Nonprofits, Consulting, and Community Groups

 Black Women Connect  A collective of women who come together to inspire, empower, leverage strengths, and embrace diverse experiences.

 Black Lives Matter Vancouver Working against police brutality and anti-blackness and uplifting black voices. 

 Bakau Consulting Diversity and inclusion consulting firm.

 The Hogan’s Alley Society Advocates for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative.


History to Learn

The Haitians A Decolonial History, By Jean Casimir

Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project Blogspot: a grassroots cultural organization formed in 2002. Dedicated to keeping the black history of Vancouver alive and part of the present 

“Remembering Hogan’s Alley, hub of Vancouver’s black community”,  CBC covers writer and activist Wayde Compton, the co-founder of the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project

Black Strathcona: Website documenting the history of Black Strathcona

Go do some great thing: The black pioneers of British Columbia,  By Crawford Kilian

“Black Strathcona: Hogan’s Alley” Youtube , narrated by Dana Matthews

On the Life and Legacy of Black Journalist Louise Lomax, By Joshua Clark Davis

Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire, By Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel

Chronicling Stankonia, The Rise of the Hip-Hop South, By Regina Bradley

We Are Not Slaves, State Violence, Coerced Labor, And Prisoners’ Rights in Post war America, By Robert T Chase

Magema Fuze: The Making of a Kholwa Intellectual, by Hlonipha Mokoena

Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Home Ownership, By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South (Gender and Race in American History),  By Angel David Nieves

Poets to Add to Your Reading List




Brandon Wint Vancouver, BC. Brandon is an Ontario born poet and spoken word artist, he is the author of the collection of poetry; Divine Animal. His poems and essays have been published in national anthologies, including The Great Black North: Contemporary African-Canadian Poetry (Frontenac House, 2013) and Black Writers Matter (University of Regina Press, 2019).

Chelene Knight Vancouver, BC. Founder of Breathing Space Creative. Chelene is the author of the  poetry collection Braided Skin Her poem, her poem “Welwitschia” won the 2020 CV2 Editor’s Choice award. 

Dana De Samedi: Williams Lake, BC. Dana is a talented writer and performer. He writes and performs spoken word poetry. Dana has completed an original Hip-Hop song from recording to post-production, written scripts for his podcast and creates and edits his own promotional material.

Jillian Christmas Vancouver, BC. Spoken word curator of the Vancouver Writers Fest and the former Artistic Director of Vancouver’s Verses Festival of Words. Jillian represented both Toronto and Vancouver at 11 national poetry events.
In addition to The Gospel of Breaking, a poetry collection (publisher information linked) she is the author of the children’s book The Magic Shell.

K.P. Dennis Vancouver, BC. 2016 Youth Poet Laureate of Victoria, the 2017 recipient of the VACCS Community recognition Award, and in 2020 they received the Witness Legacy Award for Social Purpose and Responsibility Through Art.

Rabbit Richards Vancouver, BC.  Rabbit is a Brooklyn-born poet focused on anti-oppression and accessibility work. They frequently collaborate with visual artists, instrumentalists, DJs, and educators. 

Sonya Littlejohn Vancouver, BC. Sonya was born and raised in Chimney Valley, Williams Lake, traditional, ancestral and unceded Secwepemculucw. Her poetry has appeared in Other Tongues, Sustenance and the lit journal Oratorealis. 

Tolu Oloruntoba Vancouver, BC. Tolu Oloruntoba’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His debut chapbook, Manubrium, was a bpNichol Chapbook Award finalist. The Junta of Happenstance is his first full-length collection of poetry.

Wayde Compton Vancouver, BC. The author of two books of poetry, 49th Parallel Psalm (Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize finalist) and Performance Bond


Ahmed (Knowmadic) Ali, Edmonton, AB. Knowmadic is the  co-founder and was the artistic director of Edmonton’s only spoken word collective: Breath In Poetry.

Ian Keteku Calgary, AB. Ian is a poet, musician and freelance journalist. His debut book of poetry Black Abacus is published by Write Bloody North.

Khodi Dill Saskatoon, SK.  Khodi Dill is a writer, educator, public speaker, and spoken word artist.

Nasra Adem, Edmonton, AB. Former Youth Poet Laureate of Edmonton, Nasra helped launch the Black Arts Matter festival and is curator of Sister 2 Sister: an artist collective for/by femmes of colour. Author of  A God Dance in Human Cloth.

Titilope Sonuga Edmonton, AB. Titilope is a leading voice in local and international poetry communities, and has facilitated poetry workshops throughout the world. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Down to Earth (2011), Abscess (2014), and This Is How We Disappear (2019); she has also released two spoken word albums, Mother Tongue (2011) and Swim (2019). 



Eddie Lartey, Hamilton, ON. 2022. Eddie is Canadian Spoken Word Champion and champion at the international Abya Yala Copa “América” de Poetry Slam.

Ian Williams  Toronto, ON. Ian’s book Personals, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award. His first book of poetry, You Know Who You Are, was shortlisted for the ReLit Awards.

Ifrah Hussein Toronto, ON. 2017. Ifrah is a Canadian Individual Poetry Slam champion and a 2018 World Cup of Slam Poetry finalist. Author of An Anthology of Grief: Or the Ways a Somali Woman Loves.

Lillian Allen Toronto, ON.  Allen grew up in Jamaica and Studied in New York and Toronto.  She is the founder of the Toronto International Dub Poetry Festival and a variety of cultural organizations such as Fresh Arts that empower youth.
Allen has spent over three decades writing, publishing, performing and doing workshop presentations. 

Olive Senior Toronto, ON.  Olive is a Jamaican poet, novelist, short story and non-fiction writer. She was awarded the Musgrave Gold Medal in 2005 by the Institute of Jamaica for her contributions to literature. 

Randell Adjei  Toronto, ON.  Randell was the first Poet Laureate of Ontario.  He published his debut book I Am Not My Struggles in 2018.

Sydellia Ndiaye Toronto, ON. Sydellia is champion of the Toronto Poetry Slam 2022 and 2nd place winner of the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam.

Tawhida Tanya Evanson Montreal, QC. Tawhida Tanya Evanson is a poet, author, multidisciplinary artist, producer and arts educator with a 25-year practice in spoken word poetry. Her two poetry collections are Bothism (Ekstasis 2017) and Nouveau Griot.



Andre Fenton, Halifax, N.S. Is an award-winning African Nova Scotian author, spoken-word artist, and arts educator who has represented Halifax at seven national poetry festivals across Canada.

El Jones Halifax, N.S. El’s book  Live From the Afrikan Resistance!  is a collection of poems about resisting white colonialism. 

George Elliott Clarke, Windsor, N.S. With an extensive body of work George is the Winner the Governor General’s Award for poetry for his book Execution Poems, as well as the National Magazine Gold Medal for Poetry. The 2021 book J’Accuse! (Poem versus Silence) was shortlisted for the 2022 ReLit Award for poetry.





Amanda Gorman Los Angeles, CA. Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, The Hill We Climb And Other Poems is her debut poetry collection.

Morgan Parker Los Angeles, CA. Poet, essayist, and novelist. Morgan is author of the poetry collections Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and Magical Negro, which won the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Rudy Francisco San Diego, CA.  Rudy is one of the most recognizable names in Spoken Word Poetry. He is the co-host of the largest poetry venue in San Diego, competes in domestic and international poetry slam competitions and had the honor of being nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Saul Williams Los Angeles, CA. Saul Williams is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, musician, poet, writer, and actor. 

Warsan Shire Los Angeles, CA. Warsan Shire is a Somali British writer and poet born in Nairobi and raised in London. She has written two chapbooks, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and Her Blue Body.
She was awarded the inaugural Brunel International African Poetry Prize and served as the first Young Poet Laureate of London.



Gwendolyn Brooks An American poet, author, and teacher. Brooks was the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize. Her first collection was A Street in Bronzeville (1945) The Bean Eaters (1960) is considered to contain some of her best verse. In 1985–86 Brooks was Library of Congress consultant in poetry
*1917 (Kansas)-2000 

Langston Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. A major poet, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays.
*1902 (Missouri)-1967 

Saeed Jones Columbus, OH. Saeed’s poems examine race, desire, power, and grief, and incorporate mythology as well as “black iconography.” He is the author of the books Prelude to Bruise and Alive at the End of the World. 

Scott Woods Columbus, OH. Scott Woods is a librarian, writer, poet and critic that runs one of the most successful poetry open mics in the Midwest. He is the author of the books;, Urban Contemporary History Month and We Over Here Now. 



Ariana Brown Houston, TX. Ariana Brown is a Black Mexican American poet with thirteen years of experience writing, performing, and teaching poetry. She holds a B.A. in African Diaspora Studies and Mexican American Studies from UT Austin, an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh.
Ariana’s work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Literary Hub, Rattle, and The Acentos Review

Arna Bontemps  was a writer of the Harlem Renaissance. Bontemps was a poet, novelist, historian, anthologist and archivist
*1902 (Louisiana)-1973

Frank X Walker: Danville, Kentucky. Walker coined the word “Affrilachia”, signifying the importance of the African-American presence in Appalachia. He was the 2013 Poet Laureate of Kentucky.

Henry Dumas  Posthumous collections of Dumas’s poetry include Play Ebony, Play Ivory (1974) and Knees of a Natural Man: The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas (1989).
*1934 (Arkansas)-1968

Maya Angelou Angelou had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but became most famous as a writer, editor, essayist, playwright, and poet. Her well-know collections include; Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie, The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, and Phenomenal Woman
*1928 (Missouri) -2014

Margaret Williams The daughter of a minister Margaret moved from Birmingham Alabama to New Orleans Louisiana as a child. At the age of 15, she showed a few of her poems to Langston Hughes, on a speaking tour at the moment, who recognised her talent.he moved north to Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University. she received her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa. Walker’s first collection of poetry, For My People (1942) won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Walker was the first Black woman to ever receive the prestigious award. Her first novel, Jubilee (1966), is regarded as “the first truly historical black American novel,” according to Washington Post contributor Crispin Y. Campbell.

*1915 (Illinois)- 1998

Nikki Giovanni Blacksburg, VA. Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet and one of the foremost authors of the Black Arts Movement, her notable books of poetry are Black Judgment and Those Who Ride the Night Winds. Recent work include Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose; Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid. 

Paul Laurence Dunbar Was one of the first influential Black poets in American literature, and was internationally acclaimed for his dialectic verse in collections such as Majors and Minors (1895) and Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896).
*1872 (Kentucky) -1906 

princess mcdowell Dallas, TX.  Poet, writer and journalist. Cohost of the Feminist Erotica Podcast. princess competed on the 2013 Dallas Slam Team and served as Volunteer Coordinator for the 2017 and 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam in addition to being the associate director of the youth poetry slam nonprofit Dallas Youth Poets.

Rita Dove Charlottesville, VA. Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1987. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995.   Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006.



Audre Lorde  Was a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustice.
*1934 (New York)-1992

Kevin Young New York, NY.  Young is the author of many books of poetry, including Brown, Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995–2015, and Book of Hours. Three of Young’s books form what he calls “an American trilogy”: To Repel Ghosts (2001), which explores the paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat; Jelly Roll (2003), a collection of blues poems;  and Black Maria (2005), a film noir.

Phillis Wheatley Was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. Her work includes; Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, An Elegy, Sacred to the Memory of that Great Divine, The Reverend and Learned Dr. Samuel Cooper, Liberty and Peace, A Poem
* 1753 (Massachusetts)-1784

Tracy K Smith Cambridge, MA. Tracy is the author of four books of poetry; The Body’s Question (2003), Duende (2007), Life on Mars (2011),  and Wade in the Water (2018). Professor of English and of African and African American Studies.

Yolanda Wisher Philadelphia, PA. Yolanda is a poet, singer, educator, and curator. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Poem-a-Day and has been commissioned by the Institute for Contemporary Art, HealthSpark, the Statue of Peace Plaza Committee, CBC Radio, and Philadelphia Jazz Project. 

Yrsa Daley-Ward Brooklyn, NY and London, England. Yrsa is  the author of the Poetry collections Bone, and The How.


 *If there is a poet you want on this list please feel free to share