Cover Image: Black Earth Wisdom

Black Earth Wisdom

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and publishers for the opportunity to read and review! This was such an insightful and inspirational read! So much knowledge placed in the book gave me even more love and joy for our earth. I always love learning about BIPOC's connection to the earth and finding certain things that were revered in one community to be the same or similar with respect to the region of flora and fauna. Honestly, I recommend anyone to read the book to find more beauty in Mother Earth and learn how many cultures cultivate ways to be connected with our earth and revere it as well!
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I love this book. The way it is set up as interviews with various individuals in various fields of knowledge is outstanding! It is very interesting to read the different interpretations of Earth Wisdom from the Black perspective, and Indigenous people are also represented. They are the stewards of the land. The BIPOC connection to the Earth (and the earth) is palpable throughout this book and it is a call to not only BIPOC individuals seeking connection to their historical and cultural roots and the roots of the Earth, but it is also for people of my own skin tone (white) who should be advised to take a broader look at their understanding of this rock we all live on, take advice from those who are and have always been more deeply connected to what truly matters, and feel more deeply in congress with the Earth.
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There is so much knowledge in this one book. Highly recommend! 

"It is hard for Western humans to relinquish the idea that they are in charge of everything. They want to go where they please and do what they want. They want to subdue all the Indigenous people and shift from one place to another. The broken world we are living in is sustained by brute force."
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Black Earth Wisdom by Leah Penniman is on of the most powerful books of essays I have ever read. I am incredibly thankful to have been approved for this arc and this will certainly be a book I will be rereading and purchasing a physical copy of asap.
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Penniman has compiled a collection of conversations with some of the most distinguished Black environmental thinkers alive. “Thinkers” is defined broadly—these luminaries are not only scholars, but also farmers, faith leaders, musicians, and climate organizers. An expansive conception of how to do environmental work is a great strength of this collection. Some notable names are Carolyn Finney, Alice Walker, Toshi Reagon, and Dorceta Taylor.

Penniman, herself a farmer, orients each interview with a bit of theoretical and historical context; by the end of the collection, we’ve hit a lot of the landmarks of Black environmental history. Her questions are anchored in a deep respect, and the interviewees both give overviews of their work and respond on the fly to her and each other. I did sometimes wish the questions had become a bit more probing, or that there had been more follow-up—some of the responses and concepts remained a little vague. I could see this volume, easily divided into short excerpts, being really useful for teaching, especially in environmental humanities courses like the ones I’ve taught. Its broad scope makes it a useful intro to a variety of environmental topics. Wish it had come out earlier!
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