I am a London-based black author and publisher. I run my own indie book publishing start-up, White Labels Books, which I funded and set up myself. I am looking to raise £50,000 to write and produce an educational history book that narrates the story of Black Lives Matter and society’s prejudices against BAME people in the 21st century. Each person who donates the book price will receive a copy.
We have all been shocked and appalled by the recent murders of unarmed African Americans, and for me, like many black people, it has brought back memories of my own experiences of racism. I have been called the ‘N’ word, both in the street and in the workplace, which went unchallenged by my white bosses. I have been falsely arrested by the police, and subjected to the humiliations of being handcuffed and strip-searched. I have routinely been discriminated against everywhere from the jobs market to online dating sites. My parents also suffered racist abuse after they arrived in the UK from Nigeria as part of the Windrush generation in 1961.
But what matters most is not this painful past, but what I am going to do now. I am determined to transform my experiences into something positive and inclusive, which gathers and unifies citizens of all ethnicities, ages and genders who believe in fairness, equality and love. Hopefully that is you.
This is the most important time in the history of the struggle for racial equality since the death of Martin Luther King in 1968 — and the Black Lives Matter movement is its global, multi-racial spearhead. I have written before about the history of the black experience, in a book called ‘Black Beauty’ published in 2000. It went on to become a bestseller, was honoured by the New York Public Library and become the subject of a three-part BBC documentary.
Discover more about Black Beauty here.
THE NEW BOOK
My proposed new book is a “sequel” which continues this literary journey. Beginning where ‘Black Beauty’ left off, this commemorative coffee table book will narrate the story of society’s prejudices against BAME people in this new century.
Written, designed and published by me, the remit is to produce a large format coffee table book consisting of approximately 30,000 words. It will be illustrated with the most comprehensive and qualitative selection of images ever assembled on the subject. Approximately 250 colour and black-and-white archival illustrations will feature, including all the key figures in the struggle. The pages will combine the best magazine covers with contemporary photographs by some of the foremost names in fashion and portrait photography. The book will observe premium production values in printing, paper and packaging.
INFORM & EDUCATE
The title will become an important educational and historical document that will both inform the growing audience of people seeking to understand how we got here, and also help ensure that the aims and values of the Black Lives Matter movement continue to resonate. Copies will be distributed to schools, libraries, universities and other academic institutions globally.
Format — hardback, illustrated
Size — 23.5 x 30.5in.
Pages — 256
The book will be available to purchase online worldwide in the summer of 2021.
The money will be used to fund the writing, production and printing of the book, as well as its PR and launch activities. The funds need to be in place by July, 30, 2020.
WHAT YOU GET
The book will retail at £45.00/$55.00. All who kindly donate this amount or more will receive a copy. I would love if people would give more than the stated sum, as a sign of their belief in my work, but to keep the process simple, donating more will not mean you get more books. Finally, it is important to say that all donations matter, and contribute to the whole, however small, and so all efforts are fully appreciated by me, and will ensure that you become a part of this historic document.
Thank you for reading. Let’s go!
Discover more about me and my work here
NOTE: This is an independent project not affiliated to the official Black Lives Matter organisation, or the representatives of recent victims of US police violence.
- Martin Austin
- Niamh OKeeffe
- Michael Bowers
- Mick Haley
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