Black History in Its Own Words | Illustrated by Ronald Wimberly | Image Comics
I always joke that February is the month where all my Black artist friends have an exhibition. And it’s funny because it’s true. Black History in Its Own Words was born out of that phenomena. In February of 2015, Black artist and comic book author Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats) was asked by The Nib to create 8 pieces of art honoring Black historical figures. He liked the result so much that he created an additional four that year and continued to create pieces in 2016 and 2017. Together, these 39 illustrations and quotes display a small but powerful cross-section of Black history.
Ranging from well-known to obscure; famous to polarizing, the figures and the quotes Wimberly has chosen make you want to dig deeper into their stories. Each illustration is accompanied by a short description giving context to the figure or their words and all of them show a deep respect to the person depicted. For instance, the accompanying text for Serena Williams credits her with being one of the greatest athletes of all time or as Wimberly simply puts it “[s]he is unequaled.” Lesser known individuals like Arturo Schomburg and Cathay Williams get their due alongside Audre Lorde and Muhammad Ali.
Wimberly even includes a controversial quote from Ice Cube which characterizes President Obama as the Black kid who went to a White school and doesn’t have any Black friends. It’s all fair game because like the title says, it’s all in our own words. This isn’t “Black History for the White Gaze”. It’s Black History like it should be; unbought and unbossed.
Black History in Its Words is available at your local comic book shops, on Amazon, and digitally at ComiXology.