What You Should Read and Watch to Go Further Inside Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country, the new series from Misha Green, Jordan Peele, and J.J. Abrams, examines the intersection of science fiction and horror and America’s racist beginnings. To go further inside the genre-defying show, here are some recommendations for what you should watch and read.

Lovecraft Country

Should you check out the novel of the same name? Of course! Matt Ruff’s book, like the TV series, explores the connection between H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories and racism during the Jim Crow era of the United States.

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love

Artist Kara Walker is known for her sprawling works depicting historical narratives, including the sexuality and violence of the antebellum South.

“The Call of the Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft

Written in 1926 and first published in 1928, the short story is one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous and includes the introduction of the cosmic entity known as the Cthulhu.

“The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” by Audre Lorde

In her 1978 essay, feminist Audre Lorde detailed “The Erotic,” a source of power found within women.

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler

In a collection of science fiction essays is author Octavia E. Butler’s famous work, Bloodchild, a story about the bond between an alien race and humans. The insect-like aliens impregnate human males on a foreign planet.

Paradise by Toni Morrison

The 1997 novel by acclaimed author Toni Morrison tells the story of the genesis of Ruby, an all-Black town founded by descendants of freed slaves, and the group of Convent women who come into the crosshairs of nine men from Ruby.

“You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body is a Confederate Monument” by Carolyn Randall Williams

Published in The New York Times in June 2020, poet Carolyn Randall Williams’ opinion piece about the destruction of Confederate monuments calls on readers to see the history of Black Americans, the Civil War and ensuing Jim Crow laws beyond statutes. The author details her genealogy and why, she, a Black woman, is a walking reminder of the Civil War.

“The American Dream and the American Negro” by James Baldwin

Writer James Baldwin took part in a debate with William F. Buckley at The Cambridge Union in 1965. The two tackled whether the American dream was achieved at the expense of Black Americans.

Gordon Parks’ photography

Over the years, Gordon Parks chronicled the lives of Black Americans throughout the country, first in Chicago and later with the Farm Security Administration. He documented the nation’s social conditions, including a famous photography series with Ella Watson, a woman who cleaned the FSA building. Parks worked for the government, in the fashion world and with Life magazine.

O.J.: Made in America

The Oscar-winning documentary by Ezra Edelman for ESPN looked at the intersection of race and celebrity through the rise of O.J. Simpson, his subsequent murder trial following the death of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, his acquittal of the charges, and his later imprisonment on robbery charges.

Underground

Created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, starring Jurnee Smollett and with music from John Legend, Underground followed a group of slaves banding together to escape along the Underground Railroad in the 1850s.

Black Panthers: Vanguard of Revolution

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson Jr. examined the rise—and impact—of the Black Panther Party in this documentary film.

For a deeper dive on the influences behind Lovecraft Country, listen to Lovecraft Country Radio, the companion podcast hosted by Shannon Houston and Ashley C. Ford.

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