Stephanie Stokes Oliver Black Ink

UpZones #3: Stephanie Stokes Oliver

Episode #3: Ian talks with author and magazine editor Stephanie Stokes Oliver about her latest book, Black Ink, an anthology of black writers from Frederick Douglass to Barack Obama.   She reminisces about the Black communities of Seattle past, recounts her stories as a journalist and editor with New York high-fashion publications of the 1980s, and dives into what makes Nikki Giovanni such a special writer.

Spanning over 250 years of history, Black Ink traces black literature in America from Frederick Douglass to Ta-Nehisi Coates in this masterful collection of twenty-five illustrious and moving essays on the power of the written word.

About Stephanie Stokes Oliver

Stephanie Stokes Oliver is an editor, author, and writer who heads SSO Media, an international consulting firm that specializes in book, magazine, and digital publishing. She serves as a literary scout for Simon & Schuster’s Atria Book Group, and as author curator for the Anguilla Lit Fest. Starting her career at Glamour magazine, she was also served as editor of Essence, and founding editor-in-chief of Heart & Soul. Most recently, Stephanie was vice-president of Unity Publishing. She and her husband Reginald split their time between Seattle and Anguilla.

For more information about Stephanie Stokes Oliver and her work, visit her website,

Throughout American history, black people are the only group of people to have been forbidden by law to learn to read. Stephanie Stokes Oliver’s newest book Black Ink seeks to shed light on that injustice and subjugation, as well as the hard-won literary progress made, putting some of America’s most cherished voices in a conversation in one magnificent volume that presents reading as an act of resistance. Black Ink explores these issues while placing each of these histories in context and solidifying their contributions.

You can order a copy of Black Ink directly from the publisher Simon and Schuster here. 

The foreword was written by Nikki Giovanni. Contributors include Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, Walter Dean Myers, Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture], Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Terry McMillan, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Colson Whitehead.

The anthology features a bonus in-depth interview with President Barack Obama.

Episodes of Upzones Air Every Monday. See all episodes here.


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