Black Market Reads is available on Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, Libsyn, and many other platforms – look for us on your favorite and SUBSCRIBE so you never miss an episode!

The Givens Foundation for African American Literature


Black Market Reads is a project of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. The Givens Foundation  remains the only organization in Minnesota exclusively dedicated to advancing and celebrating black literature and writers. Each year, we serve nearly 6,000 students, educators, readers, and writers. Black Market Reads is made possible through the generous support of our individual donors, Target Foundation, and the voters of Minnesota, through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. For more information about The Givens Foundation, visit their website. (http://www.givens.org)

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Lissa Jones – Host

I was acting Director of the Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center, and was teaching a class in community about the inventor, Frederick McKinley Jones, the man who invented the snowmobile, and Edie French was in the audience. After the class, Edie introduced me to ‘Black Market Reads’, and I fell in LOVE. The rest, as they say, is more history than mystery.  Would I,  a radio host of 9 years at the time, read some books by African American/Black authors and then interview them about their work? Was she joking? Was I dreaming? The stars were aligned and all was right with my world!

That’s how it got started Beauties. Duchess Harris, Ph.D., who inspired the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ was my inaugural interview, and I was hooked!

I love to read. I love to read something every day. Reading helps me transcend the limitations of my own thinking and experience, and calls me to examine places I might never have explored had I not discovered them in a book.

Now,  I get to rap with you, about the books I’m reading, and you get to hear directly from the inquisitive, emotional, intellectual, spiritual experiences of black people, who take pen to paper to help affirm us, to challenge us, to examine us, to amplify us, and to help us work out, this life we live, in black. Can you dig it? – Lissa

Learn more about Lissa. Visit https://www.lissajones.com/

Production Partner


Black Market Reads is powered by The Givens Foundation’s media partner iDream.tv.

iDream.tv is a full-service, award-winning media production company. Supporting the communication goals of clients in government, education, and non-profit sectors.

iDream.tv Production Team: Paul Auguston, Edie French, Maya Auguston.

Artwork courtesy of Ta-coumba T. Aiken


Storytelling comes in many forms. Our banner art is provided courtesy of artist, storyteller, and community builder Ta-coumba Aiken. Ta-coumba also created the cover art for Blues Vision, featured in a BMR Season One Book Club episode and a BMR Season Three episode with Blues Vision editor Alexs Pate.

To learn more about Ta-coumba’s work, visit: https://www.ta-coumba.com/

Additional Voice work by Derek Emery


Transition tags for Black Market Reads provided by Yo Derek (aka Derek Emery). Derek ramps up the excitement at local clubs with his killin’ DJ skills, and ramps up success for youth through EXCEPTIONAL YOU, an organization he started to develop positive leadership skills in students and help youth make a positive difference in their lives.

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