Michigan State graduate Triniti Watson is bringing back the MSU Black Book, a resource guide for incoming Black MSU students.
Inspired by Victor Hugo Green’s “Green Book,” which was made to let Black people know which businesses would give them service in the 30s through the 60s, Watson said the Black Book provides a community for Black MSU students.
“What the Black Book is, is a resource guide book for Black MSU students,” Watson said. “Within this book, you’ll find a wide range of resources that are all Black-centered. … Essentially, the function of the book is to allow folks to visualize the community that exists at State, and then to also start to build connections across those resources.”
Former MSU Professor Jasmine Lee and four undergraduate students — Watson, Alexis Frederick, Alexis Wright and Jazmyn Bradford — created the Black Book in 2018, when Watson was a sophomore.
Lee left the university in 2018, and while Watson said there were conversations about keeping the book alive after her departure, there was never any follow-up — that is, until now, when Watson decided to bring it back herself.
Watson received a grant to bring the book back, and after asking for volunteers, found that there was high interest in the project.
Watson said she brought back the book because of the community it builds among Black students.
“I think, at the end of the day, it's just really an effort to make sure that Black MSU can stay connected with one another, and they can visualize all the help that does exist at our school,” Watson said. “I think a lot of times, especially entering predominately white spaces, it can be hard for Black students to just navigate (higher education). So, I want this book to continue to exist. So, as folks enter this space, they can see who else is there to guide them on their academic journeys.”
Things in the previous edition of the Black Book included Black student businesses and services, Black registered student organizations, bus routes and other student success resources.
Despite the 2018 edition’s focus on undergraduate students, Watson said she wants to incorporate more Black graduate students in future editions.
“As far as new editions, I’m just thinking about how I can really hone in on that collaboration piece, and just extending out calls for people to be brought into this book,” Watson said. “So, whether it’s Black grads, or just thinking about Black folks at MSU from different fields. … Just trying to make this a really holistic thing so everyone does feel included.”
Watson hopes to complete the book and get it out by fall 2021, so incoming Black freshmen can have access to it.