For Black History Month, we celebrate renowned author Nic Stone

Gina Conforti and Lauren Rupsis

As we begin celebrating Black History Month, it is important to acknowledge some of the African Americans who are changing the way we view equality in the world today. Nic Stone, a recent New York Times best selling author, is an African American woman who writes about issues fighting against inequality. Her newest book, Jackpot, released in 2019, looks into how different classes and privileges affect people’s lives. 

Nic Stone grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Spelman College and worked in teen mentoring. At age twenty-three, she moved to Israel for a few years in search of her identity. On her road to self-discovery, she soon realized that she could be an author since she loved the story of human experience.

She moved back to the United States to write full time and made it her goal to bring alive diverse stories and backgrounds to her work. Her motivation for this was that she spent a lot of her time in school being a lone African American surrounded by white kids and only getting the experience of reading books about white characters. When a black character was mentioned, they were usually a slave or of lower class than the rest of the characters. 

Stone believed that books should be representative of all people equally. She did not think it was fair that many African Americans were not fairly represented in the books she was exposed to during her life. 

In her bestselling book, Dear Martin, Stone writes about an intelligent African American boy who is a victim of racial profiling. Here, she examines the issues of race inequality.

“As a member of the black community, I appreciate the light that she shed on real pressing issues,” Naugatuck High School junior, Arianna Boswell said after recently reading the novel. 

Stone was also motivated by the experiences of other people she had met in Israel that were treated unfairly, including a Palestinian Christian girl who was harrassed due to her faith and an orthodox Jewish man whose family had been killed by Palestinian militiants. 

“As I listened to these stories and made an attempt at empathy… my perspectives shifted. Life became less about right and wrong, good and bad, black and white, and more about complexity and nuance, the power of the human being to bring either calm or chaos into the lives of others and the world around them. Storytelling revealed itself as a means of getting people to listen without interrupting. Done well, it engages listeners/readers to the point where they’re completely oblivious to the shifts in worldview taking place as a result of stepping into a different perspective,” wrote Nic Stone.

Stone’s lectures and workshops explore how literature can impact social change and disrupt normality. She shows this through critical thinking and discussion usually aimed at teenagers, educators, and aspiring writers. She has worked extensively in teen mentoring and challenges her audience to step out of their comfort zone and write about intense topics to embrace their inner power.

Stone shares, in an episode of “88 Cups of Tea,” how to create emotional resonance in our own work by being vulnerable and writing like a reader. She discusses the importance of having an honest and visionary editor, and the importance of portraying a diverse representation in the publishing industry.

Stone’s newest book, Jackpot, reaches her goal of diverse storytelling because it addresses the humanity in people of varying status’ and the issues with economic inequality. 

“Stone delivers a thoughtful and polished novel about class, privilege, and relative poverty,” one reader stated.

Nic Stone embodies an African American who is making a difference and changing the way people view human differences in the world today.

“I wanted to tell the stories that weren’t being told, the ones featuring diverse characters in non-stereotypical roles, the ones that blurred the line between ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’the ones that reveal the humanity in those who are underrepresented or misunderstood,” wrote Stone.