“GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp” is a history podcast not only dedicated to Black trailblazers, foremothers, and brave resistors, but it is also a way to heal and find community through walking. Every episode is meant to be listened to outside as part of a meditative 21-day walking regimen. “GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp” explores pivotal people, moments, and movements in Black history, from the great Queen Nzinga to the Haitian Revolution to Roots.
With nearly 90 episodes, “GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp” has been going strong since 2020. Episodes are typically 45 minutes long and hosted by GirlTrek’s co-founders Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison.
GirlTrek‘s mission is to have Black women and girls in the United States use daily walks as a practical first step towards healthier people, families, and communities. As they say in their mission statement, “As women organize walking teams, they mobilize community members to support monthly advocacy efforts and lead a civil rights-inspired health movement.”
So, GirlTrek’s podcast is here to not only help listeners get out and walk for at least 30 minutes a day, but to teach and honor Black history from across the globe. They have released multiple, 21-part series in the past year and a half, each series focused on the Black cosmonauts, foremothers, and resistances throughout history. They also have a 21-day prayer edition series, telling the stories of people like Anita Hill, Colin Kaepernick, Tina Turner, Maya Angelou, Jesse Owens in relation to Bible verses that they personify.
Every episode is a celebration of Black stories and history lessons that guide people today. Hear the incredible story of Queen Nzinga, also spelt Nzingha and Njinga, her name delightfully being described as defying the English alphabet, of Ndongo and Matamba. While her brother ruled initially, she was an ambassador to the Portuguese Empire, demonstrating an incomparable skill for defusing political crises. When her brother died, she took over the throne, ruling in the 1600s at the very spot the transatlantic slave trade began. As European colonizers began to move farther and farther inward from the African coast, searching for more Africans to enslave, she waged a battle against the entire Portuguese Empire.
A brilliant tactical and political mind, she fought for liberation and protected her people for her 37-year reign from the colonizers. Despite the Portuguese attempts to tarnish her name and reputation, Dixon and Garrison tell us the true story of the powerful queen.
Every story from “GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp” is more interesting than the last. Dixon and Garrison cover world history, music history, pop culture history, and more. Listen to the story of the late Desmond Tutu in an episode recorded in late 2020 before he passed, or Malcolm X and the Shabazz Family. Hear about Crispus Attucks, also known as The Black Patriot, who escaped enslavement but ended up as the first American colonist killed in the American Revolution in the Boston Massacre.
Learn about the Harlem Hellfighters and Queen Nanny of Jamaica, educator/political campaigner/activist Mary Church Terrell and filmmaker/musician/activist Bree Newsome Bass. There is so much history packed in this amazing podcast, how can you afford to not listen? Dixon and Garrison are engaging not only in their storytelling and in their back-and-forth, it’s easy to hear how each story they share is a celebration of Black juggernauts.