Black History Month is a time for everyone to educate themselves on the history and culture of African-Americans in the United States, but many people simply donâ€™t know where to start. To help you, The Voice-Tribune along with our friends at Carmichaelâ€™s have assembled a list of tantalizing reads on the subject. Rock star journalist for The Atlantic, National Book Award-winner and upcoming writer for Marvelâ€™s Black Panther monthly comic, Ta-Nehisi Coates also revealed a â€œrequired readingâ€ list of books (full list can be found at nypl.org) he considers helpful for anyone in this endeavor. Weâ€™ve used some of those books and also picked a few more. Try cracking one open this month and learn something new!
â€œThe Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalismâ€ by Edward E. Baptist – Historian Edward Baptist reveals in â€œThe Half Has Never Been Toldâ€ how the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States.
â€œShowdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed Americaâ€ by Wil Haygood – This stunning new biography by the author of â€œThe Butlerâ€ reveals how Thurgood Marshall brought down the separate-but-equal doctrine, integrated schools and not only fought for human rights and human dignity but also made them impossible to deny in the courts and in the streets.
â€œMarchâ€ by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell – This graphic novel series is a firsthand account of Congressman John Lewisâ€™ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights.
â€œThe Selloutâ€ by Paul Beatty – A biting satire about the isolated upbringing of a young man from the southern outskirts of Los Angeles and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.
â€œThe White Boy Shuffleâ€ by Paul Beatty – If you liked â€œThe Sellout,â€ you might try Paul Beattyâ€™s first novel. Itâ€™s a scathingly irreverent look at modern day African-American â€œstreetâ€ culture and some of itâ€™s more ludicrous characteristics.
â€œâ€˜Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?â€™â€ by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D. – Beverly Daniel Tatum emerged on the national scene in 1997 with â€œWhy Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?â€ â€“ a book that spoke to a wide audience about the psychological dynamics of race relations in America. Tatumâ€™s unique ability to get people talking about race captured the attention of many, from Oprah Winfrey to President Clinton, who invited her to join him in his nationally televised dialogue on race.
â€œWelcome to Braggsvilleâ€ by T. Geronimo Johnson – Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, Dâ€™aron Davenport is a small-town fish floundering in the depths of the large, hyper-liberal pond of UC Berkeley. Everything changes in his American History class, when Dâ€™aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War re-enactment.
â€œGod Help the Childâ€ by Toni Morrison – The newest novel by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison explores the brokenness of adults caused by their traumatic childhoods. At the heart of the novel is a love story between a woman named Bride and a man named Booker.
â€œCitizenâ€ by Claudia Rankine – Claudia Rankineâ€™s National Book Award in Poetry finalist recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in 21st century daily life and in the media.
â€œBetween the World and Meâ€ by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Ta-Nehisi Coatesâ€™ latest book serves as the current winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction. In a letter to his adolescent son, CoatesÂ pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son.
â€œThe Beautiful Struggleâ€ by Ta-Nehisi Coates – This earlier book could serve as an interesting follow-up to â€œBetween the World and Me,â€ as Coates recounts stories of his own father.
â€œDr. Kingâ€™s Last Dayâ€ by Senator Georgia M. Powers – A former Kentucky Senator describes the hours before the assassination of one of American historyâ€™s biggest proponents for change.