Beginning this month, I will recommend four or five books written by Black Authors. These books will educate, provoke thought, and challenge your assumptions.
In return, I ask that you support these Black voices by purchasing with intention, reading, and using these books as a starting point to seek other Black authors whose work you will purchase. Make no mistake, I love libraries, but paying Black thinkers for our work is one of many ways you can fight against the notion we are not worthy of being paid for our labor. Once you have purchased the books, keep them visible in your homes, and share them with others. Make these voices a part of your everyday lives.
How to Be an Antiracist
The opposite of racist isn’t “not racist”. It is “anti-racist”.
What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist.
Anti-racism is actively working to dismantle the systems of racism in which we have all been socialized to believe is the way it should be. It is not enough to say that you are not racist. You must be willing to counteract racism through active choices even if it means you are uncomfortable.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley
Human rights! Respect as human beings! That’s what America’s black masses want. That’s the true problem. The black masses want not to be shrunk from as though they are plague-ridden. They want not to be walled up in slums, in the ghettoes, like animals. They want to live in an open, free society where they can walk with their heads up, like men, and women!
Passing by Nella Larsen
She said: “It’s funny about ‘passing.’ We disapprove of it and at the same time condone it. It excites our contempt and yet we rather admire it. We shy away from it with an odd kind of revulsion, but we protect it.”
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
I thought about the baby that everybody wanted dead, and saw it very clearly. It was in a dark, wet place, its head covered with great O’s of wool, the black face holding, like nickels, two clean black eyes, the flared nose, kissing-thick lips, and the living, breathing silk of black skin. No synthetic yellow bangs suspended over marble-blue eyes, no pinched nose and bowline mouth. More strongly than my fondness for Pecola, I felt a need for someone to want the black baby to live—just to counteract the universal love of white baby dolls, Shirley Temples, and Maureen Peals.
Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Davis
The prison is not the only institution that has posed complex challenges to the people who have lived with it and have become so inured to its presence that they could not conceive of society without it. Within the history of the United States the system of slavery immediately comes to mind. Although as early as the American Revolution antislavery advocates promoted the elimination of African bondage, it took almost a century to achieve the abolition of the “peculiar institution.” White antislavery abolitionists such as John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison were represented in the dominant media of the period as extremists and fanatics. When Frederick Douglass embarked on his career as an antislavery orator, white people—even those who were passionate abolitionists—refused to believe that a black slave could display such intelligence. The belief in the permanence of slavery was so widespread that even white abolitionists found it difficult to imagine black people as equals.
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