Each year, we take time in February to look back at our ever growing collection of Black History titles. Since our last post, we've added lots of engaging new titles about Black History, and the stories and lived experiences of Black writers. We've also added significantly to our Social Justice Subject Area generally. This year's virtual bookshelf highlights titles that showcase Black stories and authors, in addition to titles that highlight the ways in which we can all participate in social justice and support one another. We hope you'll enjoy this selection and check out all the other stories in the Social Justice Subject Area.
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A Blessing: Women of Color Teaming Up to Lead, Empower, and Thrive by Bonita C. Stewart and Jacqueline Adams
A Blessing presents a fresh, bold analysis of African American female leadership. An unapologetic look at our often-overlooked role in America's social, political, psychological and economic history, it is armed with data that should be empowering for today's "unicorns." The book offers a "playbook" to help Black unicorns "team up" and find innovative ways to support one another as they climb, what research shows, are lonely, stressful, jagged yet ultimately rewarding ladders of opportunity.
ain't i a woman? by bell hooks
A classic work of feminist scholarship, Ain't I a Woman has become a must-read for all those interested in the nature of black womanhood. Examining the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism among feminists, and the black woman's involvement with feminism, Hooks attempts to move us beyond racist and sexist assumptions. The result is nothing short of groundbreaking, giving this book a critical place on every feminist scholar's bookshelf.
Note: bell hooks specifically chose not to capitalize her pen name on any of her writings. She did this to keep the focus on the work instead of herself as an individual. This minor grammatical change has sparked much interest over the years.
The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates' debut is an infectious, reflective memoir - a lyrical saga of surviving the crack-stricken streets of Baltimore in the '80s. Son of Vietnam vet and black awareness advocate Paul Coates - a poor man who set out to publish lost classics of black history - Ta- Nehisi drifts toward salvation at Howard University, while his ominous brother Big Bill finds his own rhythm hustling.
Darnell Rock Reporting by Walter Dean Myers
Children and adults alike will cheer for this funny, uplifting story of a troublemaker who joins the school newspaper and discovers the power of words - and uses that power to make a positive difference in his community. Darnell Rock is an especially meaningful hero for African American boys who confront many of the same pressures that Darnell faces.
Forever This Summer by Leslie C. Youngblood
Georgie has no idea what to expect when she, Mama, and Peaches are plopped down in the middle of small town USA--aka Bogalusa, Louisiana--where Mama grew up and Great Aunt Vie needs constant care. Georgie wants to help out at the once famous family diner that served celebrities like the Jackson 5 and the Supremes, but everyone is too busy to show her the ropes. Georgie makes friends with Markie--a foster kid who'd been under Aunt Elvie's care--who has a limb difference and a huge attitude. Then Markie asks Georgie to help her find her mom, and suddenly summer has a real purpose. But as Georgie and Markie's histories begin to entwine, Georgie becomes more desperate to find the truth. But words spoken cannot be taken back and once Georgie knows the truth, she may even find a way to right past wrongs and help Aunt Vie and Markie out after all.
by Barbara Ramsby
The breadth and impact of Black Lives Matter in the United States has been extraordinary. Between 2012 and 2016, thousands of people marched, rallied, held vigils, and engaged in direct actions to protest and draw attention to state and vigilante violence against Black people. What began as outrage over the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin and the exoneration of his killer, and accelerated during the Ferguson uprising of 2014, has evolved into a resurgent Black Freedom Movement, which includes a network of more than fifty organizations working together under the rubric of the Movement for Black Lives coalition. Employing a range of creative tactics and embracing group-centered leadership models, these visionary young organizers, many of them women, and many of them queer, are not only calling for an end to police violence, but demanding racial justice, gender justice, and systemic change.
Six Triple Eight by Molly Murphy
A story of an extraordinary mission of mail and morale! Overcoming the prejudice of her time, Lieutenant Colonel Charity Adams became the first Black woman to command her own battalion in World War II. Known as the “Six Triple Eight,” she and 855 Black female soldiers were assigned to take up a lost cause - sending 17 million warehoused letters and packages to the soldiers who were longing to hear from their loved ones. Though challenged with troops constantly on the move, thousands of common names, and missing addresses, the dedicated Six Triple Eight delivered the impossible in record time!
Find an activity guide for the Six Triple Eight story here, along with many others! Password is dorktales.
The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese Singh
Healing from racism is a journey that often involves reliving trauma and experiencing feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. This journey can be a bumpy ride, and before we begin healing, we need to gain an understanding of the role history plays in racial/ethnic myths and stereotypes. In so many ways, to heal from racism, you must re-educate yourself and unlearn the processes of racism. This book is not just about ending racial harm-it is about racial liberation. This journey is one that we must take together. It promises the possibility of moving through this pain and grief to experience the hope, resilience, and freedom that helps you not only self-actualize, but also makes the world a better place.
Rise Up! by Crystal M. Fleming
Why are white supremacists still openly marching in the United States? Why are undocumented children of color separated from their families and housed in cages? Where did racism come from? Why hasn’t it already disappeared? And what can young people do about it? Rise Up! breaks down the origins of racial injustice and its continued impact today, connecting dots between the past and present. By including contemporary examples ripped from headlines and actionable ways young people can help create a more inclusive world, sociologist Crystal Fleming shares the knowledge and values that unite all antiracists: compassion, solidarity, respect, and courage in the face of adversity.
X: A Biography of Malcolm X by Jessica Gunderson
Someone was trying to kill Malcolm X, and he knew who it was. From his troubled youth to his days as spokesman for the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X had much to say about race and civil rights. But when he split with the Nation of Islam, the charismatic black leader made one powerful enemy. Join him on his life-altering pilgrimage to Mecca where he discovers the power of brotherhood and the cost of racial divides.
We Can't Teach What We Don't Know by Gary Howard
For author Gary Howard, the issues and passions that sparked the writing of the First Edition of this now classic work are as intense today as they were then. In the Third Edition, Howard reviews the progress we have made in the interim, as well as the lack of progress (the gutting of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the epidemic of Black youth killed by police, and the persistence of race-based educational disparities). Making a case for the "fierce urgency of now," this new edition deepens the discussion of race and social justice in education with new and updated material. Aligned with our nation's ever more diverse student population, it speaks to what good teachers know, what they do, and how they embrace culturally responsive teaching. This essential text is widely used in teacher preparation courses and for in-service professional development.
For more Black History titles, please see our past blog posts and virtual bookshelves. To download a listing of all the currently available titles in the Black History Subject Area, click here. To visit the Social Justice subject area, click the image below.