It's February 1st! Welcome to the start of a new month, as well as the first day of Black History Month. Today, I've curated a list of nonfiction books for you to dive into all month long as we honor the miraculous work of those that paved the way for liberty and justice for Black people worldwide.
Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh
This book chronicles the life and times of the revolutionary Toussaint Louverture during his quest to liberate the island of Saint Domingue from slavery. Hazareesing's book was adeptly published on January 1, 2020, Haitian Independence Day. Read this to learn more about Louverture's journey and how he stood up to the three great world powers of his day: France, Spain, and England. The successful Haitian Revolution is what inspired enslaved African Americans to subsequently revolt in the United States.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
This autobiography is a classic for great reason. Malcolm X provides a depth of insight into his life and journey of self-creation as he strove to create a more equitable America. His poignant thoughts are paired with Alex Haley's eloquent narration, famously known for his book Roots. Check out this title for a wonderfully informative read.
The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones
Published last November 2021, this collaborative project took the internet by storm. In tandem with The New York times staff, Nikole Hannah-Jones created a compelling narrative of slavery from inception, tracing its effects throughout history until the modern-day. The work includes 18 essays, 36 poems, and a body of archival photographs as she documents the history of the Black resistance in America.
Between the World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In this book, Ta-Nehisi Coates personally invites readers into his lived experience as a black man in America while simultaneously exploring America's racial history. Coates is the author of 4 New York Times Bestselling books, known for his prolific body of work on race and politics during his tenure writing for The Atlantic, and has also written for Marvel's Black Panther from 2016 to 2021. I recommend checking his other works in addition to Between the World and Me.
Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman
Russell Freedman analyzes the heroes who fought against the 1950s Jim Crow laws in Alabama and the widespread bus boycott that resulted from their movement. This book is excellent for people with children or working with younger audiences. Most of this blog's books are for teens and adults, but Freedom Walkers is written at a 6th-grade reading level, making it perfect for reading together as a family.
Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography, by Zora Neale Hurston
In her autobiography, Zora Neale Hurston gives readers a candid account of her life, from her poor childhood upbringing in the rural South to her career and fame as a writer during the Harlem Renaissance. She writes eloquent prose filled with poetic imagery while she depicts the harrowing realities of her time. The book is captivating and filled with wisdom for readers to apply back to their own lives.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
In her memoir, Michelle Obama chronicles her life starting from her girlhood growing up in the South Side of Chicago up to her days as the First Lady. Michelle discusses how she juggled touring, speaking engagements, advocating for women and children's health while still being a mother to her two daughters. She warmly shares the lessons life has taught her throughout her work. Becoming was also adapted into a Netflix documentary.
More Ways To Celebrate Black History Month:
Visit a Black History Museum
There are so many historical landmarks commemorating landmark events in African American history. Take a tour in your town, or with your museum. Many museums like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture offer virtual tours. That way, you can explore while staying safe during the pandemic.
Support a small black-owned business this month by trying some of their products. You can start by swapping a product you use daily, like lotion, soap, or candles, for a hand-crafted product. Or, you can be bold and try something you've never purchased before. 8 out of 10 small businesses in America fail within their first year of operation, which is why your purchase goes a long way! Maybe you'll find a company you love and become a lifelong customer.
Broaden your horizon.
The discussion of Black History often begins with slavery and ends with the Civil Rights movement. Yet, there is a whole world of information out there. Explore the history of Ancient Africa, before colonialism. Research the intersectionality between how slavery in the Caribbean affected slavery in the United States. Likewise, take a look at today's issues in the Black Community.
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