For me, being an ally and supporting the black lives matter movement is more than just talking about it and posting a black box to my Instagram feed. There’s work to be done, and I want to continue to grow as a person by continuing to educate myself and putting action to my words while showing my support. That’s why I made sure to take the time this month to support black authors and educating myself with the following books.
1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
When I took an African-American Literature class in my undergrad, this was the first book that we read. I’m re-reading it this year because I found that it was the best way to be introduced to the subject matter of a suppressed population. Following a family tree throughout time, Homegoing details the history of slavery and it’s effects on the people who were still in Africa and the ones who were brought to America as slaves. The story captivated me from the first page while simultaneously devastating me as I read. Of all the books I list in this post, this is the one I would most recommend.
2. Kindred by Octavia Butler
This one is also a re-read for me. I’m not against re-reading books, because I think if enough time has passed, there is more to gain and learn when reading a book again. One the first read, this book changed my understanding of the mindset of a plantation owner in slave times and how complex it was. Moreover, the craftsmanship that Octavia Butler has invested into this book is so exceptional that it didn’t feel like a re-read because I took so much away from it the second time around as well.
3. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
This is a new read for me, and I picked it up because between Kindred and Homegoing, I needed something lighter to read. Now, while it is not necessarily completely about the black experience, Jasmine Guillory herself is a black author. Beyond educating myself, I believe that you vote with your dollar, and by purchasing this book, I am able to tell publishing houses that this is a voice I want to hear more of. That being said, this is contemporary romance book definitely a type I love as someone who loves romantic comedies.
4. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
Last year, I had read Michelle Obama’s Becoming, so it only makes sense for me to also pick up Barack Obama’s newest book. Moreover, it’s a memoir of his time being the President of the United States, and it’s iconic because he is the first and only black president that the United States of America has had to date. I was excited to have this deep dive into his time in the Oval Office, especially since I learned that some people looked down on him when he went for mustard first over ketchup. The scrutiny that he was under as a result of his position has to be higher than the average black American.
5. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
I just started this book, and I am already hooked by the two narrators of the story. Alix Chamberlain is a woman who has worked for everything she has, and she hires Emira Tucker to handle matters of her home while she works on her career. Everything changes one night when a video of Emira with Alix’s child goes viral. I’ve gotten as far as what happens on the night of the video, but the interior of the book jacket says that the book is a “piercing social commentary… [about] the complicated reality” of our times.
How are you educating yourself this Black History Month? What is something that you’ve learned about black history? Or do you have a way that you’re supporting a cause you’re proud of? Do you have any book recommendations for me? Be sure to tell me in the comments below!
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