As we close out Black History Month, here are a few more books to consider. Last time we offered books to read with your children. The books below are for you. Setting an example of reading is a gift; setting an example of consciously choosing books that make us think is yet another gift.
Black is the Body is a magnificent collection of essays. Emily Bernard explores race, home, belonging, family, influence and so much more. The author is searching for revelation and gives it to the reader. Black is the Body is brilliant. Read it.
Just Mercy follows a lawyer’s fight for justice and deftly exposes the shortcomings of our criminal justice system. Reading story after story, your heart will be broken open – making room for compassion and a desire for justice. Bryan Stevenson continues the struggle. He was in the news this week as the Supreme Court ruled on a case he argued. Read Just Mercy, check out Stevenson’s organization The Equal Justice Initiative and plan a trip to visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum. You will not be the same.
Citizen is a collection of poems in which Claudia Rankine tells stories both her own and belonging to her community. She gives a very real understanding of life as a person of color in the United States, exploring the realities of daily life as well as narratives in the media. Her work is powerful and profound. It’s impossible to turn away from the truths in her work.
In Baracoon Zora Neale Hurston introduces us to Cudjo Lewis, who tells his story of being transported to the United States from Africa as a slave. Hurston’s interviews with Lewis give us a first-hand account of this horrific part of our history. The book is important in many ways, perhaps most profoundly in that it forces us to confront a very real piece of our history.
These books are individually brilliant. But, if you can read them all, the truths each manifests are amplified by every other book. Read, read, read.