Books to read during Black History Month
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In honour of Black History Month, we have rounded up a list of books to read during the month and beyond.
From autobiographies to fiction, this list of essential reading includes both classic works that have stood the test of time and recent releases - all crucial reading needed to become better allies. Please check out some of our suggestions.
Books to read
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
Written from Cuba, where Assata Shakur currently has asylum, this autobiography explores her journey to becoming a member of the Black Liberation Army, as well as the events after the New Jersey Stars Turnpike shooting, which led to her being convicted of a police officer’s murder.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Seventeen-year-old Nadia is mourning the death of her mother when she starts a summer fling with the pastor’s son. When Nadia becomes pregnant, she keeps it from everyone but years later, the secret threatens to unravel not just her life but those around her as well.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Frequently hailed as THE book on criminal justice reform and credited as the inspiration behind a new wave of criminal justice reform activists and organizations, this book depicts the link between slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and racism.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
One of the most known books of all time, this autobiography chronicles celebrated writer and poet Maya Angelou’s early years. In this coming-of-age story, Angelou illustrates how she overcomes her horrific experiences with racism and sexual trauma.
Well-Read Black Girl, by Glory Edim
A book club, as well as a collection of essays by Black women, Well-Read Black Girl reminds us of the importance and beauty of representation and seeing ourselves in works of literature.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give tells a story we’ve heard repeated in the news too often: a shooting of Khalil, a black unarmed teenager by a white cop. The story is told from the perspective of his friend, Starr, and follows her experience before, during, and after the shooting.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me is a memoir written in a series of essays that Coates writes to his son about race in America. Coates talks about his own life while touching on the topics of systemic racism, white exceptionalism, and the unjust treatment of Black people in the United States.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book follows the stories of sisters Celie and Nettie, two Black women in early 20th-century rural Georgia who were separated as young girls. The novel highlights the traumas of domestic and sexual abuse, as well as the effects of toxic masculinity.
I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi
Through a collection of essays, Nigerian-American immigrant and poet, Bassey Ikpi’s memoir delves into her experiences with mental illness and bipolar disorder.
Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom
Tressie, the award-winning professor and author, does not shy away from combining the political with the private, from bringing her full self and voice to convert narrative moments into critiques of whiteness, black misogyny, and status-signaling as a means of black women's survival.
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris
US Vice President Kamala Harris provides problem-solving, crisis management, and leadership in tough times. She conveys a vision of mutual struggle, shared intent, and shared ideals across the arc of her own life, into the great work of our day.
Dive into it!