Black and African American Heritage: Recommended Reading

February is Black History Month, and the Popular Reading Display in the Hill Library's Learning Commons celebrates the contributions and resilience of Black Americans. Learn more about Black History Month.

Published February 2023

Well-read Black Girl : finding our stories, discovering ourselves : an anthology book cover

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves: An Anthology

Editor: Glory Edim

Summary: Stories are powerful, but there is a special connection that happens when readers can see themselves in the pages of a book. Well-Read Black Girl creates a space for black women writers to share their experiences and to lift up each-other and their readers.

The Source of Self-regard : selected essays, speeches, and meditations book cover

The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations

Author: Toni Morrison

Summary: This essential collection of Toni Morrison’s legacy highlights enduring and deep writings that moved a nation. From 9/11 to “black matter(s),” Martin Luther King Jr. to James Baldwin, these works continue to inspire a new generation of critical writing and thinking.

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health.. book cover

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help You deserve

Author: Rheeda Walker, PhD

Summary: Chronic illness, poverty, and the effects of racism contribute to disproportionate death rates in the Black community. Psychologist and African American mental health expert Dr. Walker explores Black mental health with an unapologetic lens to undo years of stigma and show how to get the best care possible in a system steeped in racial bias.

Unapologetic : a Black, queer, and feminist mandate for our movement book cover

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Our Movement

Author: Charlene A. Carruthers

Summary: Unapologetic is a call to make the struggle for Black liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist. This book provides guidance on deeply effective organizing rooted in the Chicago model of activism and a clear framework for seasoned activists and visionary youth leaders.

Blackberries and cover

Blackberries and Redbones : Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities

Editors: Regina E. Spellers and Kimberly R. Moffitt

Summary: Black scholars celebrate and scrutinize the presentation of Blackness in everyday life through essays, poems, and creative writings. Interrogating the relationship between physical appearance and societal structure, these works examine interpretations of Black anatomy in our changing world.

Between the World and Me book cover

Between the World and Me

Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Summary: Personal and profound, Ta-Nehisi Coates shares a powerful lesson for his adolescent son in understanding and living through our nation’s racial crisis with us all. In this short book, the falsehood of “race” that our nation is built on is laid bare, and reckoning with that history remains the challenge for Americans waking up in the present.

Shine Bright : a very personal history of Black women in pop book cover

Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop

Author: Danyel Smith

Summary: Essayist and editor Danyel Smith shares the true stories of Black musical masters that history has obscured. Covering celebrated pop careers and the pioneering artists often under-considered, Shine Bright spans decades of Black women’s contributions to the foundations of American pop.

Blackness and Disability : critical examinations and cultural interventions book cover

Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions

Editor: Christopher M. Bell

Summary: At the intersection of Disability Studies and African American Studies, the discourse shifts from how to “fix” disabled patients to how socially constructed bias forms the barrier. This collection of essays challenges misrepresentations of Black disabled bodies and demonstrates how those bodies can transform ableist systems and culture.

Octavia's Brood : science fiction stories from social justice movements

Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

Editors: Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown

Summary: Twenty writers celebrate the legacy of visionary and liberatory science fiction writer Octavia Butler. These stories span the genres of fantasy, horror, magical realism, and science fiction but are united in the exploration of new possibilities in movements for social change through speculative fiction.

Redefining Black Power : reflections on the state of Black America book cover

Redefining Black Power: Reflections on the State of Black America

Editor: Joanne Griffith

Summary: International journalist Joanne Griffith interviews black intellectuals, activists, authors and educators on issues facing America today. Through their conversations covering the tragedy and triumph of the African Diaspora, Griffith invites the reader to define Black power.

Too Heavy a Yoke : Black women and the burden of strength

Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength

Author: Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Summary: Conforming to the ideology of the strong Black woman burdens the lives of African American women, predisposing them to physical and emotional health problems. In this book, psychologist and pastoral theologian Chanequa Walker-Barnes outlines a twelve-step philosophy to liberate and heal African American women's identities.

Four Hundred Souls : a community history of African America, 1619-2019 book cover

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

Editors: Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

Summary: Four Hundred Souls brings together ninety writers to tell the history of African Americans. Their range of perspectives weave together stories of oppression and achievement spanning four hundred years to dispel the myth that Africans in America are a monolith.

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