Six Books You Should Read To Celebrate Black History Month

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Other

In a time when Black stories and Black history are being erased and censored, uplifting those stories and the people who tell and live them is critically important. That’s why this Black History Month, some of the National Partnership staff have put forward book recommendations by Black authors. From fiction to memoirs, we’ve got it all! In an effort to support Black business, go to Loyalty Books to order a copy of our recommendations. Looking to buy in person? Find a Black owned bookstore near you here!

“The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” by Nikole Hannah-Jones

Aimee Peoples, VP for DEI & Anti-Racism

My recommendation would be “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” by Nikole Hannah-Jones. It’s a book of several essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America and several other creative writing pieces that hold a mirror to America and show how the inheritance of what happened when 20+ enslaved Africans were offloaded from a British cargo ship in 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society. It speaks truths about America that have often gone untold and adds really needed context and framing to how we see racism and the fight against it. You can also watch the docuseries on Hulu!

“Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fatphobia” by Sabrina Strings

Betsy Mcdonald, Executive assistant to the President

I always recommend “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fatphobia” by Sabrina Strings. This nonfiction book argues that fatphobia is directly correlated to anti-Blackness and employs a historical analysis that draws on art, scientific literature, magazine articles and more.

“Finding Me” by Viola Davis

Erica Thurman, Director of Foundation Relations

Viola Davis is an amazing storyteller both onscreen and on the pages. Her autobiography, “Finding Me,” is a beautiful example of what can happen when we center ourselves and our dreams in a world where poor Black girls have to fight really hard to hold on to both. I was always rooting for her. Now I know just how much I can relate to her.

“American Spy” by Lauren Wilkinson

Amaya Smith,VP for Marketing and Communications

“American Spy” is a classic espionage thriller that examines U.S. policy during the Cold War through the eyes of a Black female intelligence agent. From a historical perspective it illustrates how the U.S. worked to undermine Black and brown countries under the guise of fighting communism. It’s also a telling look at how Black Americans are not a monolith on foreign policy. Overall, it’s just fun read about a Black female James Bond. Highly recommend!

“Breath, Eyes, Memory” by Edwidge Danticat

Mona Papillon, Chief Operating Officer

Edwidge Danticat is one of my favorites. I’ve read all of her books but would recommend first “Breath, Eyes, Memory” which was her first published work. It tells the story of a young Haitian girl who is sent to NY to be reunited with her mother.The story is so well written and speaks honestly about the diaspora experience from a woman’s perspective. I became an instant fan and have read everything she’s written ever since.

“The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me” by Keah Brown

Marissa Ditkowsky, Disability Economic Justice Counsel

“The Pretty One” is a collection of essays by activist, author, journalist, and writer Keah Brown about her experiences as a black, disabled woman. Keah’s collection is honest, funny, and empowering. As a disabled woman, reading about someone navigating their own internal struggle between craving “normal” and self love and acceptance is incredibly relatable and heartening. This book provides great lessons about eradicating and confronting stigma.

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