Below is a list of book recommend for your book club. If you have any books you would like to recommend, please contact us at [email protected]


Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston

Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: Amistad (May 8, 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062748203

ISBN-13: 978-0062748201

A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Paperback: 289 pages

Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (April 21, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN10: 0345514408

ISBN 13: 9780345514400

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Paperback: 287 pages

Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (February 1, 2004)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0807083690

ISBN 13: 97808070ß83697

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD

Black Boy by Richard Wright

Paperback: 419 pages

Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (March 27, 2007)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0061130249

ISBN 13: 9780061130243

Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi amid poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those around him; at six he was a "drunkard," hanging about in taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD


Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi

Paperback: 480 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 6, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0060959614

ISBN 13:9780060959616

(a/k/a Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger published by Scherz Verlag GmbH – Language: German - Paperback: 413 pages – ISBN: 9783507470)

This is a story of the unexpected. In 'Destined to Witness', Hans Massaquoi has crafted a beautifully rendered memoir -- an astonishing true tale of how he came of age as a black child in Nazi Germany. The son of a prominent African and a German nurse, Hans remained behind with his mother when Hitler came to power, due to concerns about his fragile health, after his father returned to Liberia. Like other German boys, Hans went to school; like other German boys, he swiftly fell under the Führer's spell. So he was crushed to learn that, as a black child, he was ineligible for the Hitler Youth. His path to a secondary education and an eventual profession was blocked. He now lived in fear that, at any moment, he might hear the Gestapo banging on the door -- or Allied bombs falling on his home.

Available Formats: Kindle, ebook, Hardcover, Paperback

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Simon Schuster; Reprinted edition (August 1, 2005)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1416500413

ISBN 13: 978-1416500414

With a dash of the Victorian and Enlightenment influences that peppered Du Bois’s impassioned yet formal prose, the largely autobiographical chapters of The Souls of Black Folks take the reader through the momentous and moody maze of Afro-American life after the Emancipation Proclamation: from poverty, the neo-slavery of the sharecropper, illiteracy, mis-education, and lynching, to the heights of humanity reached by the spiritual “sorrow songs” that birthed gospel music and the blues. The capstone of The Souls of Black Folk is Du Bois’s haunting, eloquent description of the concept of the black psyche’s “double consciousness,” which he described as “a peculiar sensation.... One ever feels this twoness - an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Serpent’s Tail; Reprinted edition (June 4, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1846687861

ISBN 13: 9781846687860

A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting and defying the expected. Ernest J. Gaines brings to this novel the same rich sense of place, the same deep understanding of the human psyche, and the same compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous, highly praised works of fiction.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audio Cassette

The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

Paperback: 192 pages

Publisher: Penguin ‘Books; Reprinted edition (March 1, 1988)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0451822021

ISBN 13: 978-0451922024

The Women of Brewster Place depicts seven courageous black women struggling to survive life's harsh realities. Each woman has an individual story to tell. Their stories include the trials and tribulations they endured to end up at Brewster Place; Brewster Place is a dead end street that is cut off from the rest of the town. The seven women include: Mattie Michael, Etta Mae Johnson, Kiswana Browne, Lucielia Louise Turner, Cora Lee, and Lorraine and Theresa.

Available Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audio Cassette, Audio

Up from Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington

Paperback: 156 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace: Reprinted edition (August 2016)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1536979112

ISBN 13: 978-1536979114

Up From Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his personal experiences in working to rise from the position of a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools—most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama—to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves up.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Paperback

Cane River by Lalita Tademy

Paperback: 543 pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprinted edition (February 1, 2005)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0446615889

ISBN 13: 978-0446615884

Beginning with her great-great-great-great grandmother, a slave owned by a Creole family, Lalita Tademy chronicles four generations of strong, determined black women as they battle injustice to unite their family and forge success on their own terms. They are women whose lives begin in slavery, who weather the Civil War, and who grapple with contradictions of emancipation, Jim Crow, and the pre-Civil Rights South. As she peels back layers of racial and cultural attitudes, Tademy paints a remarkable picture of rural Louisiana and the resilient spirit of one unforgettable family.

There is Elisabeth, who bears both a proud legacy and the yoke of bondage... her youngest daughter, Suzette, who is the first to discover the promise-and heartbreak-of freedom... Suzette's strong-willed daughter Philomene, who uses a determination born of tragedy to reunite her family and gain unheard-of economic independence... and Emily, Philomene's spirited daughter, who fights to secure her children's just due and preserve their dignity and future.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD


Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

Paperback: 442 pages

Publisher: Canongate Books; Reprinted edition (June 5, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1847670946

ISBN 13: 978-1847670946

The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama was only two years old when his father walked out on the family. Many years later, Obama receives a phone call from Nairobi: his father is dead. This sudden news inspires an emotional odyssey for Obama, determined to learn the truth of his father's life and reconcile his divided inheritance.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audiobook

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprinted edition (November 24, 2005)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0140437959

ISBN 13: 978-0140437959

A haunting, evocative recounting of her life as a slave in North Carolina, and her final escape and emancipation, Jacobs' narrative, written between 1853 and 1858 and published in 1861, is one of the most important books ever written documenting the traumas and horrors of slavery in the antebellum South.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Paperback: 470 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton Company; Reprinted edition (January 12, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0393351394

ISBN 13: 978-0393351392

Based on a true story, "The Book of Negroes" tells the story of Aminata, a young girl abducted from her village in Mali aged 11 in 1755, and who, after a deathly journey on a slave ship where she witnesses the brutal repression of a slave revolt, is sold to a plantation owner in South Carolina, who rapes her. She is brought to New York, where she escapes her owner, and finds herself helping the British by recording all the freed slaves on the British side in the Revolutionary War in The Book of Negroes (a real historical document that can be found today at the National Archives at Kew). Aminata is sent to Nova Scotia to start a new life, but finds more hostility, oppression and tragedy. Separated from her one true love, and suffering the unimaginable loss of both her children who are taken away from her, she eventually joins a group of freed slaves on a harrowing odyssey back to Africa, and ends up in London as a living icon for Wilberforce and the other Abolitionists. "The Book of Negroes" is a page turning narrative that manages to use Aminata's heart-rending personal story to bring to life a harrowing chapter in our history.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook (under “Somebody knows my name)

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Paperback 50th Anniversary Edition: 200 pages

Publisher: Signet; Reprinted edition (October 20, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0451234219

ISBN 13: 978-0451234216

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audible Audio

The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson

Paperback: 166 pages

Publisher: Clearlight; Reprinted edition (June 7, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 194017712X

ISBN 13: 978-1940177120

Originally released in 1933, The Mis-Education of the Negro continues to resonate today, raising questions that readers are still trying to answer. The impact of slavery on the Black psyche is explored and questions are raised about our education system, such as what and who African Americans are educated for, the difference between education and training, and which of these African Americans are receiving. Woodson provides solutions to these challenges, but these require more study, discipline, and an Afrocentric worldview.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback

The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker

Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprinted edition (September 3, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0547480008

ISBN 13: 978-0547480008

First published in 1990, The Temple of My Familiar, Alice Walker’s follow-up novel to her iconic The Color Purple, spent more than four months on the New York Times Bestseller list and was hailed by critics as a “major achievement” (Chicago Tribune).

Described by the author as “a romance of the last 500,000 years,” The Temple of My Familiar follows a cast of interrelated characters, most of African descent, and each representing a different ethnic strain—ranging from diverse African tribes to the mixed bloods of Latin America—that contribute to the black experience in America.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks

Paperback: 205 pages

Publisher: Routledge; Reprinted edition (October 20, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1138821519

ISBN 13: 978-1138821514

A classic work of feminist scholarship, Ain't I a Woman has become a must-read for all those interested in the nature of black womanhood. Examining the impact of sexism on black woman during slavery, the devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism within the feminist movement, and the black woman's involvement with feminism, hooks attempts to move us beyond racist and sexist assumptions. The result is nothing short of groundbreaking, giving this book a critical place on every feminist scholar's bookshelf.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback

The Street by Ann Petry

Hardcover: 436 pages

Publisher: Turtleback Books; Reprinted edition (February 1, 2004)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0606300083

ISBN 13: 978-0606300087

The Street tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, a beloved bestseller with more than a million copies in print. Its haunting tale still resonates today.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audio Cassette

Letter from the Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.

Paperback: Modern Classics, 64 pages

Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprinted edition (February 22, 2018)

Language: English

Martin Luther King, Jr. rarely had time to answer his critics. But on April 16, 1963, he was confined to the Birmingham jail, serving a sentence for participating in civil rights demonstrations. "Alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell," King pondered a letter that fellow clergymen had published urging him to drop his campaign of nonviolent resistance and to leave the battle for racial equality to the courts. In response, King drafted his most extensive and forceful written statement against social injustice - a remarkable essay that focused the world's attention on Birmingham and spurred the famous March on Washington. Bristling with the energy and resonance of his great speeches, Letter from the Birmingham Jail is both a compelling defense of nonviolent demonstration and a rallying cry for an end to social discrimination that is just as powerful today as it was more than twenty years ago.

Available Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Pamphlet, Audiobook

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Paperback: 295 pages

Publisher: HarperPerennial Classics

Language: English


Twelve Years a Slave, sub-title: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana, is a memoir by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. It is a slave narrative of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as describing at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audio

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Paperback: 152 pages

Publisher: Text Publishing

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1925240703

ISBN 13: 978-1925240702

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

Paperback: 448 pages

Publisher: Warner Books (NY); Reprinted edition (November 1, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0446610380

ISBN 13: 978-0446610384

This Nebula Award-winning sequel to Parable of the Sower continues the story of Lauren Olamina in socially and economically depressed California in the 2030s. Convinced that her community should colonize the stars, Lauren and her followers make preparations. But the collapse of society and rise of fanatics result in Lauren's followers being enslaved, and her daughter stolen from her. Now, Lauren must fight back to save the new world order.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook

Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography by Zora Neale Hurston

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprinted edition (October 10, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 00626995797

ISBN 13: 978-0062695796

First published in 1942 at the height of her popularity, Dust Tracks on a Road is Zora Neale Hurston's candid, funny, bold and poignant autobiography, an imaginative and exuberant account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to a prominent place among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. As compelling as her acclaimed fiction, Hurston's very personal literary self-portrait offers a revealing, often audacious glimpse into the life–public and private–of an extraordinary artist, anthropologist, chronicler, and champion of the black experience in America. Full of the wit and wisdom of a proud, spirited woman who started off low and climbed high, Dust Tracks on a Road is a rare treasure from one of literature's most cherished voices.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Soho Press; Reprinted edition (January 30, 2018)

Language: English

ISBN10: 1616958723

ISBN 13: 978-1616958725

Bakersfield, Georgia, 1958: Thirteen-year-old Tangy Mae Quinn is the sixth of ten fatherless siblings. She is the darkest-skinned among them and therefore the ugliest in her mother, Rozelle's, estimation, but she's also the brightest. Rozelle--beautiful, charismatic, and light-skinned--exercises a violent hold over her children. Fearing abandonment, she pulls them from school at the age of twelve and sends them to earn their keep for the household, whether in domestic service, in the fields, or at "the farmhouse" on the edge of town, where Rozelle beds local men for money.

But Tangy Mae has been selected to be part of the first integrated class at a nearby white high school. She has a chance to change her life, but can she break from Rozelle's grasp without ruinous--even fatal--consequences?

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audiobook, Audio Cassette

To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: An Informal Autobiography by Lorraine Hansberry

Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Signet; Reprinted edition (January 4, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0451531787

ISBN 13: 978-0451531780

This is the story of a young woman born in Chicago who came to New York, won fame with her play, A Raisin in the Sun--and went on to new heights of artistry before her tragic death. In turns angry, loving, bitter, laughing, and defiantly proud, the story, voice, and message are all Lorraine Hansberry's own, coming together in one of the major works of the black experience in mid-century America.

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio Cassette

Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Plume; Reprinted edition (January 2, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0452282209

ISBN 13: 978-0452282209

Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out--but ignorance and superstition in. To read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.  McFadden is the author of the novels Gathering of Waters, Glorious, and This Bitter Earth.

Available Formats:  Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audible Audio

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprinted edition (November 10, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 054480502X

ISBN 13: 978-0544805036

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls 'father', she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker - a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audible, Audio CD

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Paperback: 316 pages

Publisher: Atheneum Books; Reprinted edition (January 5, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1416905868

ISBN 13: 978-1416905868

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

Available Formats:  Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, MP3 CD, Audiobook, Audio CD

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington

Paperback: 528 pages

Publisher: Anchor; Reprinted edition (January 8, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 076791547X

ISBN 13: 978-0767915472

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.


The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audiobook

Family by J. California Cooper

Paperback: 231 pages

Publisher: First Anchor Books; Reprinted edition (1992)

Language: English


Much has been written about the institution of slavery. But with "Family", Cooper has taken the slave narrative and recreated it as an epic, yet colloquial, poem. "Mesmerizing . . . Cooper weaves four wry, humorous, tragic tales that envelop and transcend time, offering hope and renewal at the same time they chronicle desolation and death".--"San Francisco Chronicle".

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback

On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery: by Volney Gay

Paperback: 390 pages

Language: English

ISBN 10: 099654819X

ISBN 13: 978-0996548199

The real reason Americans owned slaves was not just financial. They did it because they liked it.  For the first two centuries of American history, starting with the colonists, slavery was a part of the social, economic, and governmental order. Looking back, many of us find it more comfortable to view slave owners as evil or sociopathic. The startling truth is that many were otherwise admirable.

To understand America's struggles with race relations, we must take an uncensored look at our country's involvement with slavery. We examine three questions:

- What were the pleasures of owning slaves?

- How did freedom-loving, American Christians explain ownership to themselves?

- How did they defend themselves against this double contradiction?

Answering those questions will help us face our future with greater clarity.

This book is a study of the pleasures that slavery gives to owners. This is a demanding, if not an unfathomable topic that rests upon a simple, self-evident truth. The unfathomable part is because slavery seems remote from us now in the 21st century we struggle to imagine its workings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The self-evident truth is that millions of Americans, over a span of nearly four centuries, owned slaves because they wished to. They actively chose and maintained a way of life which they felt merited protection and permanency. A small number of these people were sociopathic, most likely between 2 and 4 percent, the usual norm for large populations.[i] Most were not. Indeed, outstanding persons, among them undoubted geniuses like Thomas Jefferson, engaged in slavery all their lives. It is difficult to understand sociopathic persons, but the vast majority of owners were like you and me, normal. Great men who laid the foundations of American freedom defended to their graves the institution of slavery. This book addresses three questions: what were these pleasures; how did freedom-loving, American Christians explain ownership to themselves; how did they defend themselves against this double contradiction?

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Paperback: 106 pages

Publisher: First Vintage International; Reprinted edition (December 1, 1992)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 067974472X

ISBN 13: 978-0679744726

A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD, Audiobook

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: New Press; Reprinted edition (January 26, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1520971933

ISBN 13: 978-1620971932

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Cited in court decisions and Oscar speeches and praised by public policy folks, politicians, law professors, grassroots activists, and prisoners themselves, Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

Called “stunning” by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis, “invaluable” by the Daily Kos, “explosive” by Kirkus Reviews, and “profoundly necessary” by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crowis a must-read for all people of conscience.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audible Audio

The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter

Paperback: 512 pages

Publisher: W.W. Norton Company; Reprinted edition (April 18, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0393339742

ISBN 13: 978-0393339741

A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of “whiteness”—an illuminating work on the history of race and power.

Eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter tells perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history. Beginning at the roots of Western civilization, she traces the invention of the idea of a white race—often for economic, scientific, and political ends. She shows how the origins of American identity in the eighteenth century were intrinsically tied to the elevation of white skin into the embodiment of beauty, power, and intelligence; how the great American intellectuals— including Ralph Waldo Emerson—insisted that only Anglo Saxons were truly American; and how the definitions of who is “white” and who is “American” have evolved over time.

A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes an enormous gap in a literature that has long focused on the nonwhite, and it forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed according to a long and rich history. 70 illustrations.

Available Formats: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprinted edition (June 20, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1632864134

ISBN 13: 978-1632864130

From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,” historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,” she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.”


Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House.

Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

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Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South by E. Patrick Johnson

Paperback: 576 pages

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press; Reprinted edition (September 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0807872261

ISBN 13: 978-0807872260

Giving voice to a population too rarely acknowledged, Sweet Tea collects more than sixty life stories from black gay men who were born, raised, and continue to live in the South. E. Patrick Johnson challenges stereotypes of the South as "backward" or "repressive" and offers a window into the ways black gay men negotiate their identities, build community, maintain friendship networks, and find sexual and life partners--often in spaces and activities that appear to be antigay. Ultimately, Sweet Tea validates the lives of these black gay men and reinforces the role of storytelling in both African American and southern culture.

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Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire

Paperback: 102 pages

Publisher: Monthly Review Press; Reprint edition (January 1, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 1583670254

ISBN 13: 781-583670255

Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of "progress" and "civilization" upon encountering the "savage," "uncultured," or "primitive." Here, Cesaire reaffirms African values, identity, and culture, and their relevance, reminding us that "the relationship between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society." An interview with Cesaire by the poet Rene Depestre is also included.

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X by MALCOLM X
Publisher: Perfection Learning (October 1, 1987)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0812419537
ISBN-13: 978-0812419535
In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.
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Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton by Bobby Seale
Publisher: Black Classic Press; Reprint edition (November 15, 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 093312130X
ISBN-13: 978-0933121300

Sieze The Time is Bobby Seale's, a longtime activist and co-founder of The Black Panther Party, riveting first-person account on the evolution of The Party as a national organization. In the words of Seale the book "...continues to have a universal apppeal as an account of an oppressed people's struggle for human liberation."

Available Formats: Hardcover and Paperback

Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (April 24, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250191297
ISBN-13: 978-1250191298

A personal and empowering blueprint―from one of America’s rising Democratic stars―for outsiders who seek to become the ones in charge

Leadership is hard. Convincing others―and often yourself―that you possess the answers and are capable of world-affecting change requires confidence, insight, and sheer bravado. Minority Leader is the handbook for outsiders, written with the awareness of the experiences and challenges that hinder anyone who exists beyond the structure of traditional white male power―women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make a difference.

In Minority Leader, Stacey Abrams argues that knowing your own passion is the key to success, regardless of the scale or target. From launching a company, to starting a day care center for homeless teen moms, to running a successful political campaign, finding what you want to fight for is as critical as knowing how to turn thought into action. Stacey uses her experience and hard-won insights to break down how ambition, fear, money, and failure function in leadership, while offering personal stories that illuminate practical strategies.
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The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran
Publisher: Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press (September 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0674970950
ISBN-13: 978-0674970953
When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than one percent of the United States’ total wealth. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged. The Color of Money pursues the persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks. Studying these institutions over time, Mehrsa Baradaran challenges the myth that black communities could ever accumulate wealth in a segregated economy. Instead, housing segregation, racism, and Jim Crow credit policies created an inescapable, but hard to detect, economic trap for black communities and their banks.

The catch-22 of black banking is that the very institutions needed to help communities escape the deep poverty caused by discrimination and segregation inevitably became victims of that same poverty. Not only could black banks not “control the black dollar” due to the dynamics of bank depositing and lending but they drained black capital into white banks, leaving the black economy with the scraps.

Baradaran challenges the long-standing notion that black banking and community self-help is the solution to the racial wealth gap. These initiatives have functioned as a potent political decoy to avoid more fundamental reforms and racial redress. Examining the fruits of past policies and the operation of banking in a segregated economy, she makes clear that only bolder, more realistic views of banking’s relation to black communities will end the cycle of poverty and promote black wealth.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
Publisher: One World; First Edition edition (October 3, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399590560
ISBN-13: 978-0399590566

We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.
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Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Nation Books; First Edition/First Printing edition (April 12, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1568584636
ISBN-13: 978-1568584638
Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America--more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.

Contrary to popular conceptions, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era. These intellectuals used their brilliance to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. And while racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them--and in the process, gives us reason to hope.
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