To celebrate Black History Month, we have something a little different for The Friday List this week! Below are four titles that are just part of a larger collection of books to learn about the trials and triumphs of Black Americans. The full collection is located on top of the reference shelves, just behind the information desk. In it you will find histories, personal stories, and ponderings of the current and future roles of Black Americans in society.
If you want some ideas on what to read, here are some highlights:
A promised land, Barack Obama, 2020
A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective–the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.
Breath better spent : living Black girlhood, DaMaris B Hill, 2022
Through the eyes and stories of prominent Black female figures from Zora Neale Hurston to Riley Curry and Michelle Obama, and with an homage to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Breath Better Spent beautifully and trenchantly captures the culture of Black girlhood and its changing relationship to American culture, exploring the highly visible and invisible spaces that Black girls occupy, from school, to home, to others’ imaginations, and proceeds to question the disappearance – metaphorically and literally – of Black girls from the American imagination. Powerfully drawing on both history and her own experiences, Hill brings to life the vitality, creativity, and strength of Black girlhood while shining a light on a crisis we cannot ignore.
The African American entrepreneur : then and now, W Sherman Rogers, 2010
Thurgood Marshall : a life in American history, Spencer R Crew, 2019
As a lawyer, Thurgood Marshall played an incredible role in ending legal segregation in the United States. For thirty years he traveled across the country for the NAACP, trying cases and encouraging African Americans to fight against discrimination. His successes made him a highly respected lawyer and individual throughout the nation. Those accomplishments led to his appointment as the first African American Supreme Court justice, where he continued the fight to protect the rights of all citizens, not just the rich and powerful. [This book] follows the career of Thurgood Marshall from his youth in Baltimore, Maryland, to his days as a Supreme Court Justice. Thurgood Marshall’s inspiring story illustrates the racism faced by African Americans in the twentieth century long after the end of slavery. It also shows how hard it was to make progress in blunting its impact on their lives. In Marshall’s life one sees the importance of perseverance and an unwavering belief in the American constitution and its principles.