On this Inauguration Day 2017, I’m sharing some books I think every American needs to read. These books on black history save for one, are actually American history books. Get to know more about this part of American History. The one book that is not an American History story is a worthy share because it was one of the most revered moments in history as it pertains to slavery. My hope is that all Americans from all backgrounds reads at least a few of these books. Personally, I love physical books in my hand but if you can’t get to the bookstore or the library today, go ahead and download a copy of one. I think inauguration day is the perfect day to begin your own history lesson journey.
Books on Black History
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson is the story of the “great migration” of black Americans who fled the South for Northern and Western cities. The Warmth of Other Suns tells the decade-long story of this migration. The author interviews 3 individuals to gain a fascinating account of how this mass migration changed America.
Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy or the post-DNA confirmation book The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordan-Reed
Do you know about Thomas Jefferson’s children born to a slave? Actually born to the slave that was his wife’s half-sister? I was intrigued by The Hemingses of Monticello and their story. Many years of research went into the story of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemingses so I couldn’t pick between the two books. One shares the facts as they were known before the DNA confirmation proving the Hemingses as direct descendants of one of the founding fathers of America. The other is facts further uncovered after the DNA confirmation. A fascinating story and a look at what happened so often between slave women and their “masters”.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
By now many of you may have seen this highly acclaimed film about the hidden figures at NASA. Those hidden figures were some of the smartest women scientist and mathematicians of America that happened to also be black women. I believe in reading any book that a movie is based on. This is a must read before or after you see the movie. Get to know their story and share it with your children. The disparity in the STEAM fields today particularly for women and even more so for women of color is widely known. Get your girls inspired. They too can become leaders in STEAM fields and change the world.
The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward Baptist
Narratives of slaves. escaped slaves, plantation documents and more lays out the story of how slavery drove the early days of modernized America. From the cotton fields to the capitalist economy. See the history of our America through the eyes that helped build it without recognition.
The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James
This book was a must add to my short list because more people need to know about the history of Haiti, Toussaint L’Ouverture a slave at the time and the revolt he led which was the beginning of the first independent country in the Caribbean. A well-written account of the history of a beautiful country that deserves to be celebrated and helped. Not American history but the crusade led by Toussaint is one all people should know more about.
I’ll share more books about our history
during Black History Month in February. I will also share child-friendly books about American and Black history because children need to know, understand and feel compassion in order for them to be the change we need in this world.
Do you have any books about black history you think are a must read? Leave them in the comments so I can add them to the list.
This post is a part of our Fab Five series celebrating Black History. Please read more of our series here: