8 Books To Read To Educate Yourself About Black History
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One thing that protests and riots effectively do is raise awareness. People are beginning to watch the news more and read up on what has lead to today's racial tensions, which in turn educates the public more on black history.

From the beginning of slavery, to the 1919 riots, to segregation, to police brutality, and everything in between, authors have covered these parts of history that are often less talked about and left out of general history classes.

You may never be perfect, and if you are non-black you will never fully understand the black experience, but the best you can do is stay educated, keep learning, and remain an ally. Here are some books to get you started on black history.

1. "Red Summer" by Cameron McWhirter

Wall Street Journal reporter Cameron Mcwhirter outlines this summer of violence in 1919 called "The Red Summer," in reference to the bloodiness of this period.

Written through a journalist's perspective rather than a historian's, the book includes thorough detail of the fight for civil rights post-WWll.

2. "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander

Interested in why people claim slavery still exists? The criminal justice system and its eerie history come to light in this book written by civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander. She was inspired while she was in charge of investigating racial bias in police interactions and had overheard other groups comparing the current criminal justice system to Jim Crow. She investigated more, wrote this book, and its sales spiked as a top black history seller.

3. "Stamped From the Beginning" by Ibram X Kandi

Learn how racist ideas were birthed and implemented throughout history by pro-slavery thinkers. The book steers away from the idea that racism is "ignorance" but rather "brilliantly honed" and the masses manipulated. Five minds chime in and we hear from a Puritan minister, Thomas Jefferson, an abolitionist, a scholar, and an anti-prison activist.

4. "She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman" by Erica Dunbar

Explore Harriet Tubman's life through biography, photos, sidebars, and a detailed timeline. Tubman helped release hundreds of slaves, was the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War, and advocated for voting rights and elderly people. The author, Erica Dunbar, continues to outline how her activism has inspired activists today.

5. "Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism" by Bell Hooks

The intersectional book between sexism and racism demonstrates black womanhood throughout history. White feminism is discussed, as well at the experiences of black women compared to black men and white women. For every feminist and racial justice advocate, this book is a must-read.

6. "The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act" by Clay Risen

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a long-fought battle around the nation through speeches, activism, riots, and more outlined in this historical account. "The force is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."

7. "The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America" by Martin Fletcher

Between the 1940s and 1960s, black people left the rural areas of the south for the urban areas of the north, forever altering culture, politics, and demographics. Delve into the history, politics, and public policy of The Great Migration and its impact through stories and analysis.

8. "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" by Walter Rodney and Vincent Harding

For someone hoping to understand Africa's relationship with the west and the impacts of colonization and slavery. The reader can examine modern Africa through a political, historical, and economic lens.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, they are recommendations to get you started or inspire you to find related books. I know it's hard to choose, but pick one up and dive in!

As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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