It’s officially Black History Month which means yay Black people for a month!
Just kidding, Black History is 24/7, 365.
A little lesson on the start of Black History Month:
Carter G. Woodson, at 19, having taught himself English fundamentals and arithmetic, Woodson entered high school, where he completed a four-year curriculum in two years. He went on to earn his master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago and later earned a doctorate from Harvard. Disturbed that history textbooks largely ignored America’s black population, Woodson took on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation’s history.
To do this, he established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. He also founded the group’s widely respected publication, the Journal of Negro History. In 1926, Woodson developed Negro History Week. He believed “the achievements of the Negro properly set forth will crown him as a factor in early human progress and a maker of modern civilization. In 1976, Negro History Week expanded into Black History Month.
The month of February was chosen because of the birthdates of two prominent figures of Black History: Frederick Douglass, who escaped slavery and became an abolitionist and civil rights leader; though his birthdate isn’t known, he celebrated it on February 14. President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in America’s confederate states; he was born on February 12 (Thank you CNN).
So where do you start to learn more about Black history?
Literally anywhere. Here are ten books to have on your shelf for Black History Month
Becoming: First Lady Michelle Obama
Written by the lovely and endearing first lady Michelle Obama, Becoming talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother. I loved listening to this because it’s First Lady Obama and her voice is just…it’s basically how I feel God sounds.
Just As I Am: Cicely Tyson
Greatness in her own right, the late Miss Tyson shares the lessons she’s learned in her life and her six-decade-long contribution to her career in performing arts.
A Promised Land: President Barack Obama
The greatest president in American History* wrote about his time as president, both in the office and outside of. I don’t think being president is an easy job, or one I could ever run for (but it’s clear by 2016 that doesn’t matter), so I appreciate him being honest about what he’s proud of and also what he would change.
* Might be biased but not really
Our Time is Now: Stacey Abrams
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stacey Abrams does not need to be in your city or state for her work to be done to change the world. With a guide to help eliminate voter suppression, empower citizens to vote, and help bring the country back to the people it belongs to. If you’re ready to help change your area for the better, especially with elections in 2022 on the way, start now and start with this book.
This is Your Time: Ruby Bridges
Ruby Bridges is a name you should know instantly. She was the first Black girl to be integrated into a White school in New Orleans when she was six years old. Written as a letter, This is Your Time, gives motivational and powerful words of wisdom while pushing love and justice.
American Spy: Lauren Wilkinson
Crime thrillers? You had me at hello. On Obama’s reading list? You had me at HELLO! American Spy follows an FBI Agent’s journey to working in the CIA and overthrowing an African leader.
My Sister, The Serial Killer: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Imagine your sister being a serial killer and having to fight to defend her or turn her in? Couldn’t be me, blood is thicker than water be danged.
Parable of the Sower/Parable of the Talents: Octavia Butler
This two-book series is set in the 2020s in a society that has fallen due to climate change, income inequality, and greed. *Checks the news realizes this sci-fi is oddly close to being non-fiction.*
Akata Witch: Nnedi Okorafor When outside making you magical, you learn how to come into your own. When Albinism limits her to time outside, Sunny Nwazue starts to discover her magical powers, which allow her to find her own community and exercise her unique powers for good.
Happily Ever Afters: Elise Bryant
When you don’t have the love you want, write the love you want. Tessa writes to create the perfect love of her life, which is relatable, because who hasn’t done that?
Now, let’s go one step further! Support Black-Owned Bookstores, especially because they’re small businesses that need your coin right now!
Happy reading folks! Follow me on Goodreads and don’t forget to leave a comment!
Love you, mean it.