3 Must Read Books for Black History Month
by April Watkins on Jan 31, 2023
Black History Month is a time to reflect on the struggles and successes of African Americans throughout history. It is also an opportunity to learn more about the experiences of black people in America and around the world. To commemorate this month, we have compiled a list of three books written by black authors that explore various aspects of our history. These books will provide readers with an understanding of the challenges faced by black Americans in their fight for equal opportunity and how these efforts have shaped the course of American history.
Once you pick up these reads, be sure to protect them with BookedBag.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander Michelle Alexander argues that our criminal justice system has been transformed since the 1970s from a system that targeted people based on their race to one that targets people based on their class and economic status. This transformation was not limited to America; it was also enacted in Europe after World War II. It has become a "new caste system" which disproportionately targets black and brown people, while white people are "exempt from the criminal justice system."Alexander's argument is that this radical change in the way our society punishes crime has created an "empire" where punishment and control over social order is achieved through a modern system of racial domination. She argues that this new caste system does not just reflect racial differences, but also class difference.
1619 Project: A New Origin Story, by Nikole Hannah-Jones A historical account of how modern-day racial disparities were created by a system that benefits whites. Hannah-Jones's argument is that America became "post-racial" after Reconstruction because of the New South Democrats who used racial violence and terrorism to suppress black political participation. The New South Democrats used economic advantage, including racial violence, to threaten and intimidate blacks into silence. This strategy was based on using capitalism as a way to remove black political influence from the South.
Watch on Hulu - The 1619 Project has expanded into a limited docuseries, now streaming on Hulu.
Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Survived Slavery and Became Millionaires by Shomari Wills Shomari Wills comes of age in the late 70s, a time when the Black community found itself heavily divided by socioeconomic status. He looks at this division from both sides and examines how wealth became so often equated with whiteness in Black culture. By examining the stories of six African Americans like former slave William Henry Quarles, who amassed a fortune after freedom, Wills demonstrates that despite many obstacles and racist attitudes toward economic success, there is no blueprint for getting rich.