“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
by Vanessa Acheampong on Jan 25, 2021
The year, 2020 was a year of awareness for me. The year truly opened my eyes to how far we, as a country, still had to go in the fight for equality for all people that was championed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was also the year that I delved deeper into the genre of Anti-Racist literature.
As an educator, I knew that there would be a number of conversations I needed to be ready to have with my students, colleagues, and everyone in between. I admit, I have yet to find all of the answers to my questions about the injustices that continue to exist in this country. However, the following books have renewed my sense of hope and my desire to fight for change, not just for myself, but for my younger family members, my students, and for the generations of people to come.
This is my first of two posts that I will use to share about some of the Anti-Racist texts that I have read recently. I guarantee the following books will be well-read and well-loved; so you are going to want to head over to the Bookedbag, and grab a book protector. The Bookedbag just restocked and added 4 new colors as a part of the Junior Collection.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (2020) - As a fan of Jason Reynolds, I knew that this was a book I had to read, and one that I wanted to ensure was a part of my classroom library. Stamped provides a close look at the history of racism and takes a look at how racism has been/is still used to oppress Black people in America.
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown (2018) - This book chronicles the life of Austing Channing Brown and her experiences with living as a Black woman in America. During much of her life, Brown discusses how growing up, where she was often one of a few black people, caused her to often feel out of place in both white America and black America. However, as is the case for many, Brown found where she fit in and came to embrace who she was. From her experiences in school, to church, to working as a professional, I’m Still Here, is a book that highlights the plight of Black women in America and how regardless of everything many face, they refuse to give up or to stop showing up.
As Brown states at the end of her book, “talking about race in America is not a hopeful pleasure if you are black due to the persistence of racism in America.” Brown goes on to state that for many people, hope has died. The death of hope feels that it will destroy everything, but it also causes us to find what is left when hope is gone -- new life and new discovery. She concludes her book with lessons that she has learned from the death of hope, and why she no longer fears it. “The death of hope comes anger that can inspire, wisdom that can empower, [and] …a belief in the possibility of change.”
Below is a list of additional Anti-Racists texts I encourage everyone to check out:
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson (2019)
White Rage by Carol Anderson (2017)
The New Jim Crow (Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (2010)