One of the most popular post requests I’ve received in the last three weeks is for a reading guide. You guys have asked and now you shall receive. Below are a list of 36 books and articles that have aided me in understanding race, gender, and history in a more thorough way.
Black Men and Boys
- The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (Wes Moore)
- He shares a name with a convicted murderer. They have two very different upbringings, but their shared identity of black male meant they could have both ended up in the others shoes
- Monster: The Autobiography of an LA Gang Member (Sanyika Shakur)
- How does the system fail black boys? How do we as a community fail our black boys?
- Black Boy (Richard Wright)
- A true classic.
- Between The World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
- This book is on my personal reading list, but Id feel silly not putting it on here.
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- Perhaps nobody better encapsulated black rage and discontent in the mid-twentieth century better than Malcolm X.
- Pimp: The Story of My Life (Iceberg Slim)
- Pimping was a common profession among black men in the 20th century. Who were these men? How did they get into that life? What were the costs? Iceberg Slim answers these questions without much sugarcoating.
Black Women and Girls
- Coming of Age in Mississippi (Anne Moody)
- This is the book so many of you have already heard me yap about. Anne Moody is one of my favorite people, and I’ve never even met her. Please read this book. Sharecropping, domestic service, black colleges, civil rights, everything you’ve always wondered about. If you’re 18-25, it’ll really make you think about how you’d have handled the 1960’s civil rights movement if you had been there.
- Negroland (Margo Jefferson)
- Recalling the lifestyles and ideologies of middle class African Americans during the mid-20th century, a poignant book about the blacks who turned their noses up at the lower classes (and why)
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)
- Haunting and brilliant. This book gave personality to Maya Angelou that I wasn’t aware of; in addition to providing a solid recollection of life as a black girl during Jim Crow.
- A Piece of Cake (Cupcake Brown)
- Shocking and full of cuss words. How does the system fail black girls? How do we as a community fail our black girls?
- Bad Feminist (Roxanne Gay)
- Funny and fast paced. This book exposed the flaws of feminism while also reinforcing its value on the American landscape, especially for black women.
Essential Ideologies, Fact Books, History Books, and Ethnological Studies
- The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)
- Mass incarceration of black men and steps we can take to fix the issue
- Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in The Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race (Beverly Daniel Tatum Ph.D)
- This book really changed the way I see race and privilege. It was a required read during a course in college that sucked me in and got me to understand critical race theory.
- Women, Race, and Class (Angela Davis)
- This quintessential book provides context on black feminism and womanism, placing the fight for gender equality within the framework of class and race. If you have questions about black feminism and womanism, this book will answer 99% of them.
- Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (Joy DeGruy)
- This book explains how black people are still suffering from the abuses of slavery. Info you obtain in this book will compliment your arguments about black oppression.
- Black Stats (Monique W Morris)
- This book is filled with quantitative facts about the black experience, from crime to healthcare to religion and thoughts on the 9/11 terrorist attacks
- Disintegration (Eugene Robinson)
- Perhaps one of my biggest struggles is accepting that not all black people think the same way about race and America. This book helped me better understand the mindsets of alternative opinions by detailing the history of different types of black groups.
- Black Players: The Secret World of Black Pimps (Christina and Richard Milner)
- This is an in depth study on the world of black pimps during the 70’s. I decided to use it for a chapter in my upcoming book because of the shocking material inside.
- A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (Allyson Hobbs)
- Why did so many black people choose to live as white americans? This book vividly explains not only why they chose to do so, but how they managed to get away with passing.
- Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of The Black Panthers (Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin)
- You dont know the Black Panthers until you’ve read this richly detailed book.
- Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of The Black Athlete (William C Rhoden)
- Ive only read two chapters of this book for a class in college, but they were intriguing. This book talks about the use of black athletes for profit, how athleticism has hindered and attracted racism, and the history of black athletes in general. I’d like to read the whole book so it’s on my current reading list.
- When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Womanhood on Race and Sex in America (Paula Giddings)
- I read a few chapters from this book in college but had to read the whole thing recently for research on my upcoming book. A fascinating history of black female activists, especially in regards to social movements against racism and sexism.
- Beyond The Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America (Keith Boykin)
- This book made me re-think everything I thought I knew about the “down low”. Keith Boykin makes many compelling arguments, one of which being that the phenomenon of “down low” has been sensationalized.
Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (C. J. Pascoe)
- This book isn’t exclusively about black men but its a terribly interesting ethnographic study on teenage masculinity and sexuality that demonstrate the limitations of a heteronormative society.
- Black Like Me (John Howard Griffith)
- A white guy goes undercover as a black guy during the Jim Crow South and he realizes shit isn’t exactly gravy
- A Peoples History of The United States (Howard Zinn)
- An alternative (and much more accurately detailed) version of your high school history textbooks. This book is packed with information to create more nuanced arguments on race and politics in America.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
- They took her cells without her knowledge or consent and they stayed alive forever and it sounds like some sci-fi stuff but her magical cells paved the way for a good chunk of modern medicine. This book also gives spectacular insight on the life of the average lower class black woman during the 20th century
- Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence (Jody Miller)
- Impoverished black girls are at risk from domestic violence and this book proves it.
- Saltwater Slavery (Stephanie Smallwood)
- This book explained the phenomenon of social death, examining how Africans became slaves and gives extensive details about the middle passage.
- Black Sexual Politics (Patricia Hills Collins)
- Without giving away the big ideas of my book on black sex, let me scream from the mountain tops that this book has been monumental in helping me craft and challenge my own arguments about black sexuality and gender and how they pertain to racism.
Journal and News Articles
You can access all of these just by clicking on them. No need to wait for them to ship from a bookseller 😉
- The Case For Reparations (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
- White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack (Peggy McIntosh)
- Cinethetic Racism: White Redemption and Black Stereotypes in Magical Negro Films (Matthew W Hughey)
- Aversive Racism (John F Dovidio and Samuel L Gaertner)
- The Unsung Heroes of The Montgomery Bus Boycott