Black people are sometimes perplexed by the American experience. We are labeled African-American, having never been to Africa…yet, never quite embraced as American either. Who are we then? The education system we are taught by limits us to the descendants of slaves. Some of us are but, we are also something more. There is so much that we will never know if we don’t seek out the information so, I am reaching into the collective thought pool of black people, past and present from across the globe to get a broader understanding of who we are from our own perspective and research. I am hoping that this comprehensive list gives us a better understanding of one another and ultimately, a sense of unity. So, here’s my list: Just click on the book image to purchase a book. (I will update this list periodically.)
One of the most important and profound books on education ever written. It has us take a look at the quality of the education that we all receive here in the United States from a global perspective.
The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work of American literature by W. E. B. DuBois. It is a seminal work in the history of sociology, and a cornerstone of African-American literary history. To develop this groundbreaking work, Du Bois drew from his own experiences as an African-American in the American society. Outside of its notable relevance in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the early works in the field of sociology.
Born in a Virginia slave hut, Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) rose to become the most influential spokesman for African-Americans of his day. In this eloquently written book, he describes events in a remarkable life that began in bondage and culminated in worldwide recognition for his many accomplishments. In simply written yet stirring passages, he tells of his impoverished childhood and youth, the unrelenting struggle for an education, early teaching assignments, his selection in 1881 to head Tuskegee Institute, and more.
A firm believer in the value of education as the best route to advancement, Washington disapproved of civil-rights agitation and in so doing earned the opposition of many black intellectuals. Yet, he is today regarded as a major figure in the struggle for equal rights, one who founded a number of organizations to further the cause and who worked tirelessly to educate and unite African-Americans.
I had the great fortune of hearing this woman speak at Arizona State University several years back. The thing I liked about her had nothing to do with her poetry but, her personality was infectious. She said that she never says no when asked to speak somewhere. What an incredible work ethic and desire to inspire others. I figured she has some incredible lessons within this 30 year span of creative, contemplative body of work.
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.