Celebrating Black History Month

There are so many notable books of diversity and education to read in honor of Black History month, we choose a few of our favorites to recommend this year. We hope you enjoy!

   

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

 

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author's girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves' garden do not bloom. Pecola's life does change- in painful, devastating ways.   What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child's yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons's most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction. (Goodreads)

 

 

 

Divided Sisters: Bridging the Gap Between Black Women and White Women by Midge Wilson

Since the advent of the women's movement, women have often expressed the belief that black and white women in society have a great many common concerns, and are in fact natural allies. The reality is more sobering. In "Divided Sisters," Midge Wilson and Kathy Russell, the acclaimed authors of "The Color Complex," tackle the nature of relationships between black and white women, and explore how they do, and don't, get along.   Based on scores of interviews, cultural literature and extensive research, "Divided Sisters" examines relations between black and white women as children, as adults, at school and in college, at work and at home. Truthfully as adults relatively few women feel they are close friends with a woman from another racial background. The book exposes many of the challenges and obstacles that complicate interracial relationships in a society with a long history of racial inequality. What Midge and Kathy discover is that the concerns and frustrations of black and white women are often different, and that these differences are frequently not communicated. For example, women thrown together for the first time in college are often ill-prepared to handle cultural differences in dress, customs, attitudes and background. In addition, peer pressure, economic and historical inequality, real or perceived racism, and fear, play a role in dividing rather than uniting women.   "Divided Sisters" is a landmark book that will open readers' eyes to the realities and challenges of bridging what is too frequently a cultural divide." (Goodreads)

 

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

 

When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds ...   'For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more.' Zadie Smith (Goodreads)

 

 

 

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, it challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant.   Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens—on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles—the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes, but when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.   Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident—the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins—he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court. (Goodreads)

 

 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

 

The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.   Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence. (Goodreads)