This specific book list hits close to my heart. It evolved from a conversation I had with my nephew who revealed that he was called a ni*%r by a person who was truly attempting to rob him of his humanity and self-worth. Being reminded in such a vivid manner of my inability protect him from the world’s ignorance and hate, I commenced to mentally sort through books I could give him to read. My goal, provide him with the ability speak truth in the face of hate. What came about was a list of books that parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or guardians could read along with their high school-aged child to discussracism, bigotry, and the American caste/class system.
This list will hopefully start you out to discuss the facts about who, what, when, where, why, and how of white supremacy was born. Though these are not things that are taught in our schools to prepare Black children about some of the realities of American life, they must “over”-stand it if they are to realize the potential of their best selves despite the headwinds of ignorance.
In an ideal world, these conversations would be unnecessary. Yet we are still dealing with micro-aggressions like school policies that ban “dread-like hair” as well as outright bigots who seek to demean and devalue our kids. We must take it upon ourselves to reprogram not just them, but ourselves with books that instill values of love for self, community, culture, and truth. Read with your kid(s).
Pick two of the below books to read and discuss with your high school-age kid(s) over the summer. Commit to learning together the history and impact of institutionalized racism and classism. Learn about the impact that 400 years of slavery, Reconstruction era terrorism, Black Codes, Jim Crow segregation, trickle-down economics, the mass incarceration, and more has on the psychology of not just the people these tactics target, but also the people who benefited from it.
“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions…He will find his “proper place” and stand in it.” – Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
MahoganyBooks #ReadTogether Booklist Number 1
|David Walker’s Appeal by David Walker|
David Walker’s Appeal is an uncompromising African-centered discourse that attacks white injustice and advocates Black self-reliance. Its publication in 1830 intensified the debate and struggle against slavery. More than a petition against slavery, the Appeal is a foundational document from which many contemporary themes in Black political philosophy have evolved.
Walker asserted the right of Black people to defend themselves against a common enemy by any means necessary. Because of his Appeal, David Walker remains one of the most durable political figures in our history. His clear presentation of the problems confronting people of African descent is prophetic, and it assures the relevance of the Appeal to contemporary readers. Includes an Introduction by Dr. James Turner, a leading thought leader in Africana and African American Studies.
|The Name “Negro” its Origin and Evil Use by Richard B. Moore|
How do you defend yourself against a word created to be a weapon used to divide, denigrate, and deny the target of this word of their humanity and culture? That was the question that plagued author Richard B. Moore.
As an orator, avid reader and Black bibliophile, Moore recognized the critical need for Black people to understand the use of language as a tool of prejudice, and more importantly, as an instrument of liberation.
This study focuses on the exploitive nature of the word ”Negro.” Tracing its origins to the African slave trade, the author shows how the label “Negro” was used to separate African descendants and to confirm their supposed inferiority.
|Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust by John Henrik Clarke|
As many historians no doubt love to point out, slavery is not an American invention. Slavery existed throughout human history as far back as Egypt, Kuch, and Rome. Africans have enslaved Africans, just as Europeans have enslaved other Europeans. What, however, is uniquely American, is the manner in which a system was codified into law and institutionalized within the very fabric of a country hell bent on conquest and riches.
“In order to justify the destruction of these African societies, a monster that still haunts our lives was created. This monster was racism. The slave trade and the colonial system that followed are the parents of this catastrophe.” So writes Dr. John Henrik Clarke in his book, Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust about the origins of racism and a white supremacy system that grew out of a lust “for gold and other tresures.”
|The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness by Amos N. Wilson|
This book presents two ground-breaking lectures by Amos Wilson. The first, European Historiography and Oppression Exposed: An Afrikan Perspective and Analysis, was among the first contemporary analyses which delineated the role Eurocentric history-writing plays in rationalizing European oppression of Afrikan consciousness. It explicates why we should study history, how history-writing shapes the psychology of peoples and individuals, how Eurocentric history as mythology creates historical amnesia in Afrikans in order to rob them of the material, mental, social and spiritual wherewithal for overcoming poverty and oppression. Moreover, this engrossing lectures the relationship between the rediscovery and rewriting of Afrikan history and achievement of liberation and prosperity by Afrikan peoples.
The second lecture, Eurocentric Political Dogmatism: Its Relationship to the Mental Health Diagnosis of Afrikan People, advances the contention that the alleged mental and behavioral maladaptiveness of oppressed Afrikan peoples is a political-economic necessity for the maintenance of White domination and imperialism. Furthermore, it indicts the Eurocentric mental health establishment for entering into collusion with the Eurocentric political establishment to oppress and exploit Afrikan peoples by officially sanctioning these egregious practices through its misdiagnosing, mislabeling, and mistreating of Afrikan peoples’ behavioral reactions to their oppression and their efforts to win their freedom and independence.
|The Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson|
Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950) was born in New Canton, Virginia. He was an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of Black History Month. He is considered the first to conduct a scholarly effort to popularize the value of Black History. Woodson recognized and acted upon the importance of a people having an awareness and knowledge of their contributions to humanity and left behind an impressive legacy.
His book The Education of the Negro attacks the American education system for failing to meet the needs of black students with regard to black history, self-image, and vocational training.
Stay tuned for a similar list we’ll be putting out soon for parents and their middle school-aged kids. If you have any book recommendations, please share them with us in the comments section below.