Within the last week, America and beyond (because yes, racism is also present in other countries like the UK) has been engaged in the BlackLivesMatter Movement, in protest, in support and in raising awareness of the systematic violence and racism that black people have faced – not just recently with George Floyd and the many others who are still yet to face the justice they deserve, but since forever. The black community has come together alongside white allies to speak out against the brutal police killing that has gone on for far too long alongside educating the world of their rights, their voices, their communities.
I, alongside everyone else, have spent the last week educating myself on the issues the black community face, actively listening to the diverse voices (both male and female) that make up our country, our literature, our media. For years, black literature has been on our bookshelves; most definitely amongst the minority and we’ve never batted an eye. It’s now time to pick up these books, read them, digest them, engage with them and learn from them. Not just for this week, not just for a month, but actively forever. This includes articles and essays on structural racism as well as fiction. We need to start and learn from the stories and the lives of black characters, of black authors. We need to start changing GCSE syllabus’ to include more diverse novels, plays, poems and actively teach the issues at play in these texts. Books are just one way to educate ourselves and future generations to be actively anti-racist because with no education, no justice, there is no peace.
For that reason, alongside signing petitions and donating, here are some of my favourite books that NEED to be consciously read now and for the future. The list contains books both written by black authors and depicting the lives OF black characters alongside both fiction and non-fiction with a range of different genres.
- When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Asha Bandele and Patrisse Cullors
- Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- We Are Not Yet Equal by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
- Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
- Light It Up by Kekla Magoon
- All the Things We Never Knew by Liara Tamani
- Pride by Ibi Zoboii
- A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
- War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
- To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
This is not a complete list. Educating yourself does not stop with this list or any other list you find on the internet. It is a continuous cycle of support, of education, of importance. I am currently reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo and I will continue to add books by, about and in support of black authors from now on. And I encourage everyone to do the same.