Being Black in America

Literature, History, and Contemporary Nonfiction on the Black Experience

It’s impossible to create a list on the “Black experience” and do it justice. The list would have to be too long, varied, and would always leave something out. These are all books I have personally read (many times more than once), books that have personally moved me, and they are fantastic reads, both in terms of content and writing. Due to the current pandemic, I limited the selections to books available in eBook or eAudiobook. I have ordered them intentionally.

Invisible Man: one of the greatest pieces of African American literature (or literature, period).

Their Eyes Were Watching God: literature that adds a much needed female perspective.

The New Jim Crow: the history and current reality of mass incarceration.

The Color of Law: the only white author on the list. The history and current reality of segregation and white wealth.

Stamped From the Beginning: the best book on racism and antiracism that I have ever read.

Thick: another critical Black feminist perspective. Sharp analysis with occasional laugh out loud humor.

When They Call You a Terrorist: from the founders of Black Lives Matter, this book is heart-wrenching. Emphasizes solidarity with non-binary gender discrimination.

Between the World and Me: written as a letter to his son, it’s both sharp and emotional.

A Terrible Thing to Waste: about how White pollution continues to harm the brains of Black people.

One Person, No Vote: about the history and current reality of voter suppression.

We Were Eight Years in Power: yes, Mr. Coates is on the list twice.

Locking Up Our Own: about the thorny history of how Black leaders supported tough on crime policies. Foreman does a good job stressing that Black leaders also supported jobs and other life-enriching programs at the same time, but tough on crime is mostly what Black America got.

eBook

OverDrive

Kindle

Invisible Man [2010]

Ellison, Ralph

eAudiobook

OverDrive

Invisible Man [2010]

Ellison, Ralph

eBook

eAudiobook

eBook

OverDrive

Kindle

The Color of Law [2017]

Rothstein Richard

eAudiobook

eBook

OverDrive

Kindle

Thick [2018]

Cottom, Tressie McMillan

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