A “Bookish” Black Friday
Five “Black History" Book Recommendations for the Holiday Season
As the fervor of Black Friday shopping engulfs the nation, it’s a poignant time to reflect on the rich and profound narratives that shape Black History. This year, consider investing in a different kind of lasting value….
….becoming a knowledgeable and informed citizen of the world
Here are five of my book recommendations that delve into Black History, offering insights into the resilience, creativity, and enduring spirit of the Black Americans
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
“I love, love, love this book” — Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through the pages of "The Warmth of Other Suns," a masterwork that has captured the hearts of readers and critics alike. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson unveils an incredible and often untold slice of American history—the decades-long migration of black citizens escaping the South for the promise of better lives in northern and western cities.
In this profound and necessary narrative, Wilkerson weaves a tapestry of experiences that span from 1915 to 1970, a period that forever transformed America. As you delve into these pages, you'll witness the magnitude of this migration, paralleling the great human movements of history. Wilkerson's meticulous research, with interviews of over a thousand people and access to previously untapped data, delivers a vivid and definitive account of how these journeys reshaped our nation.
Through the lives of three unique individuals—Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling, and Robert Foster—you'll traverse their treacherous cross-country odysseys, their struggles and triumphs in new communities that evolved into ghettos, and their profound impact on the cities they embraced. It's a narrative filled with history, culture, and resilience.
"The Warmth of Other Suns" isn't just a book; it's an exploration of unrecognized immigration within our own borders. Wilkerson's writing is beautiful and powerful, making this a classic in the making. Don't miss your chance to be captivated, enlightened, and deeply moved by this remarkable work.
You can purchase “The Warmth of Other Suns” Here
Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey From Slavery to Freedom by Ilyon Woo
“Enjoyed this book so much that I now regularly correspond with the author.” — Master Slave Husband Wife explores the extraordinary story of daring, determination, and disguise. This remarkable true book unveils the incredible odyssey of Ellen and William Craft, a courageous enslaved couple who hatched a plan for self-emancipation during the turbulent year of 1848. What sets their escape apart is the audacious way they achieved it—Ellen posing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William, her "slave."
As they fled bondage in Georgia, their odyssey spanned over 1,000 miles, filled with perilous encounters with slave traders, military officers, and even acquaintances of their enslavers who could have exposed their true identities. Their captivating adventure turned them into national celebrities, speaking alongside luminaries like Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown, drawing thunderous applause across New England.
Yet, danger still lurked as the infamous Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 placed all Americans under the obligation to return escaped slaves. The Crafts' story takes another riveting turn as slave hunters close in, forcing them to flee the United States, lives hanging in the balance.
"Master Slave Husband Wife" weaves three epic journeys into one monumental quest for freedom—a story that defies the nation's core principles of life, liberty, and justice for all. Prepare to be enthralled, challenged, and inspired by this American love story that continues to resonate with us today. Don't miss out on this gripping testament to the indomitable spirit of Ellen and William Craft.
I’m telling ya, get this book. You can purchase it HERE
Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire by Reginald F Lewis and Blair F Walker
“This book is the epitome of badass” — Through this book, you’ll find yourself inspired by the extraordinary life of Reginald Lewis, a trailblazing figure whose story defies convention. In "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" you'll embark on a journey through the remarkable life of a man who shattered barriers and redefined success.
From a young age, Lewis displayed a wisdom beyond his years, questioning the inequality he observed and asking, "Why should white guys have all the fun?" This simple yet profound question set the stage for a lifetime of achievement. Reginald Lewis rose from humble beginnings to become the CEO of Beatrice International, amassing a fortune that exceeded $400 million at the time of his passing, making him at the time the wealthiest Black man in American history.
This book, drawing from Lewis's unfinished autobiography and numerous interviews with those who knew him best, cuts through the sensationalism to reveal the true essence of this remarkable individual. You'll encounter a man of unwavering determination, a sharp intellect, and a commitment to excellence that was unmatched.
Reginald Lewis's story is a testament to the power of ambition, resilience, and the refusal to accept the status quo. Get ready to be captivated by the life of a man who achieved greatness and left an indelible mark on history.
Here’s the link to purchase this book. It’s so captivating, you can literally read it in one sitting.
Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy
“This book is worth the ton of attention it’s garnering” — Step back in time to 1898, and you'll find Wilmington, North Carolina, a city unlike any other in the South. It was a beacon of hope, a testament to what a mixed-race community could achieve. This bustling port city boasted a thriving Black middle class, an inclusive Fusionist government, and flourishing black-owned businesses. It was a place where progress seemed possible.
But lurking beneath the surface, a storm was brewing. White supremacist Democrats across the South were determined to roll back the hard-fought advances made by former slaves and their descendants. In Wilmington, a pivotal moment came when Alexander Manly, the fearless editor of The Record, dared to challenge the status quo. In response to calls for violence against black men, he boldly stated that some relationships between black men and white women were consensual. His words, though rooted in truth, ignited fury.
The white supremacists had a sinister plan, one that would change Wilmington forever. They aimed to retake the state legislature, "by the ballot or bullet or both." The Manly editorial was their excuse to orchestrate a "race riot" and overthrow Wilmington's multi-racial government. Prominent figures, including newspaper publisher Josephus Daniels and former Confederate Colonel Alfred Moore Waddell, led this campaign of hate, using rallies, editorials, and fabricated stories to incite violence.
On November 8, 1898, through intimidation and violence, they achieved their goal, silencing the black vote and wresting control of the state legislature. Two days later, armed mobs of Red Shirts descended on Wilmington, setting the Record office ablaze, terrorizing families, and leaving a trail of black bodies in the streets. City officials were ousted at gunpoint, and black residents were banished or forced into hiding.
This was not a "race riot" but a racially motivated rebellion orchestrated by white supremacists. Pulitzer Prize-winner David Zucchino, in "Wilmington's Lie," meticulously pieces together this dark chapter of American history. Drawing from newspapers, diaries, letters, and official records, he unveils a gripping narrative of hatred, fear, and brutality. It's a story that's been largely forgotten but one that demands to be remembered—a stark reminder of the enduring struggle for justice and equality in the face of bigotry and violence.
This book is one of the most popular book reviews by Marc Friedman on “Black Books, Black Minds.” Find out why it is garnering a flurry of nationwide attention by purchasing it HERE today.
Wrapped In Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd
“Had the good fortune of speaking with the author of this book gen just shortly before her passing” — "Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston" by Valerie Boyd is more than just a biography; it's a vibrant journey through the life of one of the twentieth century's most fascinating cultural icons.
Zora Neale Hurston, a woman of prodigious talent and indefatigable spirit, emerges from these pages not just as a literary foremother to greats like Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker, but as a dynamic force in shaping modern literature. Boyd, with her eloquent narrative, brings to light Hurston's colorful life—from her beginnings in an all-black town to her associations with Harlem Renaissance figures like Langston Hughes.
This book delves into Hurston’s complex personal life, her explorations of sexuality, her transient marriages, and her intriguing dive into vodou. Set against the vibrant tapestry of the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, and World War II, Boyd's "Wrapped in Rainbows" does more than recount history; it invites readers to ponder Hurston's enduring impact on literature and contemporary thought.
It's a must-read for anyone interested in the powerful journey of an iconic Black woman who carved a unique space in the literary world.
An all-time favorite of mine highlighting one of the most fascinating individuals one will ever encounter. Get you a copy HERE
In conclusion, while Black Friday might be about finding the best deals, it can also serve as a reminder to seek out the narratives that deepen our understanding of the world. These five books offer powerful perspectives on Black history, each providing a unique lens through which to view the past and its lasting impact on the present.
They are not just stories but invitations to engage, reflect, and understand the complexities of a history that is both American and uniquely African American. As we approach the holiday season, gifting or reading these books can be a profound way to honor the true wealth of Black history and its indelible imprint on society.
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