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Celebrating Black History Month: A List of Books to Get Started

Trillia Newbell

By Trillia Newbell, Main Contributor

Over at Desiring God, I share four reasons why Christians should consider celebrating Black history month–as Jemar Tisby has also suggested–but should not stop there. Here are four reasons I encourage us to learn throughout the year: we gain perspective,  it opens doors for evangelism, we can welcome a greater diversity in our homes, and  it can prepare American Christian’s for our changing demographics.  You can read the entire post here.

A friend recently asked me for some book recommendations so he might grow in his understanding of history and culture as it relates to African Americans. I imagine others would have the same question, which is why I thought I’d compile a short list of some of my favorites and a small number that are currently on my reading list. I tried to think through a broad range that would provide varying perspectives. This list is a mix of contemporary Christian, political thought, fiction, and biographies.

(This list is not in order of importance and some are secular. Click on the title to learn more).

The Norton Anthology and African American Literature

Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X

To Kill and Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Roots by Alex Haley

The Decline of African American Theology, by Thabiti M. Anyabwile

Glory Road Edited by Anthony Carter

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The Bluest Eyes  by Toni Morrison

Bloodlines by John Piper

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauha Equiano, by Shelly Eversley

African American Religious History Edited by Milton C. Sernettt

Righteous Content: Black Women’s Perspectives of Church and Faith by Daphne C. Wiggins

And read something by W. E. B. Du Bois (I have read several articles but never a book. Enjoy the attached link with a video about Du Bois, it also touches on Booker T. Washington)

There are hundreds more that could be added to this list; these are merely my ideas. If you have some that you’d suggest, please feel free to add them to the comments section.

1 Comment

  1. Wayne Roberts

    While I am not African American, I do like to read history. Here are 3 books that impacted me when I read them.

    1. Part The Waters-America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch. I just could not put this book down. It is one of the most compelling books I have ever read.

    2. Eyes On The Prize-America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 by Juan Williams. Much shorter read than the Branch volume, but just as compelling.

    3. My Bondage and My Freedom by Fredrick Douglass. I have been horrified by only one book, and it was this one. His description of life growing up on a plantation is something you won’t soon (if ever) forget.

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