You’re probably already aware that February is Black History Month here in the US. Which means it’s a great time to read some Black History books. I try to read as diversely as possible, but this month I’d take it a bit further and read a book that is actually a history book. Today, I thought I’d talk about a few books that make perfect Black History Month reads. Or anytime reads, really. This list is a mixture of historical fiction and nonfiction, books I’ve read and loved as well as books still on my TBR.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. If you want to read a book that truly encompasses black history, I cannot recommend this highly enough. It’s a generational saga that travels from Africa to America. It’s absolutely brilliant, and I loved it. Even if you don’t get to this for Black History Month, please read it.
Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire by Shane White. I’m actually currently in the middle of this one, and I’m really enjoying it. Jeremiah Hamilton was kind of a badass. (Also, he married a woman from Eliza and named his firstborn daughter Miranda. So the Hamilton nerd in me is definitely interested.)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book is so wonderful, and it’s a great portrait of what life was like for African American women in the 1930s. Amazing, heartbreaking, and 100% worth reading.
Becoming by Michelle Obama. This might not be the first book you think of when you think of history, but I think it definitely is. Not only does she talk about the experience of being the first black first lady of the United States, and discusses her childhood growing up in the south side of Chicago shortly after the Civil Rights movement. (And I’m sure a lot of other things – I haven’t finished it yet.)
The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act by Clay Risen. This almost made my reading list this month, but Prince of Darkness won out because it’s been on my shelf for exactly a year at this point. But I definitely don’t know enough about the Civil Rights movement, and I’d love to learn more.
Are you reading anything specific for Black History Month? Do you have anything to add to this list?