Black History Month reads

I was browsing through various sections in my local library when I glanced at a section dedicated to Black History Month (February is celebrated as Black History month). I have not read many history books on Civil Rights movement and I am hardly aware of America’s history so I was intrigued enough to pick a couple of books from this section.

Books that I picked –

  1. March Vol. 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell –

    This was a great first hand account of the civil rights movement in US. John Lewis was directly involved in the movement along with Martin Luther King himself and he was arrested 40 times it seems. This volume was mostly about John Lewis’ childhood and how he ended up as a student and then got involved in sit-ins they did to protest segregation in restaurants. They followed non-violence and protested since Nashville restaurants were not serving black people and finally achieved desegregation. It also briefly mentions other moments in the movement like Rosa Parks’ arrest. This book is very inspiring and eye-opening since I hardly know anything about this movement. Artwork wasn’t great.
    I will continue with this series for sure.

  2. Between the world and me by Ta-Nehisi Coates –

    Before I begin this review, let me make it clear that I am neither a white nor a black person.
    I read this book with the intention that I will learn something new but there was nothing to learn from this book. The first 30 pages were good as the author made his points about how black parents are always scared about their kids and how any black person can be shot for no valid reason. And then he kept reiterating the same statements again and again as if trying to hammer it into my head. I get what you are saying but I cannot keep reading the same thing a million times. This could have been a 20 paged essay but stretched on and on for hundreds of pages, to the point where I lost interest and found it boring. The author doesn’t give many examples from history or from present day to strengthen his arguments so most of them are just made, without any reference. I know next to nothing about the civil rights movement which was the whole reason for trying to read books like these and even after reading this book, I know nothing.
    I am not sure who the intended audience are for this book as there is nothing in this book that cannot be found in other books on racism.

Please do let me know if you have come across a good book on Civil Rights movement in US.


12 thoughts on “Black History Month reads

  1. Immediately comes to my mind is a novel titled To Kill A Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee. It is also made into an award winning movie. I guarantee you this love this novel Ashwini.


  2. “Between The World and Me” was directed towards the author’s son. It was meant to give insight into Coates’s experience as a black man in America. Very little of it was geared towards the Civil Rights Movement. If you are seeking out books that specifically address that time frame, and you’re leaning towards non-fiction, you might try “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, “The Port Chicago 50”, “Black Like Me”, and “Voices of Freedom:An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement…”. All will give you a much deeper insight into the movement/why it was necessary. If you’re really ambitious, and haven’t read it yet, “The Warmth of Other Sun: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” is also a good one.


  3. The first book sounds interesting, but I am not sure how much they say is actually true. I mean, it takes a lot of reading and understanding of people to guess what might have been actually going on. Even then we can only guess!

    Destination Infinity


    • That’s true. But still it was interesting to learn how badly blacks were treated back then – segregated from whites for everything like not allowed to sit in the front rows of the bus or not being able to eat in a restaurant where whites eat etc.


  4. I have read Between the World and Me; but not March. The US has a rich history of civil rights movement; and it has been the subject of many books and films; and topic of intense debates. It also has a profound influence on the nation’s politics and social structure.


  5. While this isn’t so much a recommendation of a book to read, it’s more of a relevant book you should be aware of… The Negro Motorist Green Book. It was an annual guide compiled during the Jim Crow law era so that Blacks could safely travel throughout the United States. If you do want to peruse one, the NYC library has uploaded several. The Wikipedia page gives a good background into the book, and NPR has done a couple of stories about it in the past. When I first heard of it, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me since its need hadn’t even occurred to me.


    • Thank you so much for letting me know about these books. I will definitely try these books. Annual guide sounds really interesting and since you say it is available online, I can start with that.


  6. Pingback: Feb 2018 Reading Wrap Up | Bookish Muggle

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