Looking for a good read? 6 Books you should read this Black History month – by Faith Hagan

A person smiling and reading a book on a sofa.

Student Engagement Ambassador, Faith, suggests six different books to read over Black History Month and beyond. 

1. The hate you give by Angie Thomas

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, This is a powerful and captivating novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

The hate you give Is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in two worlds, one in an impoverished neighbourhood and the other in a opulent high-school. When a catastrophic event occurs in Starr’s life, the uneasy balance between both worlds is shattered.

Starr is the only person who knows what happened that night. However, what Starr says — or doesn’t say — has the potential to destroy her neighbourhood. It might potentially put her life in jeopardy.

This is a wonderfully told story with many various points of view, and very thought-provoking. 

2. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker 

 Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

A story Told, amongst letters to God, portrays an incredibly moving account of a woman fighting against tyranny and oppression from many various sources, the colour Purple, set in the deep American South between the wars, depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Abused by her father, separated from her beloved sister, and  trapped in an abusive marriage. All odds are stacked against Celie, but can she discover the power and joy of her own soul, thereby liberating herself from her past?

The colour purple depicts a vivid portrayal of  the difficult conditions and limited possibilities faced by impoverished, African American women in the South prior to the civil rights struggle,  It also recounts the uplifting story of a woman’s journey from abuse to freedom and self-actualisation.

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 and recounts her early years as an American writer and poet.

Her autobiography encapsulates the longing of lonely children, the heinous affront of discrimination, and the admiration of words  can put the world right.

Maya and her brother are sent to live with their grandmother in a small Southern town, where they suffer the pain of displacement and the prejudice of the local racists, and she is forced to deal with the consequences for the rest of her life.

Maya’s journey and development from a victim to a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice is told through the eyes of caged Bird. Angela’s distinct and poetic writing style aids in the novel’s connection to the reader and authenticity.

4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vignes are identical twin sisters who grew up together in a small, southern black village and ran away when they were sixteen years old. Since becoming adults, the twins’ families, communities, and ethnic identities have all changed dramatically.

One of her sisters resides in the same southern town from which she attempted to flee. The other pretends to be white, and her husband has no idea about her past.  We as readers realise how the twins’ fates are nonetheless interwoven despite being separated by thousands of miles.

Bennett weaves together multiple strands and explores generations of his family’s story from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, to create an emotionally compelling story that explores American history. Beyond race, the novel investigates the long-term impact of the past on a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations.

5. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

There underground rail road is a gripping novel based on the titular boxcar system, that transported fugitive slaves within nineteenth-century America. Cora is a slave on a Georgia cotton plantation. Life is terrible for all slaves, but especially for Cora, who is an outcast; an object of ridicule  and is about to enter womanhood, where even more pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent  arrival, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and flee.

It is a thrilling story of resilience and the desperate desire for freedom.


6. Loud Black Girls by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

A compilation of essays from 20 Black women detailing their experiences and using their voices

With essays from the next generation of Black women in Britain, Loud Black Girls offers insightful perspectives on various experiences from childhood, activism in local communities, staying true to yourself and the big question; ‘What’s next?’.

These essays are open to everyone interested in learning more and understanding the perspectives of these talented women through their stories.

An amazing collection of essays that can’t help but make you think.

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