Black History And Heritage Books To Read And Enjoy

A roundup of the best Black history and heritage reads from experts and the exquisite authors.

Mam Myths

Kimberly Seals Allers says she’s on a mission. And in The Big Letdown (St. Martin’s Press) she takes no prisoners in her effort to “question, challenge and reimagine how we talk about breastfeeding, and then break down the barriers women face in these areas,” Essence magazine reports.  Allers wants us to have a new conversation about this crucial topic, and through this powerful work she can feel comfortable saying, “Mission accomplished.

Love Thy Neighbour

Yewande Omotoso has built a solid following among South-African readers, cour­tesy of Bom Boy (2011), her debut novel. Thanks to her latest offering, The Woman Next Door (Picador). Omotoso is poised to expand her fan base. Next Door con­cerns octogenarian neighbors Hortensia James and Marion Agostino. Though wary of 1 each other, the two begin to discover they have much in common, including a humdinger of a secret.

The Corette Scott King We Need Now

When we look at images from Black history of the civil rights era, there is one constant: the graceful elegance of Coretta Scott King. Whether as mother to her and the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King. Jr.’s four children or as the partner stand­ing by his side during some of the seminal moments of the movement. She was the portrait of the supportive wife. Now, in My Life, My Love, My Legacy (Henry Holt and Co.), legendary journal­ist Barbara Reynolds reveals never-before-told aspects of Mrs King’s life that she shared exclusively with the writer. We learn of the brilliant mind and courageous spirit behind the enigmatic figure, 

Story of Us

If you like short stories as much as I do, you’re in for a treat with Maxine Beneba Clarke’s sterling new col­lection. Foreign Soil (37 Ink/Atria). Here Clarke offers a powerful view of the beauty and complexities of globalization. The tales take us from Britain’s fiery Brixton community in the 1960’s to modern-day Sydney, Australia, and we meet various characters, includ­ing an ambitious Jamaican woman and a Mississippian housewife who faces a hell of a dilemma. Each story paints a pastiche of the human condition with clarity, insight and creativity abetted by a confident and necessary international voice. 

The Great Escape

There are Black history books that can take over your life. You can’t seem to escape their mysterious power. That’s the feeling I had when reading the tour de force Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (37 Ink/Atria) by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. Judge was the property of George Washington, who led a ferocious manhunt to return the 22-year-old woman to enslavement. Wrong move by him, as you will read and debate.

Sweet Inspiration

I am always on the lookout for the next amazing voice in the empowerment category and I think I’ve found it in Sheri Riley. With her book Exponential Living: Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are (NAL). The former record label executive gives us all the tools we need to succeed.


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