Thursday, May 12, 2016

Books noted (African American studies)

Yesterday, some of my homegirls -- in this case a group of former students -- saw me re-reading Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me and were asking me about books that I'd recommend. I'm calling the following a "starter list," mainly because I want to think on additional titles later. For now, I picked four books that came to mind immediately that I wouldn't mind re-reading sometime soon.

• Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me (2015) -- One of my favorite writer/thinkers, Coates works, in this relatively short book, to put the racist violence against black people squarely into the context of America and American history. Between the World and Me was one of the most popular, widely discussed books last year. 

• Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow (2010) -- Here, the author addresses the pressing issue of mass incarceration, giving us a sense of the history and meaning of so many black people, especially black men, being placed behind bars or at least in the criminal justice system in some way.

• Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns (2010) -- An epic book about the nation-changing migration of African Americans from the South to the West, Midwest, and North. Related: Reading group on The Warmth of Other Suns

• William Julius Wilson's More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (2009) -- Wilson is really one of the preeminent sociologists, though this book is more for a general audience. In this book, he addresses several pressing issues, but especially challenges related to structural and cultural forces related to racial inequality, concentrated poverty, the economic plight of inner-city black men, and poor black families. 

Books noted lists 

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