Three book covers side by side with a red, yellow, and green border.
From classic reads to modern works, Bryant’s library is filled with a variety of books celebrating Black history.
Celebrate Black history with 6 reading recommendations from Bryant librarians
Feb 14, 2024, by Emma Bartlett
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From Reiland Rabaka’s The Hip Hop Movement to Zora Neale Hurston’s Critical Insights, the display case outside Bryant’s Douglas and Judith Krupp Library is filled with remarkable fiction and nonfiction books celebrating Black history. The wide selection gives students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to expand their knowledge on the experiences and contributions of Black Americans through history. Staff librarians and library student worker Anna White ’26 share six books, with descriptions, for people to add to their reading list this month:

The Poet X: This story follows Xiomara Batista, a Harlem-born teenager who dreams of becoming a slam poet. Readers quickly discover that Xiomara faces familial pressure, body image issues, and complications of self-expression. The Poet X captures the heart of all female-identifying persons growing up. (Author: Elizabeth Acevedo)

The Tradition: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, The Tradition explores the lasting harm of following tradition and the value of breaking it. Included are several duplexes, a form of poetry that the author invented that combines the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues. The book follows themes of Blackness, queerness, trauma, and more — all told through the author’s evocative words. (Author: Jericho Brown)

The 1619 Project: A heart-wrenching reframing of American history, this book spotlights Black Americans and the lasting impact of slavery on the United States. The 1619 Project consists of 18 essays and 36 poems and works of fiction that explore slavery’s legacy in present-day America and highlight moments of oppression and resistance. (Author: Nikole Hannah-Jones)

Homegoing: Set in the eighteenth century, Homegoing follows two half-sisters — one living comfortably in Ghana, the other sold into slavery in America — and their descendants. Some of the chapters will leave you with a stone in your stomach, and others will have you feeling as free as a butterfly. (Author: Yaa Gyasi)

Seven Days in June: Set in New York, this second-chance romance focuses on two characters, Eva and Shane, who meet briefly as teenagers but develop a deep connection. They are separated by life but reconnect by chance fifteen years later at a literary event. While their chemistry is undeniable, Eva is wary of having her heart broken. (Author: Tia Williams)

Sister Outsider: As a poet, civil rights activist, and feminist, author Audre Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and more in this collection of 15 essays. Her writing, which is both lyrical and incisive, comments on specific struggles but provides messages of hope. (Author: Audre Lorde) 

Looking for more to read? Click here for a full list of Black History Month book recommendations available through the university’s library.

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