Hello beautiful people!
After completing the My Favourite 2019 Blogging Moments book tag, I realized that I never do Discussion or Book Recommendation posts … at all. So one of my goals this year is to try to post one to two a month. May @ Forever and Everly suggested trying themes for each month (i.e. LGBTQAI+ for Pride Month), which I think it rather smart — thank you, May!
According to Wikipedia:
Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed unofficially in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora […] He [President Gerald Ford] urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.
In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.
Black History Month is a time not only to recognize the injustices those in the Black community face, but to demonstrate how much contribution they’ve done for our societies … especially since so many events and achievements highlight white (Caucasian) leaders and influencers.
The following 6 books highlight the successes, injustices and need for change regarding the Black community … something that we’re still working towards today.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ↠ In the summer of 2013, the #blacklivesmatter activist movement began to put an end on violence and systemic racism towards black people. Thomas’ novel provides an in-depth look into the horrors faced by those in the Black community through the eyes of a teenager who lost a friend to this racism and violence. An authentic and beautiful young adult novel, this novel brilliantly and unapologetically provides a true look at the cause and effect of racism and discrimination.
Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker ↠ This classic historical fiction novel is known for it’s shock factor, discussing in detail the inexcusable racism and discrimination Black people faced. A historically accurate novel, Smucker doesn’t sugarcoat the grotesque concept of slavery and how far people were willing to go to see freedom and asylum. She also provides monumental historical moments, such as the move to end slavery with the Abolitionist movement. Reading this REALLY puts ones perspective in check, making one value their freedom and civil rights.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ↠ The main characters may be Caucasian, but this novel highlights in the most brutal way how much sway White people have in comparison to Black people during the late 1900’s. And if you think this doesn’t happen today, you’d be wrong. Lee’s novel shows how Black people are already condemned without a proper trial or an ability to plea their case. But through Atticus Finch’s character, readers are also shown how important it is for us to make morally conscious decisions — no matter what the masses or majority think. Even when everyone says “this group” or “that group” do not belong, we as individuals have a responsibility to stand up for what’s right … to help provide justice to everyone based off their good deeds and behaviours, not based on their ethnic origins.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston ↠ Janie, the main character, is a character much ahead of her time … seeking a life and adventure far beyond what was usually expected of a Black woman in the 1930’s. Rather than being swayed by what society wants her to be and being pushed down by the abuse (mental and physical) she faces by countless others, Janie remains her true self … not letting anyone get her down. Hurston’s novel is an inspiration to both the Black community and women all around the world, showing us that we have the power to pave our own paths despite what society BELIEVES we should do and how we should act.
No Telephone to Heaven by Michelle Cliff ↠ A powerful yet heartwrenching novel, this is NOT for the faint of heart. After reading this for my seminar English Literature course, I was absolutely devastated by the contents of this novel. With a beautiful yet haunting writing style, Cliff opens up the dialogue towards the extreme oppression and racism faced by the Black Community. But what makes this novel unique is how Cliff also dives into the hardships faced by those with two different coloured parents, showing how this division causes even more isolation and prejudice towards those who feel as though they belong nowhere.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas ↠ For those looking for some inspiration, I HIGHLY recommend this novel. Bri, the main character, will stop at nothing to become the best rapper of all time. But being a Black woman definitely has its setbacks, especially when the world pre-judges her and micro-analyzes her lyrics based off of the colour of her skin and her sociodemographic background. Though Bri has her ups and downs, she learns that there’s a RIGHT way to achieve her dreams. In addition, she learns that no one can define who she is — no matter where their social standing resides. A wonderfully written young adult novel, Thomas’ story provides a powerful message to us all: never give up.
Do you agree with my choices? What are some books you’d recommend for Black History Month?